Juvenile Hen or Rooster?

Question

Juvenile Hen or Rooster?: I think one of my juvenile Rhode island red hens may be a Rooster how can I be sure.

She/He is growing dark green semi shiny feathers from it's tail . It's very aggressive compared to even my adult hens.

She/He actually decapitated one of the younger chicks and almost decapitated another ( who I managed to save).

Answer
Certainly sounds like you have a cockerel on his way to becoming a Rooster. He will probably be crowing soon, if there is no dominant rooster in the flock or he may be crowing and fighting if there already is a Rooster.

I make it a rule not to have mixed ages of chickens, no matter the sexes, unless the young are brought to the group under the protection and good behavior of their mother - in a free range situation or with lots of pen area and if all goes OK.

Chickens are territorial opportunistic feeders. Immature chickens are exploring their world, finding out what's good to eat.

Chickens will kill and eat rodents, snakes, lizards and other small creatures, including smaller weaker chickens.

A good Rooster will always be on the look out for good food sources for his hens. It's a matter of survival.

Good food means available and nutritional with no concern for who might own the food or if they might be the same species. In some animal species, a male will kill off-spring, not his own, to be able to pass on his own genetic legacy.

A Cockerel can be like a hormone driven teenager plunging into adulthood, and this one's male hormones are flowing, causing the feathering changes you've noticed.

He could be the best Rooster you'll ever meet and do a wonderful job of heading your flock, if you want him. A good Rooster watches out for his hens and usually their chicks.

It's a rare Rooster that is a killer of other chickens, but some breeds are more prone to it.

This boy could turn into an overly aggressive rooster, but at this point, his only real fault is being young, curious and inexperienced.

If the younger chicks were doing fine in the group before he acted out, I would suggest raising this guy alone, until all chicks are near adult size, or removing the young birds until that time.

If you don't want this Rooster you could sell him or in some other way cull him from your flock. If you are thinking of keeping him, make sure he shows no aggressive tendencies towards people or other animals you care about.

A good Rooster will take on perceived predators, much larger than he, to protect himself and the flock. Those spurs get long and sharp and can do some damage, especially to children, if he is so inclined.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Click here to post comments

Return to Miscellaneous Chicken Questions.

Custom Search