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Dealing with Roosters - Roo Behavior

 

                                  

            Dealing with Roosters

 

The purpose of this page is to help you help yourself when faced with an aggressive rooster problem and help you decide if you want to keep a rooster in your flock.

 

First of all let's identify rooster behaviors. Knowing what motivates their behavior is key to understanding why they do certain things that we, as humans, might mistakenly take as just being mean.

 

A rooster is born preprogrammed to do his rooster duties. At a certain age (around 4-6 months) he matures and his LL.jpginstincts take over, and their drive is very strong to do what nature has intended for them to do.

 

 

(1) Protect the flock from all threats at all costs including fighting to the death. A threat to a rooster may be quite different than what we perceive as a threat. We need to understand and respect this instinct. A small child could be perceived as a threat in a rooster's eyes even if you and I know the child never intends to harm anything. By placing a child in this situation you are provoking the rooster to attack, and you would only have yourself to blame if something were to go wrong. I highly recommend that if you have small children you wish to let interact with your flock, lock the rooster away in a pen before the child /children are allowed to enter the area because if the rooster perceives them as a threat, the child might be attacked. 

Your kitten/puppy/cat/dog could also be perceived as a threat, and while some roosters are quite docile and will sit in your lap, please remember that being a cuddly lap baby is not in his programming, so don't expect it from him.

Also don't expect him to get along with other roosters, that is also not in the programming. Very few roosters will get along without fighting and tearing each other up, even to the point of killing each other. I personally own 3 roosters, 2 of which get along together with very little fighting, while the other one would kill the other 2 given half a chance, therefore I have to separate him from the others.

 

Given the choice between an aggressive rooster and a very docile lap baby rooster, I'll take the aggressive one every time to watch over my flock, because he is doing what roosters are made to do and will be the better protector for the flock. He just has to be taught that attacking humans is not acceptable.

 

 

(2) To insure proliferation of the species by frequently mating with the hens to provide fertile eggs to be hatched out. This is self-explanatory. To insure that the hens are not overmated and possibly scratched or injured in the process, you'll want to provide enough hens. Generally, a ratio of 10 hens to 1 rooster is sufficient.

 

(3) To provide a place in the flock for future generations by sacrificing himself if need be in protection of the flock.

This is a continuation of #1, and is another reason why he would be motivated to fight to the death with any predator.

 

 

    Dealing with aggressive roosters

                                

One of the first things to ask yourself when faced with an aggressive rooster is "Am I overly afraid of my rooster?"

If the answer is yes, go no further, rehome your rooster. If you are not overly afraid of roosters, and don't mind giving your rooster a chance by spending a little time with him, then the following may help you achieve your goal of modifying his behavior to a level you both can live with.

 

First of all, roosters have a kind of pecking order. The dominant or king or head rooster is referred to as the Alpha.

When a rooster acts aggressively toward you, he thinks of you as either a predator or an underling rooster.

This is the behavior you want to modify, to establish you as the Alpha.

To modify behavior you must be consistent each and every time he shows the slightest bit of aggression towards you or any human.

 

 

There are 3 ways to deal with an aggressive rooster that I personally know for a fact work:

If you are concerned about being scratched, prepare by wearing long sleeves and gloves.

 

(1) At the first sign of aggression grab your rooster up and hold him no matter how much he kicks, screams and protests. DO NOT PUT HIM DOWN! Walk around with him, do chores while holding him or whatever, let him calm down and stay that way for 15-30 minutes until he has settled. Then at your discretion you can put him down. If he kicks, screams or squawks while you are releasing him, pick him up and repeat this cycle until he submits to you, and will walk off peacefully when you let him down. Do this every time he shows aggression, repeat as needed. If after 3 weeks of doing this every day his behavior is still the same, proceed to the next level.

 

(2) At the first sign of aggression grab your rooster up, hold him upside down by the legs, and let him flap, scream or whatever until he just hangs there without moving, showing his submission to you. After he submits, let him go and repeat as necessary.

WARNING: This procedure is dangerous to the rooster as his lungs are located close to his backbone and can collapse, causing suffocation. If he has food in his mouth when you turn him upside down, he can choke.

