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Cockerel attacks family dog. Now what?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We have a situation I haven't seen on here before, although I've been searching.  I have 6 13-week olds (2 cockerels and 4 pullets from a straight run) that I raised from chicks with our family dogs. We've had chickens for quite awhile, so the dogs aren't phased by the chickens and roam the yard freely with them. While my husband and I were out with them the other night, one of the cockerels - the alpha of the two - attacked the smaller dog (about 20 pound mutt). The dog defended himself and quickly put the cockerel on his back. We called him off with no problem and the cockerel doesn't seem to be hurt (except his pride). We don't need to keep a cockerel, but would like to this time around, to help protect the hens.

 

Here is my question:  Was the cockerel simply defending the flock against a perceived threat, or should he have known that the dog was no threat since he had been there literally his whole life and posed no threat?  Also, now that this situation has happened, what are the odds that everything will go back to normal between the dog and that cockerel?

 

The reason we have dogs in the yard is because we back up to a greenbelt and have a problem with predators - coyotes, hawks, possum, raccoons, owls...

The pictures show the two cockerels. The pretty one with the tail (what's left of it;)) is the alpha. The lighter one that hasn't grown a tail yet is the 2nd in command. He is quite easy going and the only one who crows.

 

 

post #2 of 8

That's early aggressive behavior for a cockerel.  If it continues and escalates, it might be best to cull him.

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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangChick View Post
 

We have a situation I haven't seen on here before, although I've been searching.  I have 6 13-week olds (2 cockerels and 4 pullets from a straight run) that I raised from chicks with our family dogs. We've had chickens for quite awhile, so the dogs aren't phased by the chickens and roam the yard freely with them. While my husband and I were out with them the other night, one of the cockerels - the alpha of the two - attacked the smaller dog (about 20 pound mutt). The dog defended himself and quickly put the cockerel on his back. We called him off with no problem and the cockerel doesn't seem to be hurt (except his pride). We don't need to keep a cockerel, but would like to this time around, to help protect the hens.

 

Here is my question:  Was the cockerel simply defending the flock against a perceived threat, or should he have known that the dog was no threat since he had been there literally his whole life and posed no threat?  Also, now that this situation has happened, what are the odds that everything will go back to normal between the dog and that cockerel?

 

The reason we have dogs in the yard is because we back up to a greenbelt and have a problem with predators - coyotes, hawks, possum, raccoons, owls...

The pictures show the two cockerels. The pretty one with the tail (what's left of it;)) is the alpha. The lighter one that hasn't grown a tail yet is the 2nd in command. He is quite easy going and the only one who crows.

 

 


Our dogs and poultry which includes ducks, chickens which includes large fowl and bantams and cockerels and roosters get along.

     Since your dog fought back and hopefully doesn't menace the flock the cockerel will see the dog above him and let him alone, but if he continues to harass him I would have thoughts about keeping the bird.

     It's almost as if the poultry sees our dogs outside their pecking order or perhaps since most were broodered in the house they got used to the dogs and cats early on.

    However my current large fowl rooster is a new addition as an adult and hadn't been around dogs.  When he was in his quarantine pen and met them he freaked out but in a short period and when he was introduced to the flock and was able to gage their reaction or non reaction he was smart enough to figure out they weren't a threat.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dekel18042 View Post
 


Our dogs and poultry which includes ducks, chickens which includes large fowl and bantams and cockerels and roosters get along.

     Since your dog fought back and hopefully doesn't menace the flock the cockerel will see the dog above him and let him alone, but if he continues to harass him I would have thoughts about keeping the bird.

     It's almost as if the poultry sees our dogs outside their pecking order or perhaps since most were broodered in the house they got used to the dogs and cats early on.

    However my current large fowl rooster is a new addition as an adult and hadn't been around dogs.  When he was in his quarantine pen and met them he freaked out but in a short period and when he was introduced to the flock and was able to gage their reaction or non reaction he was smart enough to figure out they weren't a threat.


Interesting to hear you say that about them being "broodered" inside. Ours were, as well.  I would have thought the stupid thing would have absolutely no problem with the dogs, under the circumstances.  I'll just keep a really close eye on things for the next week, or so, I guess. 

post #5 of 8

I've had my hens attack our dog when he's been naughty and was going to eat their treats.   He's a pitbull though so they are not going to hurt him, usually he wins the fight by knocking them over with a wagging tail.

 

I would think a rooster being that aggressive this early on might be a bad sign though and I'd watch to see if he attacks your other rooster or humans.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimsy View Post
 

I've had my hens attack our dog when he's been naughty and was going to eat their treats.   He's a pitbull though so they are not going to hurt him, usually he wins the fight by knocking them over with a wagging tail.

 

I would think a rooster being that aggressive this early on might be a bad sign though and I'd watch to see if he attacks your other rooster or humans.


Thank you for your input, mimsy. He has often attacked the other rooster.  But they are exactly the same age and I figured it was a case of establishing who was going to be "top dog".  He's always been the biggest chick in the brooder, chest bumping anyone who was willing.  But he still bowls the pullets over when they come running to see me and makes the other cockerel squall for no reason.  Just being a hormonal teenager or a big bully?  But he has NEVER showed any aggression toward a human...

post #7 of 8

I would watch the situation a bit longer, but would probably plan to keep the light colored cockrel instead.  I thought that cockrels  with this color pattern would be lighter in color than the pullets, rather than dark.  True?  If so, your dark cockrel doesn't fit in anyway.  What breed are they?  Anybody have any input here?  Mary

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly's place View Post
 

I would watch the situation a bit longer, but would probably plan to keep the light colored cockrel instead.  I thought that cockrels  with this color pattern would be lighter in color than the pullets, rather than dark.  True?  If so, your dark cockrel doesn't fit in anyway.  What breed are they?  Anybody have any input here?  Mary


They're Marans. The "bully" is  only a little lighter than the pullets (pictures don't do the difference justice:hu). But, you're right, the other cockerel is much lighter. We've always been concerned about him, though, because he has no tail;) and he's been crowing since he was 8 weeks:duc.  I'll continue to watch the situation...maybe walk with a switch for use on either dog or chicken (one of the pullets likes to stalk this dog and peck him on the butt.  What's WITH these chickens?)

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