Dominant rooster behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jrose, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Jrose

    Jrose Songster

    Jun 6, 2013
    I just got my first rooster a month ago. He's 4 months old, buff orpington, beautiful bird.

    He takes great care of the girls and isn't too noisy. If he's crowing, he'll usually stop when I show up. He hasn't made any noises at me that I identify as aggressive, nor has he "hackled up" around me. He doesn't breed or bully the girls much either. He will not let me pick him up, he's very jumpy and skittish. I enjoy having him around and want to avoid "enabling" aggression in him. He does a lot of things that I think are cute, but as with dogs, sometimes the "cute" behaviors are the gateways to aggressive behaviors.

    A few examples:
    Pushing the girls out of the way to get first pick when I'm feeding them from my hand.
    Pecking at my fingers (when I'm on his level) when I have no food.
    Following me EVERYWHERE.
    He even followed me down the lane this morning when I was putting trash out. Totally up and left the girls to run and catch up with me.

    Obviously I'm inclined to think "Aw, he likes me. He wants to eat from my hand and follow me around."

    So I guess, is his "clinginess" a bad sign, and what behaviors should I watch out for that signify aggression? Is he just keeping an eye on me to make sure I'm not stepping out of line, does he see me as one of his hens or a senior rooster? What's going on in his little bird brain?
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I agree, many bad rooster behaviors can be kind of cute! Pushing the girls out of the way is a sign of dominance. When you feed them from your hand, push him away and feed the hens first. This shows that they are "your" hens, not his. Pecking fingers is a pretty common trait for curious chickens; even my hens sometimes do it. However, it could mean that he's trying to assert his dominace. Push him a way or "peck" him with your finger when he does it. I don't think that following you is agressive behavior. He's probably just being curious. Still, it wouldn't hurt to assert your dominance when he follows you by turning around and speed walking towards him. He'll probably walk away wondering what happened.

    Signs of rooster agression include pushing hens away from food, guarding the hens (if you pick a hen up, some roosters will come charging towards you because they think that your are harming their hens), and attacking (roosters like sneaking up behind people and jumping at their legs). If your rooster begins to exhibit any of these behaviors more, start asserting your dominace. If he attacks, pin him to the ground until he stops struggling. Also, try pushing him away or tapping his head with your finger. Carry him around some of the time to show that you can do anything you want with him. Feed the hens first.

    Hope this helps! Good luck with your rooster!
  3. Jrose

    Jrose Songster

    Jun 6, 2013
    Thanks for the reply. I read a few posts on rooster behavior on here after I posted this. I made a mistake of running while he was following me and being very vocal and excited about it (I was bored and having fun "making the chickens run around with me"). After that, everytime I turned my back he would dash up behind me. He wouldn't do anything, but it seemed weird. So after reading some info on the site here, I made a few changes.
    Anytime he should run up behind me when I turn my back I twirl around and fast-walk chase him around a bit, grabbing at his tail feathers if he doesn't keep running. He stopped bluff charging me really quickly! I also started "pecking" him back when he pecks my fingers and that stopped immediately. I've been eating on the ground around the chickens and "pecking" at him anytime he gets too close to my plate. I've been making a point to feed the girls from hand first, and he's settled into the back seat, waiting his turn. I'm actually kind of surprised how well and how quickly "thinking like a rooster" around him has worked! I mean, it's no surprise that it worked, but I guess I wasn't expecting to see a change in his behavior so quickly. I'm determined to keep him friendly!

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