This procedure should be used as a last resort before culling or rehoming.

 

Mating

Some will tell you not to let a rooster mate while in your presence, but I can only tell you from my experience that interrupting mating seems to have no effect in relation to aggression toward humans. I let mine mate at will and still hold that Alpha position in their eyes.

 

Biting

Sometimes a rooster will bite, usually when you pick up a hen who squawks, sometimes unprovoked. I deal with this simply by grabbing him up and grabbing his beak and holding it for several seconds. A couple of times doing this will usually convince him not to do it again. A refresher course may be needed now and again.

 

Now go out and take your place as Alpha Roo, and enjoy your chickens.                     

 

Comments (107)

Our rooster showed agression towards my husband this evening. We tried to do this with him, but it took about 30 minutes to catch him. He would run every time my husband got near him. We had to wait for him to go into the coop to finally get our hands on him. He has only been with us for about 3 weeks, and showed no agression for the first two weeks. Any ideas as to what would be getting him stirred up all of a sudden?
And what is the best way to catch them? I have seen some people grab them by the legs, and others around their body.
I go for around the body, put your hands in front of you together and towards the rooster almost like a "pounce". I like to go for the neck and the butt. You can also make yourself as big is you can and run them into a corner, then grab. Last resort you can keep a big fishing net on hand. I always just grab whatever I can and surround them with my body and arms. I keep their back to me and feet forward, so I have less scratching.
Im heart broken :( I've had Mr. Clucky for years now, he was born on our farm, and all a sudden when I feed them he jumps on me. I threw the bucket at him, because I know running makes it worse. I'm going to try this. Thanks.
I cannot catch my neighbor's rooster who now watches over his own hen and my Rhode Islands. However, I on occasion have thrown buckets and carried a pitchfork with me, just in case. Never thought a little bird could make me feel scared. But, luckily for him, mini man (he's a mini roo) scared off a raven in my presence and somewhat regained his worthiness in my eyes. However, I will try this method if I can catch him.
The 1st time I was attacked it was a surprise and at 1st I chased my 'little' guy around I felt so silly going after a 20 oz roo ... but I felt worse hiding from him....Buddy as I call him, is a little bantam roo and is so good to his lady's and is a great protector and none of his 6 sons one of the girls hached out last year are aggressive and they get along and he is only mean when I am close to his coop...so I wanted to keep him...so we had to have a hart to hart so to speak, and I catch him and carry him around if I feel he has his spurs in a wad haha..I do it fast, when he is close to me about to attack, and I grab him around the chest, he gennerelly tries to bite me at least once before he gets the "ok you have me and I'm dealing with it look"...if I'm not in a hurry I just stop and give him a good staring at and do not move an inch after a few mins he will start pecking the ground and then walk away.... Who is the Top Roo now hahah
yay, cant wait-said with complete sarcasm! I ahve two full sized 1 year old cochin males and by oops, got a male rhode island who is now 2 months old....the twins are very nice, mild, not aggressive, that I can tell yet, and all seems to be okay. Aside from occasionally kicking a hen off the perch in the coop when they are trying to get comfie...I suspect to get near a favorite hen... but other than that there has been no aggression. But you know, with horses, dogs, goats, and teenagers in my life, I think I will handle a turn from a roo in the proper manner after reading this....very informative! Thank you!
Thanks so much for this article. Six out of our 11 chicks turned out to be roosters. We rehomed three and kept 3. One Wyandottes cockerel for the hens and the 2 Barred Rocks because they are aggressive to the chickens but very gentle toward us. following us around. But I am worried if this may change and that they sooner or later will turn on me or start to fight with each other. They are now only 12 weeks old. They do puff their neck feathers and crow whenever they hear my voice. Not sure what to think of it and wonder if they are considering me as their hen or alpha....Every day I do pick them up to carry them, each under one arm, to the inside coop. They will just stand there waiting for me to pick them up or crow (impatiently?) until I am getting them. They have me under their rooster thumb and are daily pulling my heartstrings:-) But I will print this article, just in case this affectionate behavior changes one day.
