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Cockerel tried to attack me this afternoon

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by frenchchick1, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. frenchchick1

    frenchchick1 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2014
    Hi all

    I've been loving my chicken experience since I started back in May this year. But today I was a little let down.

    I actually have two cockerels and at the moment they seem to be getting along fine. One is a few months younger than the other one and the younger one was introduced later on.

    The older one (Henry), he is a Braekel, decided to have a go at me today. I think it was because one of the hens had escaped from the run and I used a bit of greenery to coax her in the right direction whilst I was still in the run.

    Henry didn't like it and tried to attack me, I shouted at him and then stomped off to the gate to try and coax the hen in from outside. As I was leaving the pen and closing the gate, Henry was coming at me again.

    I closed the gate and shouted at him; Then I went to get my hen back in. If I can get behind her and just gentle talk to her she is fine and goes in, which is what she did.

    I went into the run after that to give them their afternoon yoghurt, but I was very wary of Henry. This time as I left the run I carried a stick with me just in case, but nothing happened.

    Now I am concered if this will continue to happen or was he just protecting his girl?

    I have a friend with the same type of cockerel and her's started attaking her through a similar situation, but now he hasn't stopped attacking her since and she is looking to rehome him.

    I guess I should just wait it out and see if he settles down, but I think he will pick up on my nervousness. This is the first time ever I have had this. I love all my chickens, I even increased my female flock size to improve the chances of the two males getting along in the same flock. They are always happy, healthy and contented, but today Henry really spoilt it.

    I shall remember not to gesticulate with any greenery near a chicken again!

    Any advice?
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Teen age cockerels can become a little 'cocky'. Sometimes they settle down as they mature - generally they become more human aggressive. If you can not grab him by hand to subdue him, try scooping him up in a short handled fishing net. Then firmly force him to the ground until he stops struggling. If he attacks again upon release, immediately subordinate him. He needs to learn that you are not to be messed with. Kicking, swatting or flailing at will only inspire him to attack further. Good luck in asserting your dominance. Plan B is coq au vin.
  3. frenchchick1

    frenchchick1 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2014
    Thank you for the advice, I shall have to find a friend with a fishing net, or what about a blanket, would that do it?
    I'm hoping he calms down and that he was just worried for his girl. I just went down there this evening at treat time and it was all normal, so fingers crossed and see what tomorrow brings.
  4. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2013

    Just a bit more advice...Always be very watchful but, calm and collected when dealing with cockerels. Never let yourself act nervous around them- act cool and confident even if you don't feel that way since he reacted badly. Socialize with them daily. Always make sure they are completely calm when you put them down after being held. Try not to do things that could be perceived as a threat- rebuilding trust can be a long process.

    We've now had over 60? (maybe more cockerels/roosters) of different breeds, and luckily, they have all been nice to sweet, with a few shy, but none mean. One tried testing us at the teen stage (by biting). And no matter what happened (flogged with wings, etc.) we always acted calm and unaffected by his bad behavior- never let them know anything upset us, and work to have them in a calm and balanced state of mind when dealing with us. This has worked well, and have never had to resort to anything to keep them away.

    Basically, the biter stopped when he realized it didn't affect us. And having multiple males growing up together with having a well balanced adult male rooster to keep them in line, helped greatly.

    As for your boy, try pretending nothing happened, (but be watchful and act calm.). See how he acts towards you and see what behavior sets him off. If he walks away from you after being calmly held, this is a sign of a balanced cockerel/ rooster. One who circles around and wing dances to you, or offers fake tidbits is one more on the edge, and should be carefully monitored when dealing with him. Be watchful and careful, but, in some cases, working with them can succeed if you are consistent. Best of luck.
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Almost all postings of aggressive roos involve young cockerels. Two reasons why - most roos mellow out after a year or two, and most aggressive cockerels don't make it beyond six or seven months as they become soup or stew.

    Not all cockerels will become aggressive, but if you have one that does, you need to nip it in the bud. Letting it go reinforces this behavior.

    How you discipline a cockerel is important, though. If you chase him around with a net or trap him under a blanket, it's going to reinforce his fear and mistrust of you, which is why he's behaving aggressively to begin with.

    It's simpler and easier than many people think to swoop down with your hand as a cockerel is approaching you. In a fluid motion, pin him to the ground with the one hand while holding his head down in the dirt with the other. Keep the pressure on until he quits struggling and relaxes. This indicates he's submitting, which is the objective. Do NOT chase after him to administer this discipline. It's far better to wait until he is coming at you again.

