Cockerel behaviour towards child

Chicalina

Songster
Aug 1, 2020
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UK
My son has definitely learned his lesson! In fact he is now a bit nervous around them whereas he wasn't before.

The cockerel has never challenged anyone before. He can be picked up and held. I wouldn't do the upside down dangling, as I just don't need to. And my son is too small to do that plus wouldn't have the confidence to handle the flapping and wouldn't be happy being that close to the spurs.

I need to work on son's confidence around the cockerel, and cockerel's behaviour around son (either submitting to son's higher status, or feeling son is safe around his hens - not 100% sure which way to go)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
84,458
98,022
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SW Michigan
My Coop
I need to work on son's confidence around the cockerel, and cockerel's behaviour around son (either submitting to son's higher status, or feeling son is safe around his hens - not 100% sure which way to go)
Only your son can do that.
Humans need to be calm and confident and fearless around birds.
If human is anxious, bird will be nervous, they can feel our fear.
Hard to squelch fear after being attacked, especially for a 6yo.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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western South Dakota
You and your son has had a warning. A lot depends on the set up, does your son share the yard with the chickens? Because if so, then any running by the child could be misconstrued by the rooster.

If the chickens have their area, and your son has another play area, this might work.

However, is there in not a large brain in a chicken, and once a rooster attacks, one of two things happen, they either never do it again, or they do attack again, and the attacks become braver and more aggressive. It is pretty typical for a rooster to start attacking children first, but many roosters move up to women after that, and then to men.

So you and your son need to be aware, you have had your warning. I just rather question when people start blaming people for a rooster attack. Not a real nice way of living or having chickens.

Mrs K
 

CindyinSD

All will be well, and that will be well is well.
Premium Feather Member
Aug 3, 2018
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thanks. I think I will try and trim down his spurs. They have never been an issue until now even though they are quite large.
You can remove the spur caps. They'll twist off with a pair of pliers and no apparent pain to the roo. I haven't done this—have never yet had occasion to—but there are quite a few YouTube videos with people showing how they accomplish it. Some warm the spur with a hot compress or freshly baked potato, but others say this isn't necessary.

This makes it a little trickier for the roo to breed the hens. I doubt it's a big problem though, as young cockerels seem to have no struggles once they figure it out. Plus, it's safer for the ladies. The spur caps will regrow—less sharp, or so I hear.

Of course this doesn't solve the problem but it may mitigate the danger to your son.
 

Caoilinnkaylin

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2020
30
35
33
My very docile Silkie cockerel attacked my 6 year old child, mainly because said child was chasing some hens to try and pick one up. I don't blame the Cockerel, he was only doing his job. But obviously I need harmony and safety in my home.
I picked him up and sat him on my lap and got my son to stroke him, to try and build a bond. I am not sure if I should try and make sure the cockerel sees my son as 'friendly and not a threat' or as 'dominant so don't mess with him'. All was fine until about 2 weeks later when the cockerel chased my son, and all he did was walk past a bunch of hens (they free range).

Cockerel has never, and would never attack me. I pick up his hens all the time, and some of the less time ones squawk like crazy when I do. I'm not sure if he sees me as dominant to him, or as just not a threat. Probably dominant if I think about it. I can reach out and put my hand on his back and if he doesn't run away first, he squats. I can pick him up and he never pecks me, just sits there. I raised him as a day old chick. I don't want to keep them penned up but I need to be confident my son is safe around him. He is 2 years old btw and has never attacked any other human. He is generally really chilled.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Spray him with water evertime he attacks usually chickens hate water and it will show who is dominat
 

Chicalina

Songster
Aug 1, 2020
1,067
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UK
Spray him with water evertime he attacks usually chickens hate water and it will show who is dominat
I don't want to arm my child with a weapon, even a water gun, as that just turns the whole thing confrontational. Violence begets violence, right?

I think there are gentler ways of showing dominance, like picking him up or holding him on the ground for a few moments. He is usually a gentle calm bird. I don’t want to encourage his perception that my son is a danger to him. But equally that my son is not weaker and will not kowtow to him.

It is a tricky balance. My son respects the bird a lot more now. But the bird has to respect my son too! Not fear him. That led to the attack in the first place.
 

Caoilinnkaylin

In the Brooder
Apr 27, 2020
30
35
33
I don't want to arm my child with a weapon, even a water gun, as that just turns the whole thing confrontational. Violence begets violence, right?

I think there are gentler ways of showing dominance, like picking him up or holding him on the ground for a few moments. He is usually a gentle calm bird. I don’t want to encourage his perception that my son is a danger to him. But equally that my son is not weaker and will not kowtow to him.

It is a tricky balance. My son respects the bird a lot more now. But the bird has to respect my son too! Not fear him. That led to the attack in the first place.
Oh I was talking abt a mister like for hair. I understand that you could use it and be behind your child. Yes picking him up is a good option to make him know your son won’t harm him and is friendly
 

boskelli1571

Crowing
9 Years
Mar 7, 2011
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Finger Lakes, NY
So two things here as you've seen already- need to help the child understand how to act around the flock. I have a 5-year old and she used to chase my chickens too when younger (I guess we have chase instincts in humans too!) and I had to correct that. It really comes down to the fact that they just want to hold one- so help them catch one in a calm manner and they get to hold it and all is usually good.

The second is - need to help the cockerel understand how to act around the family. On my farm it is unacceptable for a cockerel to attack humans, period. The first time a cockerel challenges me (which they ALL will do at some point it is their nature) I chase him down, pin him, pick him up and carry him around upside-down by his feet for about 5 minutes in front of all his hens. Of about 10 now, only one has turned on me after that and he was removed.
I know everyone has different methods of training their birds, but I have read in several places that carrying a bird 'roo or otherwise upside down can be dangerous especially if it is not something you do regularly and know how to.
Just my opinion..:)
 

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