The Definite Guide To Roosters

By Yazzo · Jan 11, 2012 · Updated Mar 29, 2013 · ·
  1. Yazzo
    The Definite Guide to Handling Roosters

    Ambassadors Chip and Tamer

    "If you talk to the animals they will talk with you
    and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them
    you will not know them, and what you do not know
    you will fear. What one fears one destroys."

    — Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation

    Wow, can you believe how many people seem to think the only 'cure' for a 'bad' rooster is the stew pot?!

    I can happily and earnestly say, even though there are many things I may not know much or anything about, this is something that I actually know a LOT about.....I've reached a sort of 'rooster-realization", for lack of a better phrase, and am here to spread what I know with you all. Take it as you will, but it has all worked for me and everyone I know better than you can imagine.

    I have the most insanely tame roosters ever....some are GIANT Australorps who are the sweetest boys ever: they'll sit on your lap and come up to you for food. Plus, an Easter Egger, barred rock, and Lakenvelders. Several of these boys could probably be very mean, with someone else.

    Not to sound 'cocky' (groan), but so far, there has not been one of the many, many roosters I've come across so far that I wasn't able to deal with, NONE that had to go in the stew pot.
    Sure there have been a couple roosters that don't seem to learn nearly as easily, but even they can be trained. My brother used to be afraid of them, till I taught him. I to, used to be way overly wary of roosters until a few years ago! Now, I can't even imagine being afraid of them ever again. Now, enough about me.....

    Beekissed and GwenDellAnno wrote:

    I agree, but I also say that you CAN have a very nice's not necessary to treat him just as 'the rooster' and never interact with him. A rooster that does not interact with people can often be a mean rooster. If you just want a protector of your flock, NOT a pet in any way, that's fine, but you should know how to deal with him, without resorting to killing him. My roosters always eat and breed in front of me (although I usually interrupt them when they breed: "NOT here, in front of me!!"), but they still totally respect me: I make sure of that, WITHOUT EVER hurting them. My mom used to throw rocks, buckets, and various other items at them, but that just made them mean, and she eventually listened to me, and stopped. Well, sort of. Sometimes a rooster will be 'annoying' to her (meaning getting in the garden or something), and she'll throw a rock at him, but because I spend time with them, none of them are mean even then, although they usually steer clear of her!

    Some folks can get by with petting and coddling a roo and never have a moment of trouble...but most of the posts on here complaining about aggressive roos start out "he was so sweet when he was little and would let me hold him and pet him" or " I have always fed him treats out of my hand, but now…."
    That's because they are usually AFRAID of the rooster....they treat him like he's still a baby. He's not a human: chickens have different rules of behavior, but that doesn't mean you can't have a nice rooster, or even a pet rooster!!

    Pet your hens but keep your roo at a distance and never let him approach you boldly and directly. I know there are exceptions to every rule but you only have to read the inordinate amount of posts regarding aggressive roo behaviour to realize that these are not cats, bunnies, dogs or any other pet animals.
    Also, totally agree: you shouldn't treat your roo like he's just an innocent, bunny, or human or something: he'll almost certainly be mean if you do that, so treat him with respect, but there's no need to keep your distance from him if you want a tame rooster. You can certainly pet him! Don't let him approach you in a dominating or aggressive way though. That behavior must be corrected immediately, usually by just picking him up, or 'dominating' him by circling him, making rooster noises, or even walking briskly at him.

    Anyways, I wrote a whole long answer on, so this is my answer from there, until I have time to edit it more, and add more to it:

    Let me just say first that I am speaking from years of experience. I have about a dozen roosters right now, am not afraid of any of them, they are all tame, and even the one "mean" (meaning overly macho) rooster is easy to deal with. I even know toddlers that have been taught "the ways of the rooster", and are totally unafraid of them! (Although really little kids shouldn't be left unsupervised with a rooster, unless your roosters are as docile and nice as some of mine).

    It's actually much easier than most people think. There are very, very few roosters that can't be taught to respect you, but even those rare few truly mean ones can be dealt with easily, even the 'meaner' breeds, such as barred rocks.

    Simple steps are: Don't ever be afraid of him, make sure he knows who's boss (without hurting him), and tame him down.

    First off, the # 1 step, and the VERY MOST IMPORTANT STEP, is to NOT be afraid of the rooster: if you are, many roosters will simply take advantage of what they see as a weakness. This applies to many different animals too. And as they say with dogs, you don't have to train the dog, just the human. As I said, there are almost no roosters that can't be taught to at least respect you. There are very few feisty ones that will continue to attack, but you should easily be able to deal with them.

    Even if you're still afraid of him, don't act like it: DO NOT back off, do NOT run away, don't throw things at him, as that will make him even more mean. It may take some getting used to, but once you really get to know the rooster, you won't be afraid of him anymore.

    Step #2 and #3 is to tame your rooster as much as possible. This serves the dual purpose of making him 'know who's boss'. This is much easier when he's very young, and gets harder the older (and more stuck in his ways) he gets, but it's usually doable. Pick him up whenever you can. Then, pet him, rub his wattles, carry him around, etc. It seems to 'humble' them (or just humiliate them!) and show them who the 'bigger rooster' is. It also shows him you're not afraid of him. Feeding him a treat here and there does a TON to make him tamer. Just don't make the mistake of treating him like a total baby: many people do this with their dogs, then are afraid of them. They simply have different 'rules' of behaving, so treating them TOO much like humans usually doesn't work well. Once you're used to him and would never be afraid of him though, you can treat him like as much of a baby as you want!

