Agressive roo.... Is there any hope?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Geckochick, May 28, 2012.

  1. Geckochick

    Geckochick In the Brooder

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    We have an accidental rooster. We didn't plan on having one, but we do, and he has been lovely. He is nearing a year old, and he comes when called, eats out of our hands, lets my kids pick him up. He also takes really good care of the ladies when they are free ranging.

    Well, this weekend, he started attacking my DH. Flying at him, legs up, wings beating, anger attacking. I walked down to barn wearing DH's shoes and Roo went crazy about the shoes, attacking them, flying at them. I kicked them off and he landed on them and beat them up.

    The thing is, I have three young kids, and I operate a childcare. I cannot have an aggressive roo.

    We crated him in the coop yesterday morning, and he is still there today. He seems perplexed by this, is not being aggressive when we reach in to feed and water him. The ladies, of course, are all cooing around their man, wondering why he isn't coming out to play.

    Is there anything I can do? We are not opposed to culling him and sending him to rotisserie camp, but if we can save him, he is so pretty and was so nice until Saturday.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  2. HenFriend

    HenFriend Chirping

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    Have been told by several people to catch the roo and cuddle it! This is supposed to show who's boss and I guess humiliates him a bit. Seems to work on some and not others, sorry to say my sister had such a bad problem with a couple of hers they had to be culled as the attacks were so bad they couldn't enter the coop.
     
  3. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Songster

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    aw that sounds a little like my "Red" I rehomed mine. She (new owner) is in here somewhere (Red Dragon?? :)

    Red (now Remy) is working out well for her. Her girls like him, and his troubling side (for me) is actually a bit of a good thing since she lives further out in the woods, and is more likely to have other predators. Like you, I have children, and other children are always at my house, so he was not going to work here. Red Dragon told me he had an issue with shoes for a little while too, but that he has gotten over it.
     
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    How old, first of all? If he's mating the hens already and flogging, there isn't much hope. Temperament is heritable. The way to have a good rooster is to only keep the non human aggressive ones and breed from those.

    I've tried all the stuff folks have recommended over the years on BYC and they have never worked for a rooster who was already mature and flogging. You can certainly try them, but don't expect success. Sometimes, all you get is a sneakier rooster, who will bide his time and attack you when you least expect it and your guard is down.

    I have fabulous easygoing roosters, a Delaware and a Blue Orp, and have had wonderful Barred Rocks as well. I've also had aggressive Delawares, aggressive BRs and an aggressive black Ameraucana, so you simply cannot go by breed. Choose a rooster from a line selected for temperament if you get them from a breeder or if you get them from a hatchery, cull any rooster who shows aggression toward you after mating age. Keep the best, cull the rest.


    Small children are a completely different issue, though. Even the sweetest rooster should never be trusted around them because of the way kids move and the noise they make. They make even my lovebug roosters nervous.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  5. Geckochick

    Geckochick In the Brooder

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    Thanks, everyone for your replies.

    He is nearing one. He will be one at the end of June. His spurs are just nubs, but they are coming. He has been mating hens for quite a while.

    I may have found a home for him where he will live in large run, not free ranged and seldomly are there children there. Just waiting to hear today. I thought this was good news last night, and announced it at supper. All three of my kids burst into tears. Child A cried because Roo is her baby (she loves him, and carries him around). Child B cried because he wanted the drumstick. And Child C cried because he sees all the hens as Roo's babies and he thinks the babies will be scared of the dark without Roo.

    Ah.... Lesson learned. Cull the accidental roosters.
     
  6. Geckochick

    Geckochick In the Brooder

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    Oops, hit reply before I finished. I am worried we have judged him poorly. He has been living a bachelor life for a few days, and of course is very calm. He looks at us with this perplexed face and coos at us when we come into the barn. I KNOW I don't want to chance him attacking the kids. But, part of me wishes we could do something else.
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    It can be very hard sometimes.

    I'll tell you a story, if you have the patience to read it, about an unusual rooster situation where I had to let go a grown rooster I loved and had hatched here from my very first rooster, Hawkeye, a gentleman to the core. This proves that a situation can change a rooster's behavior.

    Dutch was an awesome Barred Rock rooster, son of my very beloved, late Hawkeye, younger brother to my crippled rooster, Zane. He had the big sturdy build you want in a BR, unlike many hatchery Rocks, was just exemplary. He was non-aggressive, only bit a couple fingers at the age of 8 weeks old and the aversion therapy of holding his beak shut I've mentioned previously fixed that. He never bit, rushed or flogged, very easygoing and sweet.

    Fast forward to when Dutch was a year and a half old, not a young rooster at all anymore. He and his younger brother, Mace, were leading the main flock, but could not get along. Dutch, the alpha rooster, would not share the hens. They fought constantly and as a result, both were scabby in their combs and wattles. Sadly, I rehomed Mace and a couple of his half sisters to lockedhearts, who still has Mace years later, and I kept Dutch, who was larger bodied.

    The hens constantly picked at Dutch's comb and wattle wounds and he stayed a scabby mess. The worst time was on the roost at night when he was a sitting duck, so we decided to separate him only at night into a little extra coop we had and return him every morning. Each afternoon when they went in, he'd stand still for one of us to pick him up and carry him to his night coop, literally stand between our legs to be picked up, calm as could be. This went on for two or three weeks and it was working, he was healing up slowly.

    One day, he walked up to me to be picked up as usual to be taken to his night coop. I picked him up, left the pen, entered the other pen and sat him down, whereupon, Dutch immediately whirled around and bit the fire out of my hand! I was stunned! Could not believe this behavior out of him. I called for my husband, who came out and Dutch was obviously riled up and jumpy. We put him inside and tried to puzzle out why he would suddenly do a 180 degree about face in his behavior.

