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Rooster-related Mating Injuries

Aggressive Rooster

Normally, roosters will mate without causing any injury to the hen. However, there are certain roosters who may be aggressive during mating or overmate with certain hens. There are also certain breeds of roosters who are known for being more aggressive then others. Studies have shown that those breeds who have been bred for 'meat' purposes, particularly the 'broiler' or Cornish crosses, show more aggression towards the hens when mating.

Signs of rooster-related mating injuries include feathers missing from a hen's upper portion of her back, with possible skin breakage. Observing how roosters mate with their hens will also be a key indicator of whether they are the cause of the injuries.

How to Handle Rooster-related Mating Injuries


Treatment depends on the severity of the injuries to the hen(s). In some cases, when a hen might be just missing a couple feathers and has no skin breakage, applying a saddle apron to her back might help prevent further injuries. If there has been skin breakage, then the hen should be separated and given basic wound care and allowed to recover in an isolated recovery ward until the skin has healed and feathers grown back. For roosters who continue to injure hens even with a saddle apron, they should be considered for relocation into their own 'bachelor flock'---where they live with a couple other roosters, without any hens to mate with.

Clinical Signs

Bald spots on head, back or vent
Feather loss
Bleeding
Skin and possibly muscle damage
A cockerel excessively mating a hen

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam

Treatment

NameSummary
Assess damageAlthough it might be a bit horrific to look at, take a moment to thoroughly look over the wound.
Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
Chicken saddlePurchase a chicken saddle (or apron) to help provide the hen some protection
ManagementSeparate the rooster from the hen
NeuteringA procedure performed by your veterinarian.

Support

Prevention

Inspect your birds on a daily basis, assessing their physical and mental well-being.

Prognosis

Depends on the severity of the wound and the extent of bacterial contamination

Scientific References

Good Overviews

Blogs

Age Range

Adult hens are most at risk.

Risk Factors

  • Breeds raised for 'meat purposes', such as the 'broiler' or Cornish crosses.

Seasonality

WinterSpringSummerAutumn