    Whenever a rooster is acting like a bit of a smart-alec, or even makes the slightest move to attack, I pick him up, make a bit of a fool out of him in front of the hens, and sometimes shake him up a bit if he's being a bit mean (without hurting him of course).

    If I DO encounter a mean rooster, I have a bit of a 'matador session' with him, sidestepping whenever he tries to attack, then grabbing him. Not saying you have to do this, but once you're used to roosters, it's quite useful, as, again, it makes the rooster respect you, (and is actually quite fun) .

    Also, ACT CALM around him. If you're exited, scared, or unstable around an animal, they will usually pick up on that and respond in a way that isn't always good. This is KEY to catching chickens, and to calming them when you're holding them. Calm begets calm.

    Some people have trouble just catching the rooster, or getting him to come to them.....that means he's probably scared of you, and a scared rooster is quite often a mean rooster, so how do you deal with this? Well, for some of you, it may just work out that way: maybe you don't WANT a tame rooster, or maybe you want him to be scared of you, but honestly, I really wouldn't recommend this, especially if you have kids around. I've seen this happen too much: the human thinks that they have him under their 'command', because he's scared of them, and then the next day he goes and attacks them. Next thing you know, the rooster is dead, just because he was scared and trying to protect himself and his flock. Does that make any sense? Is that fair? Some people will then say, 'Well, my rooster attacked me, but he wasn't scared, he was just a macho show off', but some roosters won't act scared, when in reality, they are, or they just see you as a threat and as something that should be chased away for the safty of the flock. Some roosters, especially certain breeds, will be quite aggressive even if they don't seem that scared of you, because they may still see you as a threat, or even as a challenger. These roosters require the most work, and have to be 'dominated', in other words, you have to show them you're the head rooster, but without hurting them. That would be counter-productive, as it would help to make them scared of you, and see you as an even bigger threat. Violence creates 'hard feelings', and more violence, so it's best to do it in a non-violent way, even if the rooster can be quite frustrating to work with.

    Remember: a scared rooster is also an unstable rooster much of the time. Some roosters will take any chance to attack if they see an opportunity. Even though he may be scared of you, and never attack you because he's just that scared, if he sees someone different, or someone smaller, he will often take that opportunity to attack THEM. It's just him protecting his territory from what he sees as a threat.

    So what if you DON'T want him to see humans as a threat? What do you do? Well, biggest thing is to NOT hurt him: hurting him repeatedly will just make him scared and on the offensive. I know a lot of people like to use brooms, sticks, etc, to 'dominate' him and scare him off (usually because they're scared of him), but that ends up almost always being counter-productive.

    Getting him tame if he's so scared though is a bit more of a challenge, and is easiest if you start when he's a chick. Best thing to do is simply offer him something to eat. Sit somewhere close, and don't make eye contact with him or make any sudden moves that will scare him. If your hens are tame, that makes it a LOT easier. If you have them come up to you, the rooster will see there's probably no danger and come closer. The problem with a "moon (lead) rooster" though, is that he usually has a thing about getting caught while in front of the hens. The tame roosters I have are the subordinates: the lead rooster is always tame for me, but doesn't always act it as long as he is the lead rooster. Sure, I can catch him, but he doesn't always like it. He sees ME as the boss, and as a rooster, so he's really proud about taking food from my hand, especially in front of the hens. This is actually a good thing though, because, as I said, he sees me as the alpha rooster, which is just how I want it. Still, he WILL eat from out of my hand. The rooster I have now is so, so tame that even though he's proud, he'll let me come right up to him and pet, feed, or hold him.

    I can tell you one thing: chasing your rooster is NOT going to make him tame. I find it pretty funny that whenever I take my chickens to the school for a visit (sort of an 'end of year' program), whenever one of them gets loose, the kids chase after it like maniacs. They would catch the chicken so much easier if they would simply squat down, slowly approach, and better yet, offer them some food. Even if my chickens weren't tame, that would be easier than running after them. (And yeah, I admit it, I just let them chase after the chicken, because it was just so darn funny! ).

    So yeah, taming your rooster is going to take some time, if he's not a chick, but you CAN still just catch him, then hold him for a while. Show him that it's not a bad thing: feed him something. Then, just let him go slowly (when he's not struggling) and let him walk away. Don't make a move towards him: he might take it as a threat and become that much more apprehensive. Best thing though is, like I said, to just slowly tame him by sitting near him, and getting closer and closer to him. It takes time, but it's worth it. Just make sure your hens are getting tame too: he's probably not going to get tame if his hens aren't.

    And just think: don't you WANT to have a tame rooster, who you don't have to be paranoid about all the time, who you can actually pick up and pet? He doesn't have to be a pet, but he at least has to respect you, and be a stable rooster. Plus, having a tame rooster is so much more rewarding: they are extremely fun to have around when they're tame.