    Discipline is as simple as that. But you must be consistent. Inconsistency will confuse and make the problem worse. Usually, the cockerel will respond to consistent discipline in just several days, and you will only need occasional reinforcement when he occasionally acts up. Other cockerels will keep at it. That's when you need to take a serious look at your own behavior.

    It's almost always the way a human behaves around a cockerel that makes him untrusting and fearful. You need to ask yourself if you're loud and abrupt or are there children with you who are disruptive. Are your actions threatening in any way? Do you move too quickly when near the hens? Cockerels who trust their humans and aren't fearful of them are not usually aggressive.

    As I mentioned in the beginning, most cockerels don't make it past the first weeks of their terrible teens. But if you can be patient and help your cockerel work through it, he will almost always calm down soon, and by the time he's a year old, you'll have a gentleman roo.
  6. frenchchick1

    frenchchick1 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2014
    Thanks guys

    It does seem strange. I have always been calm and I go and see my chickens about 4 times a day, which includes closing them in at bedtime.

    There is never any fuss or problems, I'm always chittering away to them. Sometimes I just sit and hang out with them talking to them.

    I don't generally pick them up though, only if I need to, because I worry it might cause a commotion. But always walk among them confidently and gently.

    When I go with treats there are the ones that literally don't leave my feet because they have worked out I drop things and they don't have to chase with the others for their treats.

    It has been just recently that one of the hens has been flying out (tonight I removed the garden furniture that was in there in case she was jumping on that to fly out).

    It upsets the others when she does this and maybe because I just reached over the fence with a bit of greenery just to stop her running down that side of the fence (it wasn't anywhere near touching her) that it upset Henry even more.

    The last couple of times she got out she ended up following me back into the run with no fuss.

    I am really hoping that this was a one off for this reason. So I think I will carry on business as usual and try and be calm and confident as before take my thick gloves down in case I need to try putting him to the ground. I think for me that would be the better plan for now and see how it goes.

    I'm really grateful for the support, it really helps. Here's hoping he calms down.
  7. ridemcowgirl

    ridemcowgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 7, 2014
    clarksville tn
    You say you got them in May. If that's the case he's just filled with all his crazy boy hormones, just like any other teenager, and he wants to be in charge. You need to make sure you are calm around him but also don't back down to him either. He's going to constantly test you to see if he can take your position as flock leader, so expect to be correcting his behavior a lot until he reaches about a year or so. After that he should start calming down. Also expect him to start picking on the other ones, especially the other cockerel. Make sure the others have enough room to get away from him if they need to or you might end up with a few fatherless chickens. If he gets too bad you might need to keep him in his own pen, but where he can still see the others, until he matures a little bit more.
  8. frenchchick1

    frenchchick1 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2014
    I couldn't cope with him anymore. My anxiety was going through the roof and of course he could sense thatca mile away! I could barely get into the pen to feed them this morning, he just wanted to pick a fight with me whilst I was just trying to be normal and changing the water.

    I asked my neighbour to come and see what he thought (he has years of experience and he is a retired butcher). He could see straight away how agressive he was from the body language of the cockerel, with me, with him, the other chickens, and he'd said he had heard a lot during the daytime where it sounded like he was attacking the others and stressing them out.

    He commented that the other cockerel's behaviour was completely different, but he knew that his breed is generally calm, so I hope he stays that way.

    So unfortunately he has gone to my neighbour to be coq au vin. He came later and took him away for me. My little flock all seem a lot calmer already and so am I.

    Sorry I couldn't perservere with it, but I got the chucks to be a good therapy for me whilst I'm recovering from an illness, so I definitely couldn't do with the continued stress.

    Here's hoping to a harmonious future in my chicken pen!
  9. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2013

    Sorry it had to come to this for you, but you can't be constantly harassed or stressed by him.
    Some cockerels can be rehabilitated, some just can't. Sometimes it's just genes. Any who mistreat you or their ladies is not a worthy flock leader to have around. You will likely be perfectly happy with the other cockerel, and you may even find you like his character much better. Really wonderful roosters are worth their weight in gold. We only want friendly roosters around here, so anyone not willing to follow the program would have to go away if they didn't straighten up.

    Best to you... sounds like things are happier already.
  10. frenchchick1

    frenchchick1 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2014
    Thank you One Chick Two for the support.

    I just hope the other cockerel is a worthy new leader and the new position in the flock doesn't go to his head!

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