Chicken Mating Habits: Learning About Roosters
Hello Everyone! Spring is in the air!
How do I know this? Mating attempts have picked up with my 2 very fine boys. Now, growing up on a farm I have witnessed this wonderful time when the animals are feeling the love. Well, I am telling you right now, I am greatly disappointed in the roosters attempt to love their hens!
Let me go back a ways and tell you about Cashmere. He, as you know is my very aggressive Welsummer, which can be a good thing. But when he was just learning he was a male he was like a male dog out of control. Oh no, not with the girls, he decided my stuffed fuzzy teddy bear just had to be loved and loved a lot! When he felt he had done his job he would run over to the dogs bed and love on the corner of it. I must admit in some sick way it was the funniest thing I had ever seen, and he was so proud. He would prance around when he was done just singing like he was the “Man.”
Chatty, on the other hand never found anything interesting unless it was breathing and looked like a hen. I got to witness his first attempts, and I would say he just didn’t seem to get what needed to be done. My hen would watch him as he did what we call the “Happy Dance” around her, his head and body leaning in towards her. Once he got closer, she kneeled down like she should, and he mounted. Good so far. Problem was he didn’t know her tail needed to be up and out of the way. He sprayed my floor. Yeah, go ahead and laugh, I sure did. After a few times of him doing this over the next few days, he finally figured it out. We cheered for the boy, and the hen ran away.
Seems the 2 boys finally figured out what and who they were suppose to be mating with, so I was pleased. Chatty, being a Buff Orpington is a very big heavy boy, and he loves his littlest girls. Poor Bowzer who is as small as a Silky caught his eye on day. She was smart and got down quick but as soon as he put one foot on her a egg shot out! It hadn’t formed its hard shell so it exploded as it hit the ground. Bowzer was not a happy camper, I can tell you that. She ran over to the egg and put up quite a fuss. She learned when he does his “Happy Dance” to run as far away as she can now. Well, until yesterday.
We finally went and did our taxes, and the weather was so nice, I put all the girls from the basement coop out into the run with Cashmere. Cashmere woudn’t stop crowing, so I had to bring him in. I thought this would be a good time for Chatty to say “Hi” to the girls again. While we were gone Bowzer must have forgotten to run. My poor little girl was limping, and he had put so much pressure on her that part of her vent lining was exposed. Normally I have Tucks for an old dog, but I couldn’t find them. But I have DMSO, which is used on horses for muscle swelling or damage. I first washed her back area, then put a warm wet washcloth on her vent area while I held her. She enjoyed this so much she fell asleep.
DMSO is very strong, so you need very little, and you do not want to touch it! Why, you ask? Any that gets on your skin will make you taste a strong garlic-like favor that takes forever to go away. I learned about this as a teen on our farm, we used it on our cows, sheep and dogs for sprains, muscle tension or swelling. This morning when I checked on Bowzer, her vent was back to normal, but to be on the safe side I fed her greek yogurt and very wet feed last night. I knew I could handle the diarrhea much easier than her having to strain and injure herself more. Now she is still limping, so will retreat the leg with the DMSO and keep her quiet in the bathroom. Chatty did this to Mae-Belle also, not the vent injury but the leg injury so bad she could no longer use it. Mae-Belle was bigger but didn’t know to get down as quick and suffered for it.
Cashmere, on the other hand, is still doing fine with his mating, no teddy bear for him now. Though he is very tall, he weighs next to nothing, so the girls handle him well. Plus some of the bigger girls just peck at him to chase him off if they are not in the mood. His poor crown area is always scabbed up from the bossy girls in his bunch. I have decided now that Chatty, though a sweet boy, has got to have the heavier girls who can handle him. If you have ever heard the term “Big Lug” that fits him to a T. So once Bowzer is better she will go back with Cashmere until I get my Silkie male, and any other little girls I have or get will be with him. I know chickens really don’t have expressions, but I swear when that egg shot out of Bowzer she was in shock and her little face got this distressed look of “My baby!” You couldn’t help laughing, but I did pick her up and remove her from the area while I cleaned up the egg. She’d had enough stress for one day.
I never realized the roosters will mate with whatever size hen that gets in their way. There were 4 larger girls in there with Chatty, but he had to pick on Bowzer. Well, I have learned another chicken lesson, fit the hens to the size or weight of the rooster! Even though it’s entertaining I hate the fact they end up with bad leg injuries. So it’s another day, and I will be getting 5 new hens from my neighbor soon. These girls are about 2 yrs old and big enough to handle Chatty (I hope). But I am sure I will see more eggs fly across the run eventually. Too bad he doesn’t understand “Bad Boy!” Or is a tad bit pickier about who he mounts.
Until next time, have a great chicken day!