    Another thing is that even if you DO tame your chickens from the time they're babies, almost all of them go through a sort of 'rebellious' stage, almost exactly like a human teenager! One week, they will be so tame they'll come running to you when you come out the door, the next, they won't want to be picked up, and shy away if you try to catch them. I amazes me just how much this parallels how many human teenagers act: it's not that they aren't tame, it's just like they're 'too cool' for you now (not that I treat my chickens like they're my kids or something,'s just something they do). I'm not exactly sure why they do this, and not all of them do, but just continue to be nice to them, don't try TOO hard pick them up. They will still come if you have food, so that's a good thing to do to keep them tame. Eventually, the stage will pass, and if you did keep them tame, then they should come up to you like usual. It seems that only the super, super tame chicks don't do this, and the ones who have their hen mother to go to, if she's also tame. On a separate note, it's worth mentioning that if you tame your chickens, each generation will get tamer. The hen will literally teach her chicks to be tame.

    Honestly, I never used to pet my chickens until a year or two ago....they never seemed to like it. If you do it when they're chicks though, they get used to it and seem to really like it. Also, they like it when you 'preen' them, which is, in a way, weird, because chickens are such social, and yet anti-social birds....they like to be with other chickens, and yet they aren't affectionate towards each's interesting. Course, you obviously don't have to spoil your chickens or anything (mine don't get special feed....just leftovers/compost sometimes and treats sometimes, plus a lot of attention).

    It's very important to teach (in other words, show by example) little kids how to at least not be afraid of chickens, if you can, and they'll take over the rest, if they like spending time with them (of course, you should supervise with most roosters). If the kid is big enough, you may even want to teach them how to dodge and grab the rooster if he attacks, and, again, supervise. An unstable rooster who's not used to people will attack when he gets the chance, while a well-adjusted rooster will not. Even the well adjusted rooster will sometimes attack if someone is afraid of him, such as if someone runs whenever he makes what they consider to be 'a move to attack them'. Small children often make more jerky movements, that can alarm a rooster. That's why it's good to have the rooster with kids when he's a chick, so he gets used to it.

    Most people seem to be afraid that even nice chickens will peck them - I have a friend that was afraid of baby pigeons! ). Of course, don't ever leave a little kid unsupervised with the rooster.

    A few people who don't know better might say this is the 'wimps' way to go about it: taming your rooster down and even treating him like a pet, but it's NOT. It's even recommended by so called "chicken experts" (who, you say? I recall something along these lines being in Backyard Poultry mag). Sure, you don't have to treat him like a pet, but if he's at least tame, or if he at least respects you, without fearing you too much, you'll BOTH benefit from it. If your rooster is afraid of you and you're not afraid of him, that can work, but he'll be scared of you and take any opportunity to attack you when your back is turned. It's much better to get him to actually be tame and even, dare I say it, like you. Most of the roosters I have are so tame I can simply walk up to them, pick them up, and pet them, all without ever getting attacked, even when you walk away, even if you're a little kid.

    As I said, it's much easier than most people think, and if you try, you can have quite a nice rooster, and maybe even a nice pet.


    Yes....I know, I know, you may say "but MY rooster is way beyond hope!". I don't think there is ANY rooster beyond hope. Even if he can't be tamed down much, I certainly think that almost every single rooster CAN be made at least manageable. As I said, it's not the rooster, it's the person. Now that I'm no longer afraid of any rooster, I think "why the HECK was I ever afraid of something that tiny?!?!?!!?"

    Even so though, you should always treat your rooster with the proper respect....he may not hurt adults anymore, but roosters often see small children as a threat, or a rival, so you should try to get your kids used to him, and watch him for signs of 'going over to the dark side', in which case you'll have to spend more time working with him.

    If you DO have a rooster that just NEVER seems to learn....rare, but sometimes happens with the really, really macho ones - you can give him a squirt of water with a water bottle or water gun whenever he tries to attack. You don't want to make him afraid of you of course, but I had one rooster that was so super macho/spazzy that a bit of water would not scare him.....I think it would help with his macho problem though! I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you've already tried all the other techniques, and he STILL sneaks a peck at you. Roosters are all different, and some could be really scared by just a bit of water, which would set them back and possibly make them more aggressive/unstable. I occasionally do it just to a chicken (hen or rooster) that is being a bit too smart-alec-y, but not much.

    Sure, I DO understand that there will probably always be an excess of roosters, and that eating your own is WAY better than buying a chicken dinner from the store. BUT, for those people who DO want to know how to deal with their roosters, for people who DON'T always want to resort to killing, then this page is for you!

    Good luck, and please, if you have questions for me or anything, don't hesitate to ask. I really, REALLY hope this helps some of you, and if it does, please, tell me! My life will then be complete lol

    More Notes:

    * Sometimes a really cocky rooster (usually the younger ones) can be taught to be more submissive by being put in a pen with a dominant rooster(s). Just make sure they don't beat him up.

    *If a rooster is pecking, or being overly aggressive, sometimes what I do, is I hold the roosters comb, at the base with a bit of pressure, then I push his head down. Also, you can push his head down by his beak. After a few seconds, after he's stopped struggling, I let go and pet him a bit, or do whatever makes him feel comfortable (some chickens don't like petting). If he tries it again, I just repeat the process, until he stops. Sometimes, I shake him up a bit (without hurting him), just to show him that I may be a friend, but I am not a force to tangle with. This happened with my BR rooster, Jengo: he had bald patches on his wings and feathers that were just growing in, so these spots were sensitive. Jengo also happened to be a more aggressive-prone rooster, and thus, when I touched is 'sensitive spots' he pecked me. I didn't want to hurt him by touching those spots, but that is NOT something I will stand for. In a way, he did have a reason to peck me: it was obviously irritating to him when I even touched those spots, but that is NO excuse to peck me, the 'lead rooster'.

