Monday, June 10, 2013

Barry my Bossy-Pants Barred Rock "Cockerel"?

I have told you about my barred rock that I believe is a cockerel.   I have a barred rock female to compare him to and the differences are striking.  Besides his already large red comb and visible red wattle nubs, he stands more upright than she and he bosses everyone around.  He decides when it is time that everyone go inside the coop at night.  And he decides if anyone will go in the coop during the day.  Most of the hens don't pay him much attention but the new hen Big Red doesn't know any better...yet.

Barry will not let Big Red out of his sight.  It's like he is one of those obsessive boyfriends they warn you about.  He decides who goes in the coop during the daytime.  If Big Red goes in, he goes in and ushers her out.  If I throw out treats and she comes to get some he always wants the treat she picked.  I know chickens originated the term 'pecking order' but sometimes I wish she would just peck the poop out of him when he is bossing her around. 

Like I said, he tries to control the other hens too.  But because they have known him since the day his egg cracked open next to theirs in the incubator, they don't seem to take him so serious.  Big Red is new here so she thinks he must be the boss since he acts like one.  For now, she just complies with his wishes.  When he runs up to her outside she stops and hunkers down in the submissive hen position.  It's really kind of funny to watch because he couldn't mate with her at this stage if he wanted to because of the size difference.  As long as she is still getting plenty of food, treats, water, and time to lay an egg, I pretty much let him be.  But lately he has just been so occupied with keeping her in line.  Just look at these pictures.

Big Red goes in the coop in the late afternoon...

Since it was not Barry's idea, he goes in and ushers her out...

Barry looks out to see if she went all the way out off the ramp...

Big Red going down the ramp after Barry ushered her out...(of course she turned right around and hopped back in the big door and they repeated this all over again).

Barry chasing Big Red away from the fresh peaches I tossed (that everyone is eating)...(don't worry, she eventually got some because he got busy shooing the other ladies away from the peaches).

Barry is bossy with all of the hens, but seems to have his eye on Big Red right now.  Perhaps he thinks she is 'trainable'.  I thought about getting out my spray bottle and giving him a little training myself, but I see that although Big Red is submissive with Barry, she does her share of pushing around a few other chicks who are lower in the pecking order...poor Tiny, Alice, and Lucy are at the bottom.

What do you do to keep your roosters from being total tyrants?  Do you just leave them be, or do you intervene?  Barry is one of my favorites in the bunch.  Other than being a bossy-pants to everyone, he has a funny personality so I don't want to change that.   Right now at least, he knows that I am #1 in the pecking order...and I intend to keep it that way.

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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