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New rooster being aggressive toward my one hen, is this normal behavior?

 
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We became the owners of a hen a few months ago when she wandered onto our property and never left. We had been talking about getting chickens so what the heck, we let her stay. Fast forward 3 months...I ran across an ad for a free 4 month old rooster, so I called and after speaking with the owner I decided to pick him up today. By the way, our hen is free range, she sleeps in a box we had on the front porch, up on top of the swamp cooler.
Well, I got the rooster home, put him on the ground to meet our hen Delilah and she puffed up and pecked him and he pecked her and after a few mutual peckings suddenly the rooster got very aggressive snd started attacking my hen. Is this behavior normal? Is there something else I need to do to introduce them? I put him in a hutch I have with food and water so hes gine for now but I don't want him to have to stay cooped up. Please advise.
 
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It is normal. That poor hen is getting all the sexual attention from a rooster that needs several hens..Get more hens asap . Its natural but spread out through a lot of hens its not a big deal. 1 on 1 it is misery for the hen
 
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To add to what Wayne has already said, when new chickens are introduced to each other, dominance needs to be established. The rooster is the boss. If more hens are introduced, which I also recommend, it'll happen again as pecking order is established. It's normal.
 
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Oh yeah, we had fighting between an Australorp rooster and our flock of two hens:  one a bantam and the other a small Leghorn.  You can imagine who was boss, and how quickly they all agreed!  But a few years ago we'd introduced a new Leghorn hen to our flock where Tiny was the only rooster--an Old English Game cock, a seriously small bird--and while she initially submitted to his discipline, she soon showed that pipsqueak who was biggest.  

If one is obviously bigger/stronger than the other, they usually work out the pecking order very quickly.  If they are evenly matched, even if they are hen and rooster, they might still be going at it for a while.
 
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Guess I wonder why you want a rooster. I have all hens and 0 problems.

If it gets human aggressive what will you do?
 
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elle sagenev wrote:Guess I wonder why you want a rooster. I have all hens and 0 problems.

If it gets human aggressive what will you do?



I'm not sure why someone gave you a thumb's down for asking a question, but I'll answer it.

I have a rooster so that I can have more chickens when I want them, and because the rooster helps protect the chickens.  I also like hearing them crow in the morning.

If it gets human aggressive, you could leave it alone, or eat it.  
 
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I also hear roosters keep the ladies from picking on one another too much.  And I'm hoping that if a predator attacks, he'll either fight it off or at least sacrifice himself while the girls escape.
 
elle sagenev
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Mike Jay wrote:I also hear roosters keep the ladies from picking on one another too much.  And I'm hoping that if a predator attacks, he'll either fight it off or at least sacrifice himself while the girls escape.



I've found none of these to be true. In fact we ended up with 3 roosters and no hens because the roosters would push the hens out of the hiding places when a predator attacked.

At this point, unless babies are needed roosters are not. That's my personal opinion.
 
Mike Jay
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That's interesting Elle.  So far I think my rooster keeps a better eye out for danger than the girls.  We'll see what happens when the danger approaches...
 
wayne fajkus
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I can confirm that roosters are last to go. Had a predator break thru my night fencing. It took a few days to figure it out. Thought i fixed it twice.

3 dead hens over 3 different nights. Rooster made it along with one other hen.

I am guessing a raccoon did it. I had 2x4 welded wire fence (walls and roof). About 5 ft up a weld broke so it was a 4x4 hole. It got rounded to a perfect circle crawling through it.

Here is a pic. Red circle shows where it pushed through. I added wires to fix it.
20190711_205955-756x1008.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20190711_205955-756x1008.jpg]
 
James Freyr
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Mike Jay wrote:I also hear roosters keep the ladies from picking on one another too much.  And I'm hoping that if a predator attacks, he'll either fight it off or at least sacrifice himself while the girls escape.



While my hens occasionally tussle, my rooster doesn't like it. If two hens puff up their neck feathers, and start jumping and attacking each other, my rooster (his name is Drumstick) will step in and stop it. I've watched two hens start this, and somehow he knows who the instigator is and will run over and peck on her first to break it up, making a certain almost growling call. But with regular hen pecking order, just a quick peck or jab that one hen will do to remind another their place in the hierarchy, he does nothing about and that sort of hen behavior goes on all the time in my flock.