    I used this technique on him, repeatedly touching his wings lightly, then pushing his head down whenever he pecked or even tried to peck, until he totally submitted, and didn't even look at me without permission. A major part of it is simply consistency: slack off and let him peck you a couple of times, and you lose that much progress. Amazing how similar to dogs they are in that way, isn't it? Anyways, Jengo was a rooster (who went to a great home BTW) that I'm 99% sure would have been very aggressive with someone who didn't know how to handle him, but I tamed him down and made him play nice by simply working with him a bit. As with many things confidence is key!

    *Some people say that acting like a chicken when you're aroung them is dumb. I totally disagree. Call me weird, but I have learned a lot of their 'language' and make chicken noises all the time when I'm with them. I make dominant rooster sounds at the roosters, and far from being dumb, it really does help. Listen to animals, learn from them as much as you can (this means that you should TRY not to anthropomorphize too much). You can't always expect them to learn our ways.

    *As if I didn't say it already, I'll say it again for certain people: USE YOUR COMMON SENSE!! Don't leave a really little kid in with a rooster unsupervised.

    *If certain people, like the ones who so loudly voiced their opinions on my original thread, have something to say to me about being a know-it-all, promoting stupid or dangerous ideas, or anything, just let me know in a PM. I certainly am not trying to be a know-it-all. I'm simply sharing what I know and hoping agaist hope it helps some people and their roosters (it already has!! :D). If you followed my thread, then you see how it got spammed up by certain people. I wouldn't like to see this page, or any thread I post about it get messed up by certain people in the same way. Of course everyone has their opinions, and I appreciate that, but when it gets aggressive, it doesn't help anyone. If these techniques are not for you, then by all means, you don't have to use them. They have worked perfectly for my and everyone I know. Once again, USE COMMON SENSE. Period. If anyone still thinks my ideas are 'dangerous', then fine, kick me off BYC if you want (and can). I will continue to spread these 'dangerous ideas' from my own website, because I think it's much more hazardous not to know how to deal with an aggressive rooster. If I end up in the hospital from one of my super, super tame roosters attacking me, I'll be sure to let you know. :D

    IMG_6902.jpg IMG_3806.jpg

    Ok, ya know how I talked about not treating them like babies? don't always have to follow that rule. ;) (Although I was just making a total fool out of him, not a baby). *Snicker* Don't try this at home peoples. Or do.


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Recent User Reviews

  1. Hermit
    "Great tips!!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 22, 2018
    My rescue flock, The Rescue Rangers, has two cockerels now that one was lost to a predator. That’s alright; now Chip (the bigger of the two) and Dale (subordinate) can rule the roost with their three ladies, and their eventual flock expansion of eleven young ladies.

    So far, I’ve managed to hold each of them while they were hand-sized chicks, and then capture them when they were little cockerels in their mini-coop — we had to catch everyone by hand for each day’s switch over for moving to a grass crate while I scoured the coop and mini run. After setting their home to rights, I’d go sit beside their grass run, moving them along to fresh patches as the shade moved, and sprinkling a little scratch to give them something new to get excited about.
    I’ve dealt with parrots before, so when I scooped Chip out of the crate with the intent of giving him some lap time, I didn’t even think about it… my hand just went straight to the nape of his neck and started preening.
    He fell asleep on my arm that first time! I think we will get along just fine. And I’ll be ready to teach him who’s boss if he tries anything, thanks to this!

    Cockerel Chip, far left.
    Unnamed pullet, sitting.
    Cockerel Dale, sitting.
    Unnamed pullet, sitting.
    Pullet Rocket, far right.
  2. valschicksrus
    "So much good advice on Roosters"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 17, 2018
    I thank you so much for the great read on "Roosters" and their behaviors. I do have one Blue Wyandotte I have raised from a chic. He is only 5 months, so I keep expecting him to get aggressive. So far he is mostly tame. He came at me only once and I immediately picked him up and carried him around his flock. I think he respects me as boss and I continue to carry him and pet him frequently to keep reminding him. Your advice is very "common sense" thinking!! I am a horse owner too, so I know the importance of "respect" from your animals. I am sure your article will help many others too!! Good Job!!
    ShanasCastle likes this.
  3. Robin K.
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 16, 2018
    This was very informative. A lot of good information in the article. Everyone keeps telling me how my rooster is going to get mean. I got him as a day old chicken with 6 hens. All 7 of my chickens are very good with me. I hand feed them. I can also pick them up and pet them. They are about 16 weeks old now. This is my first flock.