    From that moment on, Dutch changed toward me. It was only me, not my DH, who had also taken him to his night coop, but for some reason, that rooster got it into his brain that I was the one who was the enemy. He'd rush me when my back was turned. When I faced him, he'd stop and act like he hadn't done anything. He'd bump my leg from behind and I wasn't sure it he'd hit me on purpose or been running too fast to stop. If I picked him up, sometimes he'd bite my arm, though not really hard.

    You can call me crazy, but the soft expression in his eyes changed to a hard, calculating look. Even Cetawin, who was visiting from KY saw it. The look said, "You just wait, lady. I'll get you when you least expect it." I no longer trusted him. He was truly a different rooster. He had not flogged me up until that point. This went on for months, him being fine, then him being on the verge of actual contact-aggression.

    I told DH that if he actually flogged me, that was the end, he was gone. One day I was on the phone with Cetawin in my coop looking for eggs when Dutch came in the pop door and ran at me and attempted to flog me. Fortunately, he slid into the leg of the roost and only managed a scratch on the front of my calf. I yelled his name in surprise and he came at me again. I threw something at him to back him off since I had the phone in one hand and was sort of tied up and he ran out the pop door.

    When DH found out, he true to his word, got his gun, trussed up this rooster we both loved and was on his way to the woods to execute him and I stopped him. I didn't want him to have that memory and said I would try to rehome him with full disclosure, seeing that it may not be an issue with anyone except me and he may be okay in a new environment, since he had not shown any aggression before that advanced age and the circumstance that started it. I owe so much to lockedhearts who stepped in and said she wanted to come get Dutch and give him a second chance, which she did. He has since passed on.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  8. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    First, I am sorry you are facing this decision. I was about to type "Get rid of him" and something clicked in my pea brain...you said he went after your DH's shoes and then attacked them when you kicked them off...correct? If that is the case, let me tell you a story of Lancelot and the Gloves. Lancelot will be 2 years old in July and is a massive blue beast of a boy which I absolutely adore...all 13+ pounds of him. Lancelot is good to the girls, always alert and has protected them as best he could from predators. He has taken on predators and I witnessed him try to sacrifice himself to a coyote to save his girls...I killed the coyote before she could kill my rooster. So...you get the picture...he is a good boy.

    This past winter, Lancelot out of the blue, attacked/bit my hand. I was heart broken at the thought that he was turning aggressive because that would only mean one thing....off with his head, I will not rehome an aggressive rooster nor will I tolerate one here. I thought about all day and several times I went out and just watched Lance in the yard with the girls. That night at bedtime, I reached to rub his chest and he bit my hand again. Now I was devastated. The next morning, Lancelot would run after me (not unusual for him as he follows me everywhere) but he was jumping at my hand trying to bite me. When I stopped to scold him I noticed that he was not focused on me but he was focused on my gloved hand. I held my hand down and he immediately tried to bite so I took the glove off and offered him my bare hand and he looked all over my hand and then looked up at me as if to say "Mom, where are the treats?". It was the gloves he was attacking...not me. I laid the gloves down on the front porch and stepped inside the house only to return to find him and one of my Orp girls in the yard with one of the gloves...beating the crap out of it, pulling it, stomping it and etc. I had to chase him down and wrestle him to get my glove back. I suggest before you make a decision on his behavior, first determine exactly what the problem is.

    Have husband and yourself wear different shoes and enter his area and see what happens. I warn you...do not act cautiously, act as casual as you can while keeping an eye on him. Some birds take an immense dislike to a certain object and they are not fond of changes to their routine as a whole. I have one pair of coop shoes and whoa be it to the new boots or shoes I wear. Colors can also set them off. It could also be your husband that he is afraid of or wishing to challenge...which could explain the attack on the shoes.

    Now, that is my romantic rose colored glasses view because I love my boys plus I need to know answers. There are those weird things that happen like Lance and the gloves but as Speckledhen told you...there are those idiot boys that suddenly decide you are evil. What she told you about Dutch and the look in his eyes.....completely factual. I do not have a problem chickens generally...I can get just about any bird to take food from my hand but that boy Dutch...no way. I saw him looking around normally, happy to be a roo with his girls and his eyes suddenly change to what I can only describe as a hateful look. He looked right at me with the intensive decisive "I will get you, count on it" look. It was shocking because I truly have never seen a bird look at me that way...it was not fear, it was downright mean.

    With your boy...if it turns out it is not the shoes....get rid of him. With small children it is not wise to keep him.

    This is the look of a sweet boy....hehehehehe My Lancelot

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  9. Geckochick

    Geckochick In the Brooder

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    Thank you, both, for your stories. I don't think he has that "I'm going to get you," look to him. When DH gets home tonight we will have a little experiment and see how Roo behaves regarding the shoes. I didn't mention it in my original post, but he was also attacking our neighbour. The reason I have my doubts is that there was a LOT going on on the weekend. Neighbour was here, helping DH to till a patch, and they were pretty close to where the chickens were. I keep wondering if all the activity was throwing the rooster off.
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    We talk about non-human aggressive roosters, but if someone the flock is completely unfamiliar with came into the coop after lockup without one of us, I'd almost hope my rooster would see that person as a threat. It goes against some of what we've said before, but there have been so many chicken thefts and killings by human predators, it would be quite satisfying to see one of those run out of the coop screaming for his life with a rooster hot on his tail, LOL. Writer of Words has a story here on BYC about her rooster, Nugget, and finding lots of human blood on her porch and gate-apparently a person up to no good ran into Nugget, who was one of the biggest roosters I've ever seen!

    Hope you find it's an object your rooster has a problem with.
     

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