I have lost one hen to what I believe to be an aerial attack. Found the hen back inside the coop dead, which a 4 inch or so long and very deep laceration from her back down her side. Could see ribs and organs. I did not see the attack happen so I don't know if Drumstick ran to the rescue to defend his lady. What I have witnessed on several occasions is a hawk will come into view from the tree tops and Drumstick will make a certain, very unique call, and all the hens go running for the coop. It's really neat to see. I'm glad I have a rooster, because my hens spend their days with their butts in the air and beaks to the ground, oblivious to their surroundings, while my rooster stands there, just watching, looking around. I guess if he thinks everything is good, he'll forage for 30 seconds or so, then stop and stand there again, on the lookout for threats.
 
Trace Oswald
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James Freyr wrote:Found the hen back inside the coop dead, which a 4 inch or so long and very deep laceration from her back down her side. Could see ribs and organs.



I had a rooster do that with his spurs to two of my hens while breeding before I killed him.  It sounds exactly like what you described.  
 
James Freyr
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Trace Oswald wrote:

I had a rooster do that with his spurs to two of my hens while breeding before I killed him.  It sounds exactly like what you described.  



Dang! I actually considered if that was the cause of the wound because Drumstick has some serious spurs on him, like approaching two inches long and they look like they can really mess someone up. Interestingly, while holding one of my hens last week just kinda checking out her feathers and condition, seeing if any mites were present, she had a small short laceration just barely thru the skin and right under her wing. Now that I think about finding my dead hen, it's in the same place on the body and in the same direction. Shit, I wonder if Drumstick is inadvertently causing wounds.....
 
Trace Oswald
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James Freyr wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:

I had a rooster do that with his spurs to two of my hens while breeding before I killed him.  It sounds exactly like what you described.  



Dang! I actually considered if that was the cause of the wound because Drumstick has some serious spurs on him, like approaching two inches long and they look like they can really mess someone up. Interestingly, while holding one of my hens last week just kinda checking out her feathers and condition, seeing if any mites were present, she had a small short laceration just barely thru the skin and right under her wing. Now that I think about finding my dead hen, it's in the same place on the body and in the same direction. Shit, I wonder if Drumstick is inadvertently causing wounds.....



That would be my guess.  I've only had one rooster hurt my hens like that.  He was a really aggressive breeder.  You can remove the spurs, or remove the rooster.  I didn't want to pass on that aggressive breeding trait, so I removed the rooster.  I had roosters after him, and I have three roosters now and none have ever hurt one of my hens.  For me personally, it wasn't worth the risk to keep him.
 
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Quick note: Rooster means head of roost.  Cock is a boy chicken.  The rooster is not always male!  In my flock, it's usually female.  There is only one rooster at a time.  

A good rooster will defend the flock, keep everyone organized and seek out and give food to other members of the flock.  Most cocks I've met aren't up for this kind of hard work.  Most hens aren't either.  It takes a very special kind of chicken to selfishly give food away to lesser chickens, not to mention spend most of their precious eating time, searching for threats.  Right now I have three brilliant roosters in three different flocks.  One rooster subdued a bald eagle long enough for us to rescue the hen.  The next day he took on two ravens, and won.  In the past when we've had poor cocks, the hens take on the defence role, but they don't have the power to subdue the air-monsters so they usually sacrifice themselves for the flock.  

If your 'rooster' isn't defending the flock than it isn't the rooster.  

The OP is starting with one hen.  That hen, being the only chicken, was the head of her flock.   Now we have a cock who wants to be the head of the flock.  It's going to take them a while to sort things out.  They may decide that the other is too much of a thread, and try to kill each other.  But most of the time, they settle into their acustomed roles after a few days.  
 
James Freyr
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r ranson wrote:Quick note: Rooster means head of roost.  Cock is a boy chicken.  The rooster is not always male!  In my flock, it's usually female.  There is only one rooster at a time.  



Neat! I was familiar with cock as a male chicken, but I did not know rooster meant head of roost. In my region of the world, cock is a crude word for penis, and nobody in these parts refers to their male chickens as such and always uses the term rooster, and by default I've always used the same term as well. Maybe it's just a regional thing.
 
r ranson
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A song about cocks



Later on, the word got connected to penises.  I don't know why.  It's a word with an interesting history.  Cock is a much older and more respected word - historically.  Penis came into the language somewhere in the late 17th Century.  It seems to be a mid-20th Century thing that reversed the crudeness factor of the two words.  
 
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I don't think I've ever had any luck with daytime introductions between chickens, I'm long past trying.
I put chickens together in a darkened roost, they seem to get on better when they wake up together and have that morning cup of coffee with the sunrise together.
I'd only put a trusted mature roo with a low ratio of hens, most cockrels wind up in the stewpot for a reason.