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  1. Shadrach
    Roosterism, Yea!
    It's refreshing to read some rational thinking regarding the rooster. Maybe I've been lucky, but I've not had a 'bad' rooster yet. Some, particularly when they are cockerels, can be rather boisterous and cocky, but they're young and learning.
      NNations likes this.
  2. getreal
    thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. I will definitely try these. Although most of roosters are calm but skittish. But these ideas may help with that.:goodpost:
  3. WildType
    My understanding is that there are aggressive roosters in all breeds and trait is commonly passed down the generations. I guess that breeders have been breeding for traits like egg numbers and feather colour, and often ignored temperament.
    I’m breeding chickens as pets and so a calm and gentle rooster in the genetic line is a must. I’ve been fortunate so far and my rooster is the gentlest creature imaginable. He is beautiful in spirit and body.
  4. JanetMarie
    The author "Yazzo" hasn't been seen on here since June, 2014. Unfortunate, and a member gone that long probably won't be back. Good to share the knowledge that was written while Yazzo was active on here, and that the knowledge is doing some good hopefully to help roosters.
      chant likes this.
  5. GldnValleyHens
    What a great article!!!!!! I have a horrible D Uccle rooster named Napoleon Bonaparte, he is as evil as his name suggests. He attacked my little baby brother twice and drew blood. He waited until my back was turned to do this. He is nasty, but I don’t want to get rid of him. So these tips are my last hope for a good rooster!!!!
      BlackHackle likes this.
  6. GldnValleyHens
    What a great article!!!!!! I have a horrible D Uccle rooster named Napoleon Bonaparte, he is as evil as his name suggests. He attacked my little baby brother twice and drew blood. He waited until my back was turned to do this. He is nasty, but I don’t want to get rid of him. So these tips are my last hope for a good rooster!!!!
      BlackHackle likes this.
  7. The_Silver_Warrior
    My mom was chased by a rooster when she was a kid, and doesn't really want one, but would be open to one as long as it's calm and tame. Are there any breed the have a tendency to be sweet for roos?
      chant and BlackHackle like this.
    1. chant
      I had a Bresse so far that was the epitome of The Best Rooster Ever. Not only was he incredibly docile, he never tore up the backs or left a mark on a single hen. He was majestic on every level. I still miss him and unfortunately for every other rooster I've had since, none have been able to fill his spurs. His name was Stimpy (from Ren & Stimpy). I believe the KEY was that I raised them (him and 2 sisters at the time) by hand and spent a LOT of time with them - mostly because I was new to raising chickens, was incredibly curious about their behavior and how they interacted with each other, plus they were really fun to watch. Another super gentle breed we're raising now is the Bielefelder, still though, Stimpy still reigns supreme. Be patient with your mom, she'll get there. I know because I grew up with the same experience, only that rooster ran up my dad's back (in front of me) and attacked him... needless to say I was terrified of all birds after that. With my husband's help and patience, it's all gravy now. All the best!!
      P.S. the rooster that attacked my dad was a Rhode Island Red (aka RIR) - I did attempt to raise one after I got over my fear, but that one just solidified that no RIR will ever be gracing my property. Ever.
      ChooksNQuilts likes this.
    2. Phaedra Winters
      My (hand raised) Rhode Island Red is the sweetest bird on my farm. He did go "rouge" for a little it as a "teen" but we kept picking him up and petting him and loving on him and he is the kindest rooster on our farm. I've had the worst trouble with my silkies though, although I did manage to tame (and make cuddly) my half silkie that is half Barred Rock. I just wonder why my boy is so sweet when everyone has terrible experiences with them? Either good breeding from the farmer I got him and his sisters from or I just got lucky I guess.
    3. FeatheredFriends&Horses2
      I would try Brahmas or Buff Orpingtons. As with any rooster, there is no guarantee, but these breeds are some of the calmest that I have, and my Brahma rooster is pretty tame, he may not be a "crawl into your lap" rooster, but he never bites or threatens. I've never had a Buff Orpington rooster, but the hens are INCREDIBLY gentle and sweet, so I'd assume the roosters are the same way.
  8. NNations
    So refreshing to read this article! Is this an active thread? I would love to get some advice on one of my cockerels.

    We have been working with and taming our 5 month old cockerels ever since they started showing their hormones. They went into a view-able bachelor pad once they started wanting to give the pullets some attention they weren't ready for. They were alternating free ranging every other day. Everything was going well until my polish cockerel starting jumping and spurring at my mom and her little dog. I'm assuming he thought they were threats even though they have seen each other since he was a baby. She tried all of our techniques but he just wouldn't let it go. Last weekend we decided to leave him in the bachelor pad all the time (and added a chicken tractor for more space) and let the other 2 smaller bantam cockerels back in with the girls because he seemed to be getting more aggressive with them too and we were afraid he would try to attack a visitor or even my girls when they went outside. So, my questions are: how can we get him to not see humans as a threat that aren't us? What course of action do you think we should take from here? Will he outgrow this when he gets past his hormones? We are continuing to give him attention, last night for example when the flock when in for the night we let him out and had some cuddle time. He is one that loves to be held and falls asleep in your arms almost immediately. We really want to work with him to get him through this so any advice is appreciated. Thank you for your time.
      BlackHackle likes this.
  9. libbie
    This is the 2nd article I’ve read about not letting kids be around roosters unattended and I’m looking for advice...I have two young children ages 5 and 8. My flock free ranges all day on 16 acres and my children play in the yard not far from the coop. Is having a rooster just not a good idea until the kids get a little bigger? I hatched a bunch of Cream Legbar chicks this year and am considering keeping one of the cockerels for breeding. Keeping him confined to a 2nd coop/run won’t work since I don’t have one and my husband won’t be happy about another coop. I had a mean rooster attack me in the past so am aware of making them get out of my way when I walk through and picking them up while young, but a threat to my kids just isn’t worth it.

