What To Do About A Shy Rooster?


| 2/6/2017 10:51:00 AM


Tags: heritage chickens, raising chickens, Jennifer Quinn, Scott County, VA,

Jennifer QuinnGreyscale looking over shoulder

When my last brood of chicks were maturing last summer, I identified three young cockerels that I absolutely loved. I had only planned to keep one or two, but all three of these were so captivating in different ways. The spunkiest and most active was all black with a floppy comb, which seemed like a slight drawback. I decided that if I had to narrow it down to two, he should be the one to go. I considered trying to sell him, since he seemed like such a fine specimen, but, sadly, he disappeared one night while roosting in a tree.

Greyscale, a black, grey, and white fellow with a red saddle impressed me at first by being the biggest, plus I liked his calm, laid-back manner. He clearly didn’t like fights and would patiently wait to eat until the more aggressive birds were finished. But he was eventually taken over in size by the more aggressive Embers, who was clearly the champion.

Embers is mostly dark-hued with shimmery, gold, neck feathers, hence the name. Since diversity is one element to be considered in building a breeding flock, I thought the two would make a great contrast. And clearly Greyscale was willing to accept Embers’ dominance, so I didn’t need to worry they’d fight.

However as time went on, Greyscale’s calmness turned to skittishness while Embers’ assertiveness turned to aggression — at least where Greyscale is concerned. Greyscale will run off screeching hysterically whenever Embers pecks at him or pulls his tail and now spends much of his time alone, far from the rest of the flock.

Undoubtedly, the shortage of hens and pullets is partly to blame for Embers’ total banishment of his rival. They seem to be “feeling their oats” more than ever, and with only four potential mates, one of whom is currently not in lay, it’s no wonder Embers want to corral them all. I’ve been hoping next fall, when I have a lot more females, each of them will get his share.




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