Aggressive cockerel

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by stikyy, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. stikyy

    stikyy Hatching

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    So I am new to the whole chicken thing, and I got what I thought were 4 females from McMurray Hatchery, but unfortunately 1 turned out to be a cockerel. They are now about 25 weeks old. The cockerel is a Rhode Island Red, one of the hens is also a RIR, and 2 others are black australorps. I also got another younger RIR (about 16 weeks old) I got as a replacement from McMurray, which is now in a separate coop temporarily - more on this later.

    So of course I am sure the question has been asked 1000 times, even on this forum, but I couldn't find any good answers... What do you do with aggressive roosters? How do you "tame" them? Or do you just make him soup (that's what everyone says). At first he was a nice rooster, then a few weeks back he attacked my 7 year old, so now my 7 year old won't go into the run. He wouldn't attack me before - until today (and I thought he liked me). He went for my leg when I walked in - I gave him the broom (which he is scared of for some reason), and he is now staying away, but I know its just the beginning of the problem. I can deal with him, but the bigger problem is he won't accept the new RIR female. I tried keeping her in the run inside the cage for a week, tried putting her in the coop at night, but in all cases he just keeps attacking her (and badly). He won't let up. The poor little chick puts its head in a corner (thinks she is hiding probably because she can't see) and he just keeps pecking away. I ended up just putting her in a separate coop until I can figure it out.

    So the easy answer is - yes, make rooster soup, but my son gets upset when I suggest that. Even though he is afraid of him, he doesn't want to eat him. I really do not need a rooster, I live in an suburban area, and don't really need the noise, the run is completely enclosed (even on top) and pretty large, so I don't need him for protection. I am not planning on hatching eggs, so I don't need him for that.

    Please some suggestions other than eat him. I can try to give him away on Craigslist maybe, but other than that, can you somehow make them less aggressive? do they get less or more aggressive with age?
     
  2. alexa009

    alexa009 Crossing the Road

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    Culling or giving him away is the only option. Unfortunately, taming him will provoke him to take advantage of you and will reinforce his ability to attack. I wouldn't hatch the eggs since the trait will exhibit in the offspring also. I am sorry to say that Rhode island red cockerels are the worst breed to start with when commencing a backyard flock. As for the 16 week old, has she been introduced to the original flock before?
     
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  3. stikyy

    stikyy Hatching

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    Not looking to hatch the eggs anyway, just eat them - that was the main purpose of getting the chickens. As far as the the 16 week old. I tried introducing her by putting her in a god cage inside the main run for about a week, but when I let her out the cockerel just doesn't let up on her. I tried many times over several weeks, until I gave up and put her in a separate coop. I had a small unused coop, so its not a problem for now.

    I got RIRs because I read they were good egg producers and pretty resilient, never expected to get a rooster. The RIR hens I got are great, no problems, its boy that's the problem.

    Guess I am going to try giving him away - maybe someone wants him. Tell my kid he is moving away :)
     
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  4. alexa009

    alexa009 Crossing the Road

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    Cockerels have a tendency to be more aggressive at this stage and he will probably kill the pullet. He is looking to assert his dominance and trying to defend the older pullets. Anyway, I was trying to put it that the Rhode island red roosters are mean but the the hens are generally easygoing. I also want to mention that I have tried the "see but no touch" method and based on my personal experience it doesn't come in handy with my flock at all. When people have problems integrating chickens with a cockerel, he usually won't leave them alone until he can do severe damage. As long as the cockerel is willing to accept new flock mates then he can stay. Otherwise, I would have him removed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
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  5. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    I agree with @alexa009 , this boy needs to go.
    RIR cockerels ARE notoriously nasty. And with a 7 year old son, you cannot take a risk like that. Attacking the pullets just puts the nail in the coffin.
    I would just rehome him knowing that whomever takes him will put him in their freezer. As long as you are okay with that, your son will just know that he went to live with someone else.
     
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  6. stikyy

    stikyy Hatching

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    Personally I am fine with him ending up in a freezer or soup pot - just can't be my own freezer or soup pot :) You know how kids are - they get attached to animals since we had him since 4 weeks old.
     
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  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    Since he attacked your son, all bets are off in my opinion. I would not keep him. That’s the tough part about parenting - sometimes you’ve gotta make the hard calls. How you cull this bird is up to you - give it away or put it in the freezer. If you give it away, please do so with full disclosure so someone else doesn’t get hurt.
     
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  8. stikyy

    stikyy Hatching

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    If anyone reading this, wants him in Los Angeles / San Fernando Valley area, send me a message.
     

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  9. Feather Hearts

    Feather Hearts Crowing

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    You are making the right call, most roosters are nice (the rooster in my main flock is a rhode island red, he is absolutely wonderful), but some are just plain nasty. When they just start to mature they can get a little pushy, but you should never tolerate a rooster spurring you(fortunately I have never met the sharp end of a spur, but I'm sure it hurts).

    If you want a nice pet chicken for your son, then try getting a couple of silkies, they are friendly and very sweet, kids love them. Even silkie roosters are usually very nice, provided children respect that they are not teddy bears. My six year old sister loves the silkies, she knows them all by name, and can just walk up to them and pick them up, lovely little critters.

    Good luck, sorry you've had an unpleasant rooster.
     
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  10. stikyy

    stikyy Hatching

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    He doesn't have spurs yet, but he pecks pretty well (at my leg today).

    As far as pets - not really looking for pets, just egg producers. We don't really handle them much if at all, but we'd like to go into the run without being attacked :)

    Thanks for all the advice. I guess we'll try to give him away (with a warning that he is definitely not a pet) and if no one wants him, we'll have to figure something else out.
     
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