    He is a nervous cockerel about 10 weeks old. I’ve attributed that to the breed, but am wondering if it’s a sign he could become aggressive. Is there a way to tell what kind of rooster he’ll be before waiting to see if he becomes aggressive?
      BlackHackle likes this.
    1. Phaedra Winters
      I mean, I think it would be fine if your kids aren't super duper close. If they have plenty of room to free range and get away I wouldn't see it as being too much of an issue, but that's just me.
  10. FeatheredFriends&Horses2
    I have a very nice rooster, every now and then he'll raise his hackles at one of my siblings, but he never bites. I was able to tame him when he was pretty young. He never pecked as a chick (it helps that he's a calm breed), but when he got to his teenage years, he started pecking. He wasn't big enough to do any damage, and I found that the best thing was to pretend that he didn't even peck, basically I completely ignored his pecking. This made him think that I was indestructible and top bird. After about 5-10 tries without getting a response from me, he realized it was useless and stopped pecking. I don't know if this works for every rooster, but it worked on him.
      BlackHackle and Shorty22366 like this.
  11. Abriana
    My rooster is aggressive to everyone but me (feels special lol) but he’s a fabulous roo. He is a great protector-he’s tangled with hawks before!
      BlackHackle likes this.
  12. RodNTN
    Great article! I have a dozen roosters right now and I believe I am on the right track with them :)
      BlackHackle and Abriana like this.
  13. Redhead Rae
    Sorry to be nit-picky, but the word in the title should be “Definative”, not “Definite”. My inner grammar nerd cringed at seeing this title first thing on the home page.
    1. RedDirtRambler
      Sorry, but don't you mean "definitive?" I have an inner grammar/spelling nerd, too. ;-)
      chant likes this.
    2. Redhead Rae
      Probably, I typed it on my smart phone and counted on autocorrect to fix it. Apparently, it didn't.
      RedDirtRambler likes this.
  14. WildType
    "Barry" is my first rooster so I've nothing to compare. But what a gentleman! I've never seen a hint of aggression. He gives away most of his food, does a leg jerk dance and little dropped wing thing before very gently mounting the girls. I'm sure that if he could buy flowers and throw a coat over a puddle he would.
  15. BlackHackle
    I guess I'm blessed to have been only attacked by an aggressive rooster once in 10 years. I've raised at least 5 roosters from almost every breed of chicken on earth and the only one that attacked was a RIR cockerel. Right now I have over 50 roosters and I have little kids play with them
      Abriana and HeiHeisMom like this.
  16. 1cock2hens
    I hope people dont take this as an informative post when it is very clearly an opinion piece.
  17. bigdoodle
    Well, i have two roosters, and one will attack you without any reason other than he thinks of you as a predator. Usually the only way to stop the big guy is to kick him; hard. Holding him upside down would be nearly impossible, getting a hold on his legs would be the problem. But as long as there's another rooster for him to chase around, he will pass up humans until he's chased off the "little brother"
  18. Shorty22366
    I have two roos Ben and Butch. When they start treating my hens badly I step in between them and won't let them near my girls. When they flare up at me I catch them and hold them down until they give in. I then pick them up and carry them around with me. If they get too aggressive I pick them up by their feet and keep them upside down for about 15-20 seconds and put them down and they go about their way and never bother me or my girls. My girls think I am their head rooster and the roos do too. I am the boss they will never be too of pecking order.
      HeiHeisMom likes this.
    1. Hyper_Chicken05
      Fighting the rooster will only make him more aggressive, and scared of you. And you don’t want your flock to be scared of you.
  19. AeshaHadi
    wow! When i read that i thought it would help me and my rooster het along but yeah...that wont ever happen. He is very dangerous he attacks when i put food in his cage when i try giving him food when i go near him or when im trying to help him, because he kind of gets stuck in this fenced area we have for the chickens when they go outside to play. He has basically attacked all the poor hens and most of them are hairless! He is a gamebird rooster and he is the fighting type. When we bought him the owner said he was friendly but...Hahaha...that did not come to my mind when he tryed biting my flesh of my hands when i tried to pet him. He is so not tamable. If you wanna give me advice please do!!!
  20. Mountainwalker
    Excellent information, makes so much sense, thank you!
  21. Saukacre