We tend to keep the least aggressive roos, and they have defended the flock by putting up a huge fuss and leading the predator away.
 
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Thank you everyone for your helpful advice and your well of knowledge!
Im happy to report that after a night spent alone in the hutch Samson (we now have Samson & Delilah) and Delilah are getting along splendidly with one another!
By the way, Im getting 8 more hens very soon!
Thanks again
 
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Unfortunately, this is very normal. the recommendation is 1 rooster to 10-12 hens. You need to ask yourself if you want your flock for the eggs or for getting more chickens and if you can winter your flock over. If you cannot winter your flock over, have them for eggs until frost then butcher them: You do not need a rooster for that. If you can winter them over and you have a breed that will go broody, then by all means, have the appropriate number of roosters to multiply your flock. The rooster will always defend his hens, sometime sacrificing his own life. (Although if we keep manipulating genetics, we will end up with hens that were only hatched in an incubator and have zero mothering instincts and roosters will lose their protective instinct). That is totally destructive of their social order: The rooster loses his rightful place as protector and so do the non-existent mothers who become just eggs laying machines. That is sad.
I made the mistake one year of ordering "unsexed" chickens. I got about 50-50. Those poor girls could barely eat without getting jumped. They were dual purpose, so I wanted them for meat as well. They could not put on weight and they were obviously miserable. Once I trimmed the flock to 20 hens and 2 roosters, everything was fine and they put on weight. It is cruel to the hens to not have an adequate number. My one rooster for 25 hens is heaven for the rooster *and* the hens!
He is aggressive only when his hens are in danger: He is always the last one out and the last one in. Once, I locked out a hen by mistake. He voiced loud concern and came toward the door, calling her. She responded and I opened the door. He will also settle any dispute between hens with an angry call without getting in the fray. Hens can be pretty mean and aggressive too, and will run after each other, so it is nice to have a rooster that can settle a dispute with just a call. We don't appreciate what roosters do for us in keeping the integrity of the flock and their pecking order.
We don't like to see our chicken fight and we imagine the worst: a poor chicken being pecked to death. Although they fight and peck at each other every day, there is never any bloodshed. They really have no other way of settling minor disputes, so if one gets out of the pecking order, she is quickly reminded with a sharp peck and that is the end of it.
If I saw bloodshed, that would be different: they are meat eaters and if their protein intake is insufficient, they will fight and kill each other and eat each other all up without any pangs of conscience. They are chickens. We need to take the time to understand what makes them tick.
 
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Lots of great insight and info here

I just wanted to throw my hat in and say "rooster aggression isn't 'normal'", as in; it's not a guaranteed rooster behavior.  I personally will not abide a rooster that attacks or harasses hens or fights with my other roosters.  My hens and roosters both proposition one another, and if the feeling is mutual, they breed.  I will not let a rooster that thinks otherwise live and reproduce. Letting them breed is a great way to breed more mean roosters, IMO!  So my chickening experience has been filled with docile, gentle, amiable roosters of many breeds.
And a docile rooster isn't a lazy rooster.  One of my all-time favorite boys, a black copper marans rooster named Gallus, attacked hawks.  He and 2 turkeys got a hawk cornered once and nearly killed it!  He bred the girls sparingly (unless they really begged) and kept the other roosters from squabbling.  He was a stellar boy.  That's what I strive for in my birds.  I'll also add that my docile boys can stay over 1, 2, or 3 hens, even in a small pen (like if I'm penning for specific breeding/genetics), and the girls are not harmed, bred ragged, or abused in any way.  Hyper-sexual and hyper-agressive roosters are a genetic flaw in this chicken breeder's opinion.

But all that said, it IS totally normal for chickens to go ape when you throw a newcomer in their midst in the middle of the day.  It is best to let them wake up together and start the day together.  
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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In France, coq is a male chicken and only a male chicken. It does not have the vulgar connotation of penis, which is the proper Latin word for the man's reproductive organ. The name Lecoq is a common French last name. It is probably onomatopoeic in origin since a French cock 'says':"Cocorico" while we have her cockadoodledo or a variation, which also sounds onomatopoeic.
Rooster seems to have been substituted to cock to avoid offending chaste ears as soon as the word cock became used for penis. "Rooster" has no equivalent in French. You might find it funny, but the French will use the word "leader"/ lider to signify anything animal that leads or bosses others.
 
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