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Bad Roo Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wunjo, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Wunjo

    Wunjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2013
    Monticello, Ky
    Well I'm a little sad. For the past 2 weeks our Roo (Brown Leghorn 7 months old in my profile pic) has been attacking me. The first time he attacked my daughter, (she is 6) I won't allow her in the coop anymore to gather the eggs. Then one day 2 weeks ago I accidentally step on his foot while going across the run to put feed in the feeder, and he would not stop attacking me. The next day he flogged me again. Then he skipped a day. Then again the next. Then he didn't attack for a week. Today I went in to check the water, and walked across the run and went back to the door and the ladies was surrounding my feet and I squatted down to pet the girls and he came up and got my wrist and fingers. His spurs are not fully grown yet so he isn't breaking skin. He broke once but it was a small scratch. He is the only one out of 7 roo's that shows aggression. He doesn't show aggression to his other caretaker. He has attacked all of us but her. I am the primary caretaker, and the other lady in the house here does it some days. The men in the house has been attacked and a teenager that also lives in the house.

    My question is, should I get rid of him or give him more time. I have another brown leghorn to replace him, but he is so gentle when breeding the girls. This is why we chose him over the other roo. He always gets us when we are not looking.
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    It does not matter if he is gentle to the hens--he's rough with you! Time will not help this one. You can try to take steps to rehabilitate him, or you can cull him.

    Personally, I do not tolerate aggressive roos. You have multiple other boys, there is no reason to keep this one in the flock--and a great many other reasons, starting with a poor six-year-old who can no longer gather eggs--to get rid of him. You also don't want chicks from an aggressive rooster, who would pass on those aggressive genes.

    I am very vocal about this. I have seen first-hand the damage that an attacking rooster can do, especially to children. Remember, their eyes are right at his spur level when he flies to attack. He will become bolder with each successful attack.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  3. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Walking on Sunshine makes some good points (as always!) and she always rightfully thinks of safety of the children first.

    What I would offer is that the reason the rooster is attacking you is because it's in his nature to protect the flock, to ensure he's the most dominant in the flock. Some part of me recognizes that his bad behavior, if he was in the wild as were his ancestors, is exactly the behavior that helped the chicken line survive all the predators that wanted to eat them! Saying this does NOT mean I tolerate or excuse bad rooster behavior, but it helps to "think like a chicken" and I try to I keep this in my mind. Understanding is often the first step to modifying bad behaviors, after all.

    That said, there are a few schools of thought on how to handle this. One is to instantly move to culling the rooster. Most of us want to at least try a few things before we take go this irrevocable option as death is very final. Another action is to show the rooster that you are more dominant than he is. Search in the above search bar on "aggressive rooster" or anything similar and you'll find many posts on this topic with suggestions on how to show a rooster that you are higher in the pecking order than he is. But, in a nut shell, the idea is when he attacks you, don't back down. If he attacks your feet, give him a little roll with your foot. Don't hurt him, just sort of gently kick him so he does a little barrel roll. This might take a few tries but sooner or later, he'll usually stop and back down. Remember that in chicken behavior, he who backs down first is the loser. If the little boot kick doesn't do the trick, try chasing him and he should run away. If you can catch him, do so and pick him up, hold him nicely but tightly and maybe sit with him for a few minutes. I tend to pet him and talk to him nicely just to show him I'm the boss. I also repeatedly put my hand near his beak and if he tries to peck my hand, I'll hold my hand under his chin along his neck so he can't, which he doesn't like. Then, I'll let go of his neck, pet him some more, then try putting my hand near his face again. I do this until he no longer tries to peck my hand and instead, turns his head away from my hand. This is his way of saying, "Fine, you win. You are higher in the pecking order then me." At this point, I put him gently down on the ground.

    Depending on how stubborn he is and just his general nature, plus how he was raised, how long his aggressive behavior has been tolerated by humans, etc. will determine how many times you have to do this and if it will even work at all. As you can tell, my rooster has mis-behaved towards me and others. We've tried what I'm suggesting and it has worked for us. It only took a few times and he just got the message. But all roosters are individuals so give it a try and see if it works for you. Or, try some of the other suggestions you'll find in this forum. If it doesn't work, you can always cull but once you cull, there is no turning back. And remember, if he was in the wild, he would be doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing. He's not in the wild but recognize that to him, he's simply doing his job and he's in fact, actually the best at it of all the roosters because he's the toughest of all.

    Hope this helps,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I vote get rid of him! I have had one of my children injured by a roo too and it is nothing you need tolerate. The roo was put down for breaking the skin of my child, so by telling you this, I hope you will get rid of him.

    There are many roosters who don't turn mean.
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Guppy, I thought of telling the OP how to try to rehabilitate this roo, but there are multiple caregivers and the roo is attacking most of them. For rehab to work, each caregiver needs to be unafraid of the roo, and each caregiver needs to respond appropriately. That seems a bit much to ask, and with animal training, doing it halfway will only make the problem worse.

    Yes, it's in a rooster's nature to attack threats. But human caregivers aren't threats, and a rooster that thinks they are is not doing his flock any good. Chickens aren't wild animals any more. They're domesticated creatures. Culling roosters that are inappropriately aggressive just continues their domestication, which is basically learning how to live with humans, after all. Dogs came from wolves; dogs have learned how to live with humans and human-aggressive dogs are put down; which species has been more successful? I don't have any human-aggressive roosters, but they still watch for threats and one bloodied the cat's nose the other day. A rooster can still be a very good flock protector and not be (and have never been) human-aggressive at the same time.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Walking on Sunshine,

    All good points and I agree. Just offering an alternative in case this poster had never read about ways he/she could try to work with the rooster. This poster might try these ideas or a different technique, find it works, then teach it to the other caregivers. He might not feel good about culling without at least trying something first. And it is through this learning process that he/she will find what works best for him/her. Also, even (maybe especially) children benefit from learning things like this, how to kindly yet assertively work with farm animals. Chickens are one of the most likely starting points for many hobby farmers and children and these approaches to working with chickens can be transferred to other animals. Or, this poster might choose to cull the rooster straight out. That is his/her choice.

    We each go about things differently and that's what's GREAT about this forum is we get all sorts of ideas and get to pick what match our goals and philosophies and approaches. No way is more right or wrong than another necessarily. Different ideas are good because it gives us choices and so I appreciate your experiences and learning from you.

    Guppy
     
  7. Wunjo

    Wunjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2013
    Monticello, Ky
    Sorry for late reply.... I am on day 23 hatching chicks and have been keeping a close eye on them. I have decided to keep him for a little while more and let my daughter only gather from other pens. If he does not improve he will either be culled or given to someone else to do what they want with him.
     

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