do all roosters have spurs

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Marci, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Marci

    Marci New Egg

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    On May 16 as we were checking our 4 girls and 1 rooster, we noticed baby chicks so we took them into the house and have raised them since. We had 3 more chicks about a month later. The older ones are 3 months old now. Just this morning I noticed the biggest one picking on the ohter three, didn't matter who, it just was. I am saying "it" now because I think this one particular chicken is a rooster. It sounds like it is trying to crow. My question is, if two of the other 3 are roosters, do I have to seperate all of them? [​IMG] This will be a dilemma for us as we do not have the ability now to make another coop or the means to buy one. Thanks all!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Not all roosters have spurs and not all hens don't. Some roosters I've had failed to grow spurs and some hens I've had grew long and strong spurs.

    If roosters are raised in a normal family environment, with hens and chicks and other males, or even just watch young chicks grow into adult males, they can be very tolerant. Whether or not you need to separate them depends on the nature of your roosters, not the fact that they're male.

    A chicken bullying others is a non-gender-specific trait. I cull bullies so my flock can be happier and safer and thus healthier and save me a lot of trouble, and them a lot of injury and stress. Bullies tend to breed bully offspring. The key is to know the difference between sorting out the hierarchy and just plain attacking birds that aren't offering any challenge.

    The absolute minimum hen to rooster ratio is one rooster per every one hen. If they can freerange, each rooster will likely go his own way with his own girlfriend and avoid the other roosters. This can be impossible with hens who stick to the flock rather than their mate, and roosters who are very aggressive toward other males even when the hierarchy has already been sorted. Also it's harder if they're always caged. Again, this is easiest to solve by rehoming or culling bullies. You won't know if yours are intolerant until you try to keep more than one rooster, and then once you know for sure, how you handle it is up to you.

    But if you're not inclined to rehome or cull any bully, you might need cages. They're simple to make out of any sort of scraps... I use mesh, wire, zipties, bed frames, trampoline frames, fences and gates, etc. Separating bullies rather than culling them means you will likely have to permanently keep them separate, though. They can't learn to be tolerant if they refuse to or never have a chance to learn.

    Best wishes. If you make 10 posts you can post a photo of your supposed rooster and people can confirm it for you. It could still just be a hen.
     
  3. vickers685

    vickers685 Out Of The Brooder

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    Help with spurs!!! I have a young rooster 6 months old. I ordered him because of the beauty of the breed, but I'm starting to wonder!! Three times in the last week when I go in the chicken run he has flogged me with his spurs!! His life is getting short if he keeps this up, three times six spur holes in my arms and hands!! Help what can I do? Anything to stop him?
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    At this point, I don't think you can stop him. He's very young to begin flogging, and I don't think you'll be able to modify his behavior at this point. I believe that your best bet is to cull him.

    There are some techniques to put a cockerel in his place, but those all work best when you catch the aggressive tendencies before the actual flogging has begun. A cockerel will test you first, before he attacks you, to see if he will win a fight. He'll stand his ground when you walk towards him, he'll come up behind you with his hackles raised and his head lowered, etc. When he does this, if you react by squawking at the top of your lungs and flapping your arms and chasing him around the pasture, you may be able to stop the aggression before it starts--he was testing you, he learned that you're the bigger rooster, he'll leave you alone. However, your bird sounds like he's not only decided he's the boss, he's proved it on multiple occasions by flogging you and winning the fight. You can try to reform him... but I personally would try again with another rooster. You certainly don't want to breed from this one, since aggression is partially genetic and you'll just breed more aggressive birds.
     
  5. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: I agree with WalkingOnSunshine... He's very young to start actually flogging; since he's puncturing your skin we can safely say he is trying to kill you. Being a rooster, he is actually capable of that.

    My roosters always sort out their pecking order amongst themselves without a single spur wound. This has held true for hundreds of roosters of many breeds and backgrounds and many mutt/mongrels too, many of these roosters never having seen the other roosters until meeting as adults, with full and unblunted spurs. If they can sort it out without a single serious kick, why is yours trying to kill you?

    Bad breeding. You will find, I don't doubt, that his father or grandfather were exactly the same. I would bet, given his level of aggression being expressed in its fullest state at such a young age, he is descended from a long line of roosters who were just the same. It mostly breeds true in my experience, as does peaceful mentalities.

    I am not as patient as WalkingOnSunshine as I have the safety of small children to consider. If a rooster ever tests me or anyone in my family, I cull him, because that mentality ought not to be there at all. My roosters will view humans in a friendly and peaceful light or not at all.

    In my experience there is nothing you can do to stop him. Modifying behavior doesn't seem to stick permanently with these sorts. It's a strong mental aberration. Removing his spurs, caging him, whatever you do to him, won't change his mentality. His father is probably caged and still breeding on his human- hating genes, and see how that worked with your rooster... Managing violent roosters and continuing to breed them just produces young males who behave like their father would if he wasn't caged. Sorry. It's best for everyone's sakes if you cull him, but if you want to try to retrain him, best wishes with that. I have never heard of anyone succeeding in the long run.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm pretty strict with roosters--test me once, I'll chase your fluffy butt around and grab you and hold you down and tell you what's what, test me twice, you've seen your last sunrise.

    But I firmly believe in giving a young rooster a pass the first time--I have had at least three (that I can think of) that tried to test me as youngsters (ONCE!) and never, ever put a foot wrong again. It's not always aggression the first time, it's a young bird figuring out boundaries. It's just them tying to figure out their flock dynamics. This is NOT flogging, however--this is a small test, like standing his ground to me, or raising his hackles at me. Flogging is WAY past the testing stage.

    I also have young kids--and a friend that has a scar next to his eye from a rooster flogging him as a 5 year old. We don't put up with aggressive boys.
     
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Fair enough, each to their own. If they're caged as a rule it's different to having them free ranging as a rule. I don't know what your situation is, but respect your choice to give them two chances.

    I don't think they should even test us the first time, so I'm pretty quick to cull. The majority of my roosters have never once considered testing a human, so I consider it a mental aberration; either they're viewing us as chickens or themselves as humans, either way, they're not in their right mind.

    I've seen roosters get stuck into people, and toddlers can't defend themselves at all. There's a chance I've culled boys who showed a few off signs but were possibly not going to turn into full-blown aggressive roosters, but not breeding them means I don't have to keep a closer eye than usual on their offspring, whereas if I did breed them I'd chance it surfacing in later generations, possibly on a small child when no adult is present. I'd hate to be responsible for that. I agree, flogging is about as serious as you want to allow it to get.

    Personally I would not trust that breeder's philosophy, and wouldn't buy from them again. This is not a slur to their character nor the quality of their genetics nor animal husbandry, really, just a judgment of the safety of the mentalities they are producing and breeding on with. Some folks just have a knack for breeding dangerous stock.
     
  8. vickers685

    vickers685 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for y'all's comments. I was feeling the same. My grandchildren are scared to go in the chicken run or the coop because of him. I'm also on medicine that thins out my blood so it takes me awhile to stop the bleeding plus it takes longer to heal. I purchased these golden lakenvelders from ideal poultry. He went from being shy to flogging overnight.

    Thanks again!!!
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    If your grandchildren are afraid to go in the coop, and you are on blood-thinning meds, I would strongly suggest that you get rid of the rooster. How you do it is your choice, but I would make it go away.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Sounds like he's been invited to dinner [​IMG] Good for you. Your grand kids should be able to enjoy your birds, and you also!
     

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