Aggressive behavior from a previously docile rooster? How do we learn to respect each other?

Lootgoot

In the Brooder
Sep 16, 2020
11
39
33
I have a Barred Rock Rooster who is 20 weeks as of last Saturday. He's always been very docile and actually really timid, but I'm not certain if he is experiencing hormonal surges as he is growing up or if he is destined to be an aggressive bird. I'd really like to keep him, so if it is just correctable behavior I'd like to figure it out and stay the course, but I don't want to be weary of him either.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that he had started to mount some of my pullets who are not yet laying (I posted about that at the time). At the time, he didn't seem to be hurting them, just trying to learn the ropes so to speak. Since then, he doesn't seem to do that much any more, but he's definitely mounting the hens who are laying daily and is asserting his dominance over the flock in general. He's pecked at my hand or foot once or twice while out in the run with them, but I haven't thought much of it as the hens sometimes do the same and I pecked or softly kicked back when he did it.

On to the problem - the other evening, I was out in the run and it was getting close to dusk, so I decided to go ahead and shoo the hens into the coop and lock them up for the night. A few of my hens and pullets were not done playing for the evening and I clearly committed a major faux pas so he looked me in the eye, put his head down and charged me. At the time, I kind of laughed and said, "guess he put me in my place. That was his job". I went out of the gate and the two of us had a stare down and I'll swear to you all he stood on the stoop of the coop from that point, stared me down and called all the hens in. If he could talk, I swear he was telling me, "How dare you? I tell them when to go into the coop, not you." Since then, he gives me the stink eye and watches me (no, I'm not imagining it!). I'm a little weary of him and have not wanted to turn my back on him for fear that he'll do it again.

And if I could talk back to my rooster, I'd tell him I understand my place and truthfully, I'd give him that one little victory in the future. I understand those are his girls that he's just trying to protect and he can lord over his coop however he chooses, but this is MY castle and unless he wants to become pot pie, he needs to understand his place as well. He can protect his flock, but I'm not the enemy and he doesn't fight me. Chickens are really just serfs working on this feudal lord's land daily for free food and shelter and all I get out of the deal is some eggs.

He's only 20 weeks, so his spurs aren't fully developed yet and I know he can't properly hurt me yet, but I'm concerned that he's on the way to becoming mean and aggressive. I'd rather correct the behavior now while he's young and unable to actually hurt anyone. I've been googling and researching, so I don't know if he's going through hormonal surges and I need to just wait it out, or if I should just continue to constantly enter the run and spend time with them/him. I've always been the one to spend time with him/the hens and he's previously been a little timid. Thoughts? I don't want to get rid of him and I really see all of the positive benefits of having a rooster in your flock, so I'm hoping he's not destined for other things.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
5,126
56,626
1,217
Midgard
First, don’t let him mate the hens around you. If he does, knock him off (gently of course). Mating is a sign of dominance toward other roosters (which would be rivals, which he sees you as). If he comes up to you, quickly swoop down and pick him up and hold him until he calms down. One thing that worked for my other rooster who was very aggressive was holding him upside down by his feet for a few seconds (only do this in the morning before he has eaten and drank because you don’t want anything to come back up and choke/aspirate him). This doesn’t hurt them and is actually a method used to carry birds. I personally never did it because he was my baby, but I allowed my sister to do it, and she only had to do it once or twice. When he gets older you can wrap duct tape around his spurs, it’s easier than removing them and then you don’t have to worry about getting hurt. It’s WAY easier to deal with an aggressive rooster when fear isn’t a factor—then he’s just an angry ball of floof. Another thing I do for aggressive roosters is do the shuffle dance toward them until they run away/hide under the coop. The rooster I have now, Uriah, is extremely funny, he is very gently aggressive —he pecks at your boot if you offer it to him, but whenever I walk out there he growls, and when I pet him he does little sounds of indignation. He is extremely fluffy so he’s not too menacing either :lol: My previous rooster, Napoleon, was just as fierce as his name. He would attack anything and everything, work gloves, crocs, dogs, people, hawks, you name it, he would probably have attacked it. He was marvelous with the ladies though, truly an incredible example of a selfless and gentlemanly rooster. It took a while before I had the bravery to stand up to him but once I did, he only needed gentle reminders every once in a while. I miss him a lot!

