Ex­pec­tant fa­ther

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QOne of my hens is broody and sit­ting on eggs. My rooster, how­ever, has taken to lit­er­ally pacing up and down out­side of the coop as though he is an ex­pec­tant fa­ther. The broody is his ‘favourite’ hen. Is this nor­mal be­hav­iour for a rooster?

AJulie Moore says: It is quite com­mon to see roost­ers pro­vid­ing a ‘sup­port­ing role,’ some more than oth­ers.

Whilst there are re­ports of roost­ers ac­tu­ally in­cu­bat­ing eggs and rais­ing chicks, none of the roost­ers that I’ve had have gone this far.

How­ever, I did have one rooster who acted as you de­scribe. When the chicks hatched, al­though they were raised by the broody, he would sleep in the same area and dur­ing the day­time would show them all the best spots for find­ing good food and dust­bathing and would stand guard as they ate and bathed. The chicks loved to jump on his back and peck his comb and wat­tles, which he never grum­bled about!

When the chicks hatch, do monitor the situation just in case he be­comes ag­gres­sive to­wards the broody and chicks and needs to be sep­a­rated. Hope­fully, your rooster will be an at­ten­tive fa­ther and you’ll have a fun ad­ven­ture.

This cock­erel keeps a fa­therly eye on his chicks.

He is also con­tent to let them play on his back!

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