Originally Posted by KYTinpusher
Perhaps I missed it, but I did not read any tips on handling roos, so I thought I would add my $.02 worth.
Never kick or hit a rooster. Even trying to hold then off or brush them away with your foot will be taken as a threat and they will defend themselves and their flock. Once they perceive you as a threat, you probably will never change their attitude. Handling them often as they are growing up may keep them from getting aggressive. If not, as soon as they start to challenge you, you have to establish your dominance. When they challenge you, pick them up by their legs and hold them upside down in front of the entire flock (embarrassment city for a roo!) until he puts his head down and gives in. Not long - 20-30 seconds should do it; if not gently take his head and pull it down to make him give in. Then, turn him upright and backwards to you, put his head under your armpit (sticking out the back just enough to breathe) and carry him around like that for awhile. I find it helpful to have a conversation with him at this point that my crockpot is dying to meet him if his attitude doesn't improve. After awhile just put him down gently. He should just walk or run away in shame.
If you catch them early enough, many roos will then respect that you are not there to harm them and you are higher in the pecking order and charging you is not a good idea. Most of my roos have caught on after one attitude adjustment session. Some took two. The most stubborn may take three, Those that didn't get it after three sessions were banished to freezer camp. I don't put up with mean roosters.
How do y'all handle them?
Preach IT !
I handle mine very similiar and feel the same way... If you treat a cockerel aggressive then you are just acting like another rooster. This is bad ... A rooster never, I repeat, NEVER gives up. They are nasty, VERY NASTY, sneaking back attackers. You do NOT want to be another rooster in their eyes... That means... no kicking, no hitting, no broom sticks, no fast moving or jerky movements. The last item is where children can counter act all your hard work. Children do not understand that when they wave their hands in the air, the bird thinks it is a giant flying predator. Same thing with running and jerky movements, they are counter productive to a trusting environment. Once a rooster learns to distrust you, there is no fixing it.
I also believe in a few attempts at fixing a bad attitude and then off to a crock pot. I have only had one rooster that I could not gentle. I named it Soup Pot as soon as we realize that the bird was not going to be nice....As soon as it got big enough... that is where it went ... the Soup Pot.
Gentling should be done young and frequently. I start handling my cockerels a lot around 15 weeks of age. I concentrate on them coming to me for treats. They need to know I control the good stuff. Then I work on picking them up for a couple of minutes, rubbing them, and putting them down. They need to know that they are safe with me. I speak to my cockerels a lot more than my hens. If I train my roo correctly, he will do all the work for me. If I train him to come when I call... then he will call his ladies. If I train him to follow me.... then he will get his ladies to follow him. I work with the cockerel because he will make my work less as he matures.
Sooner or later, the yound stud muffins are going to try to claim their territory. They are going to try to stop you from getting in their space. It is important to THINK before you react. Instinctly, you want to smack or strike back. This is wrong and will turn a good bird into a mean rooster. Instead, at the first sign of him inserting himself, pick him up, rub his wattles and comb, rub his hackles, talk to him... When he has settled down, release him gently on the ground. I hold mine a few inches above the ground and teach them the word WAIT... They have to stop struggling, stop moving, before I release them all the way. Be Calm...Be Patient.... Continue doing this every day for a week or two. The cockerel will learn.
By doing this routine, BEFORE trouble really hits, you may be able to avoid it all together. This builds trust between you and the cockerel. This teaches him that you won't hurt him. That touching and picking him up is not a bad thing. If he hits the teenage stage and becomes a jerk you may need to pick him up and hold him longer. I've used several techiniques for the longer hold times. I pick him up and stick him under my shirt with his head sticking out my neck hole. This is kind of like a snuggle for a baby. Of course, I would not do this if he was nasty dirty... I've used a publix reusable fabric bag to put the cockerels in before and carry them around for a while too. The whole idea is to put the bird in something so that it can not flap and struggle. When I use the bag, I've put the bird in it and then put my neck through the handles... I know it looks weird, but it works for me. What ever you use. the idea is to carry the bird around long enough for it to realize you are not going to harm it AND it can not harm you. I have 6 pens of birds that need water and food every day. Yep, naughty bird gets to go with me for the whole 20 to 40 minute experience.
I would say KYtinpusher and I attend the same school of thought when it comes to making gentlemen out of our cockerels. Breed does make a difference. Some boys are just more trusting at an earlier age Other breeds, like my buff leghorns, are afraid of every thing.
Edited by math ace - 9/22/12 at 7:01pm