    I have an aggressive Australorp rooster that I have posted about before, and many people have said to put him in the stew pot. When I got the chickens I wanted a rooster for the beauty and entertainment, I love to sit and watch the chickens, especially the rooster, interact with one another and scratch and peck, chase bugs, etc. He is beautiful, and he cracks me up when he struts around, and crows. That said he is a nightmare! He was so aggressive with me I could barely get in the coop to feed and water the flock. Then I read an article similar to yours, with tips and tricks on how to handle an aggressive rooster. I have worked with him and we have come to tenuous truce. However, lately I have noticed that he will peck and spur the hens, causing them to vocalize in pain, this behavior is not part of the mating ritual. He will also at times guard and patrol the food preventing the hens from reaching the food. I have even observed him guarding the water and not allowing the hens access to the water. I now have two water sources one in the coop and one in the run, which is doable in the summer but trying to keep water outside in Michigan in the winter is a challenge. I've also had a hard time trying to keep food outside in the humidity and rain, so I only have the one food source. I can deal with his aggression toward me but, he has crossed a line with the aggression to the hens. I've been thinking the only resolution for him is the stew pot. Any suggestion?
    1. Ibchduckin
      did you get him to stop bulling the hens?
    2. Saukacre
      No, this is a new behavior. I don't know what to do about it.
    3. HeiHeisMom
      Good old fashioned Rooster Keep.
      It's like an open air mini coop and run within close proximity to the chicken coop.
      Keep him locked to himself for a week. You're his only contact. Food, water, attention all come only from you.
      It may take two weeks or even three, but it won't hurt him....just rein in his attitude.
      Call it Roo boot camp.
      He can still see the girls and sound alerts for predators, but he can't hurt anyone.
      Try letting him out after each week, any attitude gets him locked back up.
      He'll learn to respect you as a handler, but he'll never be a cuddle roo.
      Our roo keep is 2X8, 5 foot tall. There's a perch, a swing, and a covered area. I built a small ledge accessable from one side about two foot off ground. The food and water goes in on ledge fresh daily.
      Treats if the offender is on good behavior after a couple of days.
      I sing and coo to the roos if they act aggravated...ignore agressive behavior.
      Roos are just as social as hens, some times they need reminded who is truly in charge. Don't show fear... they love to be the bully.
  22. NikkiBaldwin48
    Great post! Thank you for taking the time to share what has worked!
    I have 2 auction roosters and so far they are sweet ... but your tips are great if the ever get sassy!
  23. DWilkins
    This is just the article I needed! I have a beautiful white Silky(Bennie Bird) he is rather large for a silky. I also have two hens.One is for a lack of better words, the mom (Macie) and the other (Lexie) is their is very protective of the girls, is always watching what is going on around him and them.(When I pick up the hens he charges me .Your article gave me some much needed information to break him of this.).He is less then two years old and is very ahhh "active" when it comes to breeding with Macie.He does also with Lexie ,but he seems to prefer Macie more.I am worried that this is going to stress her out.Lexie ,being the younger follows him around like a rock star groupie.Macie seems to at times ,keep her distance.I am worried that she may get stressed out from all the breeding.My last rooster (Oly)that was well over 10 years old passed in November. He was the sweetest bird ever.I could hold him for hours and was heartbroken when he passed.Because of his age,his libido was not nearly what Bennie's is,so Macie was not the subject of his affections as frequently as she is with Bennie.She is eating just fine and seems to be fine.Should I be concerned that she could become stressed out? When will Bennie get over being Mr.Macho?:) I am adding a Brahma hen to the flock when he is a little older.Maybe Bennie will see someone closer to his size and give Macie a breather? haha.Having a younger Roo is a lot different then my last one...Guess young roosters are a lot like young males of any kind! LOL...:)
  24. mickylite
    A few years back my wife's school incubated chicken eggs as a project and she used that as an excuse to finally get her own chickens. She rotated the eggs every day and hatched them by hand. So when she brought home a half dozen little chicks they were completely un-sexed. We had no idea what we had. But from day 1 all those chickens were handled daily, hand fed treats daily, picked up and loved daily. They were like our children. We ended up with 4 roosters of the 6. We re-homed 2 roosters and 1 died from a tumor. Eventually the 2 hens passed as well leaving just our beautiful Rhode Island Red Rooster, who has always and to this day was (he just died last weekend) the friendliest chicken we've ever had. We've since replaced our 2 hens with 3 Cuckoo Marons. We ordered the Marons from a hatchery as started pullets, so they came pretty much ready to lay eggs. These Marons weren't raised by us and it's noticeable!! All our prior chickens were all so friendly. They'd run up to us, eat treats from our hands, hop up on us, let us hold them. They were so friendly. These Marons are the exact opposite. We still keep in touch with the people who took our other 2 roosters and they're even sweeter than our rooster was. One of the roosters we gave away is pretty much a house pet. They bring him in the house all the time, take him on car rides, etc. It sounds funny, but they're really friendly. We're now in the process of hand raising the next generation. So far, they're following in the foot steps of our first set.

