Disturbing Rooster Behavior
I have been witnessing some disturbing rooster behavior and I hope that someone can shed some light on this:
I have a small flock of 13 hens and 1 rooster. About 2 months ago my SS hen caught a cold or something, she was wheezing and kind of honking (coughing). Following the advice here I treated her with a a broad spectrum antibiotic and she seems to have made a full recovery.
I don't know how long before I realized she had this "cold" I noticed the rooster chasing her off from the flock. At the time I thought it strange but did not relate it until I realized she was sick. When I realized this, I separated her from the flock to administer her treatment and all went well.
The problem is that while she has been back with the flock free ranging for a few hours a day for several weeks now - I have noticed the rooster attacking her from the front. She sort of lays down and puts her head to the ground and he pecks at her head from the front full force.
Since I have seen this I watch the flock carefully. She keeps at the perimeter and doesn't come in close to the others but he still attacks her when she does and I don't know how often when I am not looking.
When the attacks happen she just lays down ( not squatting) and puts up with his tirade. I don't dare let her in with the others and him. I feel bad that she might feel isolated.
Does any one know what this behavior means? I think that HE thinks she is still sick and is protecting his flock. I am not sure but she is not sick that I can tell.
I wonder if I should keep him on the outside looking in because I don't think it's fair to keep her from the rest of the girls who don't seem to have a problem with her. Will keeping him on the outside looking in be too stressful for him?
Any input would be appreciated.