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Aggressive Rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Willoughby, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Willoughby

    Willoughby New Egg

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    Jun 13, 2014
    Our lovely black sex-link roo, Webster, has become not so lovely these days. He has attacked my fiancée, Greg, and managed to puncture his calf with his spur. Although I told Greg it "was only a flesh wound", still, it hurt. Just yesterday Webster tried to attack me, and I held him off with my rubber boot! We think he is just being overprotective of his ladies, Hazel, Cami and Poe. But if he continues this, we will not be able to let him roam the yard. I'm thinking of keeping him back in the pen while the girls are allowed to roam, but I imagine this will really set him in a tizzy! Not sure how to handle this, as we don't want to see anyone, especially kids, get hurt. And I don't want to become afraid of my Webster, after all, I insisted on a roo because of my childhood pet rooster Pixi . . . Pixi was overprotective of me, and would not allow anyone near me - - my sisters often had to holler to me to come get that chicken just so they could get in the house! But Pixi never, ever got aggressive with me. Webster isn't supposed to, either! We don't want to cull him, yet, as he does protect the hens and we live in a rural, wooded area with predators. Any suggestions???

    Also, this flock was hatched May 10th of this year, and the hens have just begun to lay. Surprised me because I thought we wouldn't see an egg until the weather warmed in the spring, but they are all three laying an egg a day. With the exception of Hazel, our New Hampshire Red, her egg-laying is sporadic so far. The problem is, they have very cozy nesting boxes, the same height as their roosting bar so I know it is a comfortable height, yet they continue to lay their eggs on the floor of the coop. They scratch the cedar shavings and lay their eggs on bare hardwood, sometimes cracking the eggs in the "drop". And yet their straw-lined nesting boxes are right there, waiting . . . I even put fake eggs in the boxes to lure the girls, but it hasn't worked yet. Any suggestions on this issue as well???
     
  2. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Hi there!

    I'll do the easy bit first, ha ha! Nesting boxes should always be lower than your roosts to prevent the birds from sleeping in them at night, so I would recommend lowering them to a much closer position to the ground. I think you will find that, along with the fake eggs in the boxes, will help a great deal. If the weather is not too hot/cold there, you could even leave the eggs in the nest until the afternoon (just once or twice) so they get the idea that 'this is where the eggs accumulate.' My nest boxes are actually sitting right on the floor of the coop and they use them just fine. It also eliminates the need of a jump up and a jump (with impact) down which some birds, particular the heavier breeds, find uncomfortable.

    Re: The rooster - I presume he is the same age as your hens? If so, congratulations - you have a teenager on your hands! I find that from the 9 month old mark to the 1 1/2 year mark, the hormones are flowing and roosters have only one thing on their minds - mating their hens! They are also clumsy and awkward and have not developed proper protocols of behaviour just yet. Some of this will improve with age.

    I think you are correct to be concerned though. Certainly if there are children around you really can't be too careful. This may be a phase he will grow out of, and it also may not. He could just be one of those aggressive roosters. You could try penning him up so that at least your visitors are safe. Perhaps in time he will improve.

    How much this behaviour you will tolerate depends on your comfort level. My roo has only come at me once (three days ago actually), and I believe it was because I had picked up his favourite girl. I will give him a second chance because at the end of the day he was protecting his flock - which is why I got him in the first place! I will not turn my back on him though.

    They say there are certain things you should and should not do around roosters: Do not pat them, do not let them mate their hens front of you, always walk through them rather than around them etc. You could try those. I have also heard some people suggest you give the rooster a good poke between the eyes with your fingers to simulate pecking, carrying him around for a while or holding him down to the ground. I have no idea if any of these methods work, but if you don't want to cull him yet, it's something you can try.

    If all else fails, rehoming him or culling may be your last resort.

    - Krista
     
  3. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    Also keep in mind that there are a ton of roosters out there in need of homes, who are both protective of the hens, and well behaved around humans. If you don't mind your current rooster's behavior and are attached to him, then keep him. Otherwise, perhaps you should consider giving another roo a chance.
     
  4. Willoughby

    Willoughby New Egg

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    Jun 13, 2014
    Thanks so much for the feedback! We'll give Webster a little more time, and see what happens . . . About the nesting boxes, I'm stumped. Everywhere I looked when we were planning the coop suggested placing the boxes a little higher off the floor. They're built-in . . . I'm wondering if I replicate them and place those on the floor, if that might work - - eventually removing them and seeing if they will nest in the permanent ones?

    [​IMG] These are the nesting boxes - - we only have 3 hens so the bottom boxes are plenty!

    [​IMG] This is their roosting bar . . .
     

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