    Long story short, handle them from day one, and handle them often. If you do that, you'll have friendly chickens, roosters included!!
      Theladiesandagentleman and Liz7 like this.
  25. Shorty22366
    Great advice. Thank you. I have always had tame roosters and have used some of your tactics
    I have 5 roos and they all come running g when I come in and thehens are right behind them. My boys and girls love when I sit with them and talk to them. My boys do get a wild feather every now and then and I just put him back in his place.
    I think your ways are wonderful
    Keep teaching.
  26. oakhavenmama
    This is a great article, thank you! I accidentally wound up with a gorgeous Rhode Island Red Heritage cockerel. (Got three day old babies, mistakenly all sexed as females.) He's still a cockerel, not sure when they become full fledged roosters. Anyway, he's starting to try to bite my feet, and I instinctively pick him up when he does that. Sometimes I let him go, but will be more vigilant about it. He's getting huge, I can see why one would be afraid of him! Glad picking him up is the right thing to do!!!
  27. Varrington
    Thank you for this article. It is very helpful. I have a scared cockerel.( my first) He is scared of the adult hens. He doesn’t seem seem to afraid of me, but is afraid of everything else. I plan on using some of the ideas in this article to help him. I would like to keep him, my husband doesn’t, so if I can tame him and teach him to respect us, I am hoping he will come around before he becomes a full rooster.
    (Side note, he is about 17-20 weeks old and I’ve had him since he was a few days old)
  28. BreezyBre
    Thank you very much for this article I have a three roos with only one of them just crowing now and the others still a bit young for that . My eldest one I've raised from a chick always been hands on with him and I've been picking him up a bit more lately as he's needed a little bit of medical attention ( nothing serious :) ) But with him I've been somewhat following your guidelines already ,he can be tricky to catch but once I've got him he relaxes gets a good snuggle ,gets his treatment and back down when he's calm . My biggest fear has been that he's going to turn into a monster once he's a bit older lol But after reading this article I feel like we'll be okay which is good because it was my understanding in time they get nasty & I'd really hate to get rid of him because he such a good little boy and takes great care of the young ladies ...thank goodness I don't have that worry anymore lol I really love the little guy.
    As for the other two you get cockerals I haven't done much pick up time with them but I do talk to them ,they know their names they follow me around although I have yet to scoop them up .
    Anyway thanks for the article I feel like I have better understanding now of how to keep everyone happy and under control :):):):) I can't tell you how many ppl have said to me in time I will need to make sure I keep broom handy or something to wack away my crazy Roo's lol
      oakhavenmama likes this.
  29. HeiHeisMom
    Excellent article!
    The "humbling of the roo" has been my go to in rooster taming.
    I respect them and expect them to respect me in return. When one gets rowdy or testy I stand my ground, tuck him under my arm and walk around the run with him. The hens usually parade behind me and he swallows crow eventually. I kiss his head before setting him down and he goes back to being my sweet boy.
    The girls never 'laugh' at him, but expect to be held each in turn before I leave the coop.
    Sort of their way of telling him "equallity for all".
    Our current 'ROC (Roo of the Coop)' loved the ROC before him and is mourning his loss still, after two weeks. But he was an excellent cadet and makes the perfect new ROC.
      oakhavenmama likes this.
  30. Miss Ameraucana
    Thank YOU so much for such an informative article! IE.your experiences and knowledge! Its just like having a have to let her know who's the boss! Once accomplished she will love and respect you and your relationship can go to a whole new level. I have always had a very natural knack for animals. And agree with everything you have stated above! We have recently bought chickens and I had no idea what amazing little creatures they are and how very intelligent they are. I love them dearly and out of 14 birds there is not a one I cannot pet and pick up! ADMITTEDLY I only have hens. But are getting ready to buy some straight run Ameraucanas and planning on keeping a couple of roosters. These principles work just as well with dogs and cats also! What an awesome read! Thanks again!!
  31. Kimberlyd77
    Thank you! Our chickens are our pets, not our food. So taming them is vital for us, especially with kids around. Our 1 rooster just started attacking me, even when I bring the flock treats. Even though, I got off on the wrong foot with him (I screamed and ran away from him when he after me, because I was shocked. He'd never done that before!), I will try your tips. I want the kids to be able to play outside without having to pen the rooster up every time! Never thought of myself as an alpha rooster, but I'll play the part. LOL
      Shorty22366 likes this.
  32. Jacqdiva
    I have a new light sussex rooster called Lawrence. He really is such a handsome fellow. So beautiful! He is not aggressive with humans, but is very aggressive with smaller chickens and chicks. I was listening to someone who was basically saying to scare him, and punish him. Today I started picking him up and stroking and talking to him. I released him calmly. I saw him attack another baby and caught him a bit more easily I might add. He is also going out with my senior rooster Orlando (a gentleman), who runs him off occasionally but doesn't hurt him. I run the 2 flocks out free ranging together. They compete for their hens, but I'm not breeding right now anyway. My other Rooster Charles the white Wyandotte is quite tame. He and Lawrence are a lot easier to have their flocks together, but Charles is a bit too docile with the young upstart. So when the young fellow is a bit too smart, I let out Orlando. I don't want to get rid of Lawrence as he is so pretty, but I don't want a baby killer around. They don't have chicks in with them, but sometimes I have some around when I'm there to watch. Thanks for sharing all this. Just what Lawrence and I needed. BTW once Orlando came across a crying chick...he tried to give it a lettuce leaf. LOL
      BreezyBre likes this.
  33. Sister Gryphon
    Thanks!! I was getting so tired of googling "how to tame rooster" and coming up with pages on killing roosters. Your page is refreshing and helpful! I am going to try these techniques out starting today. Thanks again.
  34. bekisar
    I just want to say "Thank you" for all of this info and let you know that I plan to apply in now! Wayne",bekisar",at BYC.
  35. jenfarsh
    Well done! This is fantastic advice and I look forward to implementing these methods! Thank you!
  36. LJack
    We have 2 hens, each about a year and a half old - a Barred Rock and a Rhode Island Red. They were raised together and get along well. This spring, we got 2 Buff hens, a black sex link hen, and what we thought was an Ameracuna hen. Turns out, she was a he - a roo. The 4 were raised together, cuddled, held, etc. then gradually aclimated to the other older girls. The older hens do their own thing but get along with the younger bunch - hens and roo. However, the roo has become mean and picks on the one of Buff hens. He also gets aggressive around our dogs and us - puffs up, growls, makes jumps at us. He has gotten one of the Buffs down several times and and pulls at her feathers. I'm ready to give him away but I'm inclined to give him one more chance, try to train him. He won't let us pet him or get close enough to try to pet him. Any ideas? I'm also at [email protected] and get mail from this address all day. Thank you,
    1. Shorty22366
      You have to let him know your girls are yours and you will protect them. When Ben or Butch get mean to one of my girls I stand between him and my hen and if he tries to attack or acts up I pick him up and hold him until he gives in. The roos have to know you are head chicken in the flock. You have to show him you are willing to protect your hens from him.
      Pascale70 likes this.

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