Jack, the former Oreo, is not popular with the ladies. I was hopeful he’d be the next boss rooster, but he’s not turning out well. First he mounted the hens backwards (cue hen eye-rolling). Once he figured out his directions, the hens indulged him for a while. I hoped the daily rampage around the greenhouse first thing in the morning was a hormonal phase he’d grow out of.
Well, that’s over. Most of the hens have cut him off. I think this is hilarious. Since it’s all done with body language, it’s strongly reminiscent of the pick-up scene in a bar.
The Brahmas are having none of him. They meet his aggression with a solid un-intimidated square off. Think again, punk!!!
Think you’re hot stuff? I got a neck ruff too. I can take you. Peck me again, I dare ya!
They’re a tough audience. How you doin!?
I knew you when you were an egg. Keep it moving.
Then he usually tries some conciliatory dancing. Dancing before mating is a desirable behaviour of roosters. It signals to the hen his intentions and gives them time to decide, and respond. It’s not a very impressive performance, objectively. It entails fanning one wing, sort of dragging it and doing a quick pattering sidestep around or toward the intended.
Hey baby, I just think you’re hot, ya know, we got off on the wrong foot there, can we start over?
And boy do they respond:
Too little too late, buckaroo. Take your sweet moves elsewhere, you’re getting the laser glare!
(These are actually different hens, which makes it even funnier). Now cowed, he’s going for the meek approach, the sidestep. Hey Sugar. You know I used to be really something. I was even twice voted Cock of the Walk, eh, eh?
Do I look impressed? This is my impressed face.
Hey, if you’re not busy later, I thought maybe you and me could….
Talk to the beak.
….ok, ok, I get the picture, I’ll just…go get some corn.
The Brahmas just stare him down, hold their ground, flare ruffs or peck back, if it comes to that. He never wins a glare down.
With the smaller, springier and quicker layer hens, I don’t get to capture the action, but it’s no less funny. They jump in the air at him, stretch their necks tall and flash neck ruffs like lizards, and the rage just shoots from their eyes. How DARE you!
Sometimes he’ll use his weight and sneak attack a layer hen, jumping on her while she’s busy eating, and then (hell hath no fury), she’ll bounce up and peck him, and squawk! and then chase HIM around the room shrieking in a froth of indignation. Hilarious! Like He just grabbed my butt! Did you see that!? The nerve! And don’t show your comb here again, creep!
They also get increasingly irritated, like women who start with a polite no thanks, and it quickly escalates to F off and die, a-hole! when the guy can’t take a hint and keeps following them around, grabbing. The rooster’s lurking around Maybe now she’ll be in the mood, I’ll surprise her on the other side of this hay bale… and the hen is all You again? Not if you were the last rooster in the coop, jerk!
Unwanted mating rarely goes unretaliated. Either the hen delivers furious payback, or the deputy (Silkie roo) will come in, flying dropkick style, to hit the offending rooster, and knock him off, and then he does the chasing.
The Colonel and the Deputy are still the wingmen for the entire layer hen flock, although the Colonel only mates his own. The deputy mounts the red hens, which is a bit weird, considering the size differential. The Brahmas recognize no male authority, and the other young hens are still deciding and/or developing their self-esteem. Sometimes they refuse applicants, sometimes not.