We ended up with two roosters out of our 12. They are 20 weeks and getting very aggressive to me and the hens. I am terrified of them but really want this to work since I have had no luck trying to rehome them. I think I will get up the nerve to try this. I can do this. I hope!
plfdchicknewbie, I understand your fear. Seems to me that their aggression is an expression of frustration...First we kept 3 and they were competing for attention by constantly crowing, provoking each other and chasing the hens. So, we rehomed two more roosters and only kept one Barred Rock rooster hoping the madness would stop. But he violently chased and pinned them down to the ground without success until the hens passively allowed him to grab and mount them to breed. After the hens understood what he expected from them when he was in the mood (embarrassing to watch my boy acting all demanding and controlling), there was finally peace and quiet in the coop and he became the proud protector and no longer my "boy" and pet rooster. But now he directed his aggression towards me. So, I put this article into practice and it does work. Twice a day, I pick him up and hold him under my right arm, making sure his wings are close to his body and my arm under his chest. If he is unruly I pick him up with both hands holding his back tightly, covering his wings keeping him and his feet in front of my body away from my body until he calms down and then put him under my arm carrying him around and feeding him a little scratch or tasty bug I caught in the yard. After a couple of days he stopped charging and approaches me like the hens whenever I enter the coop. Keeping only 1 rooster and not giving into his temper-tantrums, has worked for me. Good luck with your boys.
Congratulations, rooster-red! Your article is featured on the homepage! Thank you for writing it and sharing it with our community.
i have a young rooster he is 6-7 months old he keeps trying to mate with my young hens he made when bleed so much from her behind because he wont stop trying to mate with the young hen the little hen is only around 10 weeks old and idk what to do about it ... i have 2 big roosters and they don't help the small ones out at all .. my big roosters are 7-8 months old and the other is few years old and the young one is the alpha male ... so i need help and they hurt one of my bantam hens her back feathers by her tail are all pulled off because of the roosters so if you guys have any ideas for me that would be great
I ,too , have a Buff rooster that intimidates me by charging me when I feed and water them.
He seems to leave my husband alone,so far. The rooster is huge and tries to claw me with his spurs while I am getting the waterer. I do not see myself carrying him around, yet I do like the way he gets the girls to come in at night. We have several types of predators and I know the rooster has helped with protection. He alerts the dogs and the dogs come running. So I do see his interaction as positive,
I have found that simply waving a big stick/rake whatevers handy around, yelling or banging a metal bucket with something while firmly following/chasing the roo around will work as well. Hard stares and following him around with a stomp. I had read about picking them up to show them who's boss but I wasnt able to do it myself so I resorted to other ways. My rooster isnt mean or nasty but he is protective of his flock and coop sometimes. I have 3 little children so i needed to make sure the rooster learned never to attack humans.
I have one Rooster named Clyde. 2 years ago we got Clyde and his twin brother. His twin was so agressive to the point he would chase me. I would no longer hang clothes out, check the mail. Any outdoor activity. My boyfriend found him a new home. We then turned our whole flock from being free ranged to fenced in. Dear sweet Clyde turned into Evil Clyde. One day I was in the coop feeding and collecting eggs. He came thru the door and flew up on me. Thank you so much I will try this now!! Thats if I can get rid of my fear! ;)
This is really good info that Im sure helped a ton of people. In my opinion though, I just think that 30 mins for 3 weeks is way too much time, esp when you have 15 roos. We're talking about a hormonal bird here. lol If you watch dominant roos in the flock as they keep their position with other roos, its cut and dry. There is no sweetness and time to "get the picture". If they look at him wrong, they get nailed on the head, have a tuft of feathers ripped out as the dominant male holds their head to the ground, and are sent screaming. Its not pretty, and Im not saying to do this, obviously! But what has always worked, usually immediately, for me is to actually imitate his forceful actions. When a roo comes spurring at me, I grab him mid-air like a baseball catcher, put him on the ground and hold his comb to the ground (making sure he doesnt twist his body). He struggles but doesnt want his comb ripped off, so be submits. (The best thing is that he controls