Cranky Cockerel

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Katydid2011, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
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    He's a gorgeous thing, a huge, proud Australorp, shiny as an oil slick. He takes care of the girls, making masculine chucking sounds when he finds a treat, warning them loudly when he detects a threat, even breaking up squabbles between the girls. Considering I never wanted a Rooster to begin with, he's been a lovely surprise, and not the least bit aggressive, until lately.

    Recently, out of the blue (he's 10-months old now), our teenage daughter was taking an egg from the nest-door at the back of the coop and he lunged at her. She side-stepped and walked out of the coop while he stalked her heels. The remainder of the day passed without incident. The next day, when I was letting him out to free-range, he side stepped toward me and lunged, leaving a bloody scratch on my ankle. I happened to have a rake in my hand and I batted him with the back of it. He strutted away and that was that.

    Today, I was simply walking down our barn road where our chickens were free ranging in the low shrubbery on both sides, and Sampson burst out of the bushes and came straight at me. I yelled and put my foot out, but he just kept coming, so I kicked him in the chest. It didn't seem to phase him. I didn't know what to do, so I shrugged out of my sweatshirt, threw it over his head, and lunged for the rake that I'd left leaning against his run. Once I had the rake he stopped coming at me and went back to scratching.

    I've never had a cockerel/rooster before, never wanted one until Sampson, and I'm wondering if there's something I can do to stop him from attempting to dominate my daughter and I. It's his posture that's threatening; if he wasn't so big it might not feel as intimidating.

    Is there anything I can do to manage his behavior? I'm not going to kill him but I will rehome him if that's what I need to do, realizing of course that he may end up in another person's stew pot. Any ideas?
     
  2. driehuis

    driehuis Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2011
    There is nothing more awful than a rooster that attacks. I remember having to carry a rake around with me because of a particularly aggressive Brown Leghorn rooster. He also got Zucchini over the head when he came after me on a trip back from the garden. My husband was not afraid of him at all and the rooster knew it. It never attacked him. If you keep standing your ground and kicking him away and it doesn't phase him........I would relocate that guy. Nobody wants to walk around their property braced for an attack.
     
  3. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A zucchini is perfect! lol Soft enough not to inflict permanent damage but hard enough to set him back. But, still, nobody wants to walk around worrying that they're going to get ambushed by a cranky cockerel. I now have rakes set at three points along our barn road, just in case he tries it again.

    I wish I knew what caused his change in behavior. I mean, it's BRAND NEW. I'm thinking it may be directly related to the fact that we recently moved him into a new garden coop with his two favorite girls. He can see the other girls and coops but he can't get to them. Maybe he's frustrated?
     
  4. driehuis

    driehuis Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2011
    It's probably due to his age. Seems to me they get cockier (pun intended) as they get older. Could be since he is only hanging out with a couple hens that he is feeling more of a duty to be protective. I think it's pretty hard to correct this behavior that comes so natural to them. The best thing to do is to not let him get the best of you and don't do like I do and run. Every aggressive behavior should not end well for him. I had a hard time with this because it is just so stinking creepy when one comes after you. [​IMG]
     
  5. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday evening I booted him in the chest hard enough to send him sprawling and he hasn't charged me since. This morning he was polite and kept his distance when I let him out of the coop. It makes sense that his behavior is partly age related. Hopefully, we can curtail his aggression before it becomes a habit. I like that he protects the girls - that's his job - but I don't like that he's started wanting to protect them from US. [​IMG]
     
  6. SumDumGuy

    SumDumGuy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2011
    Cut his hair so he has less strength... oh forgot it's a chicken... no hair.... [​IMG]

    Sounds like he is acting like a male chicken (or a male anycreature for that matter).
    It also sounds like you have begun his learning of who IS the Big Boss.
     
  7. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just recently went through the same thing. The only one in the family he would not attack was my son and I think that was because he always chased thatrooster down and would catch and hold him for long periods of time. Me I'm too old and slow to catch him. I was never afraid of him either and gave hime the boot several times. I even went hand to hand with him one time pinning him by the neck and then carried him around upside down by the legs, but that was more effort than I wanted to expend every time it happened. My wife and daughter were terrified of him and would not go out with out me or the boy to protect them. He ended up losing his head. I really didn't want to. He was a beautiful bird and very protective, but I have to say there is a lot more peace around the house now. The older hens look like they are growing their feathers back and the little hens are now foraging the whole yard instead of hiding out in the protected areas near their coup.

    I doubt yours will change his behavior. Read enough here and you will know that is usually the case. I'd start prepping for the deed.
     
  8. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:lol If only a trim would solve the problem!
     
  9. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I've read many posts about roosters but the incidents described always sound worse than what we're experiencing. Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part (it very well could be). I never wanted a rooster precisely because of the stories I've heard and because of all the ragged looking hens I've seen. But Sampson is such a gentleman with the girls; they're all glossy and fully feathered, even his favorite (We refer to Delilah as his wife because he's ridiculously faithful to her and she is always at his side). His gentleness with hens is a rarity in my experience and I'd really like to keep him.

    My husband suggested that I come after Sampson instead of waiting for him to come after me, so that's what I did a short while ago. I was walking down the barn road then veered off and ran right at him. For a moment, it looked like he was going to meet me (I was wearing cowboy boots for protection and fully prepared to kick the snot out of him) but he backed down. I pushed him with my boot, just to tell him that *I* am boss, not him, then went into his coop to gather the eggs from his hens and he followed me at a respectful distance. I'm willing to put some time and work into this. Maybe I'll succeed, maybe not. It's worth the effort, to me. He's far too beautiful and good with the ladies to end up on the table just yet. If we fail - and you may be right in predicting that we will - I'll re-home him. I can't imagine that anyone in my family would be willing to eat him.
     
  10. rivers2011

    rivers2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2011
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    Is it possible to castrate him? I know he's older than the age at which the operation is usually performed...and that you want to retain his instinct to protect. But, if he strikes again and you don't want him to end up in someone else's stewpot, it may be a solution to consider.
     

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