Rooster causing bald spots on my hens

by Teri
(Iowa, USA)

Question

Rooster causing bald spots on my hens: I never had chickens before, and had never been around them until I purchased 5 hens in August 2009.

In May 2010 I purchased a few rooster and hen chicks to raise and start hatching out chicks on our own.

They have all grown up now, so I sold several, but I am currently at 5 hens and 1 rooster.

2 are my original hens, the others are from early 2010. My older hens are bantams, but all are Colombian Wyandotte.

My question:
My 3 larger hens (who match the rooster) are all bald in the center of their backs. After watching them all in the yard for a week I finally found out why.

My stupid rooster gets on them (to breed?) and rips their feathers out and taps on their heads.

This may sound like a really stupid question, but is this really how they breed, or is my rooster that mean or stupid? My bantams have no ruffled feathers on their backs, but I think it's because they are smaller than my rooster and can slip out from under him.

Answer
Well, as I guessed with the first part of your question, the feather loss is due to your rooster’s breeding habits.

I can understand how his actions may appear “stupid”, since you are new to keeping chickens, but he is following his own natural instincts, and there is nothing you or he can do to change his behavior.

If you don’t plan to raise Columbian Wyandottes, you could just not have a rooster, or you could opt to keep him separately, only letting him with the hens when you want to raise chicks.

This will keep your hen’s feathering in much better condition.

In my experience keeping hens with roosters, some roosters are a bit more aggressive than others are with hens and some are gentler in their breeding habits.

One problem I see is that you have a small flock. He may or may not actually be able to breed the two banty hens, meaning all his attentions go to the three larger hens.

I have one rooster with 16 hens, so, as you can imagine, his attentions and breeding energy are well divided.

Judging by the feather condition of my hens, he can be rough, as there are just a few feathering issues.

Since my flock free ranges I really prefer to have a good rooster with the girls, even if they get a bit muddy or lose a few feathers and look a little shabby due to breeding.

A good rooster will watch out for his girls, alert them to predator threats, and even fight to protect them.

In my observations, a rooster doesn’t really consider a hen part of his flock unless they willingly submit to his breeding advances.

Return to Raising Chickens Home Page

Comments for Rooster causing bald spots on my hens

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Rating
starstarstarstar
rooster causing bald spots
by: Anonymous

I have an 17yr old rooster that I rescued from a lady too old to care for him. He had been attacked by a coyote. 3 yrs later he is healthy and protective of his 12 girls and loves to ride on my 4-wheeler. I hope he lives a lot longer because he makes caring for them a joy
Yes he does tear up the hens a bit, but the protection he provides them is well worth it

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
2 Many Roosters
by: Dale

I have had the same problem with feather loss due to having too many roosters. I had five roosters to my 13 girls.

I gave three roosters away, separated the hens from the roosters, to give the girls a chance to recover.

I'd like to get down to one rooster, a nice Brahma, but the other Barred Rock is so aggressive no one will want him.

I also got six more hens to even out the ratio of roosters to hens. Hopefully this will help. I may have to keep the nasty one!

I also have one very bald hen, due to mounting, and the other hens keep pecking at her, mounting her like a rooster.

They are really mean to her. We give her alone time outside of the pen, to give her a break. Hopefully this will be a good plan, even if I have to keep the "mean" rooster. We'll see.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Rooster Questions.

Custom Search