the amount of discomfort he receives by how much he resists.) When he is completely still even with me moving, I release him, and he runs. I only need repeat this maybe twice and usually he doesnt try again. But I understand roo body language, and can tell when he's thinking of being aggressive (usually several months later). At this point, I charge him, like he would charge another possible rival, before he charges me...he gets the hint, runs off, and doesnt try again. Ive had every size roo and tons of breeds, and almost never have an ongoing aggression problem towards me. Ive just found that using their language with them works best, whereas picking them up , they dont know what the heck's going on and it takes a lot of time for them to understand. lol This is immediate, you dont beat around the bush, and they understand. I hope I dont sound like a terrible bird owner, I love my birds more than myself, but when you have as many as I do, you understand you cant hold 15 or 20 roos at a time! XD
So what do you do about a roo that crows A L L the time. He is quiet the marjority of the time but the second one of us step outside he just crows his little heart out..and after about 100x it gets a tad bit old!! He is young (4-5 months) and Im hoping that maybe its just all the raging testosterone and he will level out as he gets older.
crystalchik suggest a method that works best for me. I will immediately tackle the rooster when he 'forgets' and comes after me, hold him down on the ground with one hand gently around his throat and the other on his back until he stops fighting, then I let him up. Sometimes it takes a chase around the yard to get him finally cornered and caught but if he gets away with it once, he will come again.
After my 10 year old son was finally brave enough to do this same thing, the rooster does not chase. We tried the holding and carry around but he actually pecked my son on the cheek and he has a small scar there not so I DO NOT recommend this for especially violent birds!
Daydreamer, a method that worked for me is to talk back to the rooster always using the same words, 'stop crowing, Hawk' (roosters name is Hawk) then follow up with chasing him into the chicken house and closing him in if he doesn't stop. At least then his crows are muffled. After doing this for 7 or 8 months, he now will stop crowing when I repeat it 4 or 5 times. If he keeps it up, I open the door and come outside and he looks at me and stops crowing! Best of luck, sometimes they won't shut up.
I have a Mille Fleur Roo named Clyde, the 1st time he * attacked me* I thought it was my cat pawing at the bottom of my pants LOL Then I turned around and saw it was him, so I simply asked him in a stern voice * what the heck do you think you are doing ? * and he swiftly walked away ! lol I'm not scared of him, he is such a small boy, but I'm afraid when he tried to attack me, that I might hurt him by kicking him out of reflex 1 day, so I bring a stick with me, and when he is in the mood to attack, he always attacks the stick not me lol Then when I have treats for them, he comes running to me and eats right out of my hand...go figure lol most times when I see he seems to want to attack, I simply tell him * don't you even think about it * in a stern voice, and he usually backs away lol They all have their personalities I guess, I remember when I was a teenager, the Rooster my Father had was so mean, as soon as I stepped out of the house he would run from the coop ( and it was far away ) just to come attack me, darn thing was stopping me from enjoying my own backyard when I was not anywhere near his hens ! lol I didn't want to keep any roos because of that experience when I decided to have chickens....but I get along well enough with Clyde that I kept him, now I have 10 hens, 2 roosters & 12 babies since a couple weeks that hatched under 2 of my broodie hens ( pics in my albums if you want to see & a thread about my 1st experience hatching chicks under my 2 broodie hens ) I love chicken talk ! Thanks for this helpfull thread.... I learn so much from all of you who post their experiences ! :)
Daydreamer, if it is what I think it is, you may see this accompanied with other mild displays of aggression such as "bowing" to you, putting his wing down in display, or maybe standing very erect at your sight, even with feathers loose from his body, possibly wings out. If not, maybe he just has a lot to say, but usually excessive crowing in a young bird is a precursor to future aggression, esp with a common factor (yourself). Roos crow after a won fight, and crow a lot as a sign and announcement of dominance. Sounds like he may be testing the waters with you. Catch it before it goes too far...do what I suggested in the above post. Since he's not coming at you yet, just grab him when he starts this crowing. This will put him in his place before you let him try to choose his own.
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