Good luck with your boy! Hopefully you can train him into a well-behaved rooster, it sounds like he’s already good with the ladies so if you can curb the aggression you’ll have the perfect boy :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,701
143,908
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Well, he's telling you to let him do his job.
You shouldn't interfere with any of his roosterly duties...
....especially not while he's mating.

Instead of shooing the birds inside 'early' try luring them in with treat rattles.
Rattle the treat can inside the coop, spread a few treats on the coop floor.
They should all come running including the cockerel.
 

chickengr

Free Ranging
6 Years
Dec 29, 2014
5,241
8,297
741
greece
I have a Barred Rock Rooster who is 20 weeks as of last Saturday. He's always been very docile and actually really timid, but I'm not certain if he is experiencing hormonal surges as he is growing up or if he is destined to be an aggressive bird. I'd really like to keep him, so if it is just correctable behavior I'd like to figure it out and stay the course, but I don't want to be weary of him either.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that he had started to mount some of my pullets who are not yet laying (I posted about that at the time). At the time, he didn't seem to be hurting them, just trying to learn the ropes so to speak. Since then, he doesn't seem to do that much any more, but he's definitely mounting the hens who are laying daily and is asserting his dominance over the flock in general. He's pecked at my hand or foot once or twice while out in the run with them, but I haven't thought much of it as the hens sometimes do the same and I pecked or softly kicked back when he did it.

On to the problem - the other evening, I was out in the run and it was getting close to dusk, so I decided to go ahead and shoo the hens into the coop and lock them up for the night. A few of my hens and pullets were not done playing for the evening and I clearly committed a major faux pas so he looked me in the eye, put his head down and charged me. At the time, I kind of laughed and said, "guess he put me in my place. That was his job". I went out of the gate and the two of us had a stare down and I'll swear to you all he stood on the stoop of the coop from that point, stared me down and called all the hens in. If he could talk, I swear he was telling me, "How dare you? I tell them when to go into the coop, not you." Since then, he gives me the stink eye and watches me (no, I'm not imagining it!). I'm a little weary of him and have not wanted to turn my back on him for fear that he'll do it again.

And if I could talk back to my rooster, I'd tell him I understand my place and truthfully, I'd give him that one little victory in the future. I understand those are his girls that he's just trying to protect and he can lord over his coop however he chooses, but this is MY castle and unless he wants to become pot pie, he needs to understand his place as well. He can protect his flock, but I'm not the enemy and he doesn't fight me. Chickens are really just serfs working on this feudal lord's land daily for free food and shelter and all I get out of the deal is some eggs.

He's only 20 weeks, so his spurs aren't fully developed yet and I know he can't properly hurt me yet, but I'm concerned that he's on the way to becoming mean and aggressive. I'd rather correct the behavior now while he's young and unable to actually hurt anyone. I've been googling and researching, so I don't know if he's going through hormonal surges and I need to just wait it out, or if I should just continue to constantly enter the run and spend time with them/him. I've always been the one to spend time with him/the hens and he's previously been a little timid. Thoughts? I don't want to get rid of him and I really see all of the positive benefits of having a rooster in your flock, so I'm hoping he's not destined for other things.



he sounds like a promissing boy. we need that kind of roos around our hens.
 

JedJackson

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 6, 2016
7,049
21,499
942
NW Washington state
I see nothing wrong with giving him a second chance, but definitely be cautious around him, and keep him away from children.

If he attacks you again, then you're going to have to really consider what is best for you. A human aggressive rooster can make chicken keeping a misery, and you really don't want him passing this behavior down to any male chicks he might sire.

From my perspective, once they become regularly aggressive, there's not much to be done about it. You can chase and scare them with some weapon like a broom or tennis racket, but they will usually return to the same type of behavior.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,134
41,828
1,156
southern Michigan
Look up @Beekissed , @BantyChooks , and @Shadrach 's articles about roosters, all helpful. Your cockerel is not behaving well, maybe fixable, maybe not. In my experience, once this behavior gets going, it's likely to escalate, and definitely be dangerous. If children are around, eliminate him now!
None of the cockerels I've kept have ever acted out like that. The ones who did, got worse, and didn't stay in the flock.
Mary
 

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