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Done with Barred Rock Roosters

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 10AcreChick, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's amazing to me how a person (meaning me) has to learn a lesson twice to really learn a lesson. Back in February, my flock of hens welcomed a 14 week old Barred Rock rooster that I had picked up a couple hours away. I wanted a Barred Rock because I had plans to change to Buff Orpingtons for meat production, wanted some variation, but did not want to bring the weight of offspring down.

    And they sure did welcome him! The hens LOVED this rooster, and he protected them vigilantly. By the time he was 20 weeks, however, he was getting a little confused about what he was protecting these hens FROM. He chased my small children, attacked me when my back was turned and even went after my husband (who usually had nothing to do with the care of the flock). This wasn't just boundary testing or protecting his flock, he chased me all the way around the house, and the hens were not even in sight anymore! Three weeks later, he was in the crockpot. He was delicious!

    Meanwhile, I had gotten another Barred Rock rooster chick from the hatchery. I was going to need two, since I had almost 40 hens, pullets and chicks by then. After the early demise of the first BR, my husband said about the chick, "I don't know, hon...what if he's like the last one?" But my philosophy was, why worry about it until it happens? I had to handle this chick for three weeks, due to pasty butt, and he did not appear to be scared of me like the other chicks (I don't keep chickens as pets, only livestock). I wasn't sure if this would turn out to be a bad thing or a good thing.

    I researched why BR were mean (in my very limited experience). I read that handling could make them nice, or mean (well, that helps). I got lots of pointers off BYC about what to do if my rooster turned mean. I was ready. And, sure enough, it happened. At about 15 weeks, the rooster chased the kids. So I read some more. I told them, "Go after him, let him know you are above him in the pecking order, and he won't do it again". I couldn't just keep killing roosters because my kids couldn't handle teaching them a lesson! It took weeks, but they finally learned to carry sticks with them to the coop and around the yard. If he made them nervous, they shooed him with the sticks. He settled down a little. Then he chased me. I kicked him, ran after him, and yelled at him. And kept food away from him, allowing the rest of my flock to eat while keeping him away, then finally allowing him to come eat with us. He left me alone after that.

    A week ago, my 8 yr old comes in the house. "Mom, you need to check on the rooster!" Why, I said. "Because I beat him with a stick, and he's lying on the ground! I think he's dead!" A look out the window told me he was back on his feet, but pretty much still in shock. He had jumped up on my 8 yr old and scratched his cheek. My son did exactly what I had told him to do, and hit him over the head with the stick several times, then ran away. He hates it when the animals are hurt, so it was not what he wanted to do, but he knew he had to. Okay, I thought. The rooster has surely learned his lesson with that son, hopefully he will realize both kids aren't to be messed with.

    Nope. A few days later, my 8 yr old went into the front yard, and the rooster immediately chased him. This will be his last week as a "free bird". He will be in the crockpot by the end of the weekend. I will never buy another Barred Rock rooster.

    These are just ramblings. I know every chicken is different, even within the same breed. But I am looking at a 100% failure rate on using BR roosters. I can't ignore that. Lesson learned. Thanks for listening.
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Really sorry to hear about your bad experiences with your roos. This is definitely the down side to dealing with them. What you're doing is good. Bad rooster = dinner. No room for nasty roos in a flock, especially with kids running around. It's fantastic that you have the idea in your head that every bird is different. There's a lot of people out there that unfortunately get a bad roo and never get one again based on past experiences. It's a shame because roos can make great additions to the flock if they are well-behaved. Currently, I have an eight month old BR roo as second in command behind my Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte. No problems with the BR yet, but the Wyandotte does a good job keeping him in check. If you want a decent sized roo, I'd recommend an Australorp, Orpington, Wyandotte, or Jersey Giant. I have yet to have major temperament issues with any of these breeds as well. Good luck, and I hope you have better times with roosters in the future!
     
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I have replied to many, many posts on aggressive Roosters...The bottom line is, no Rooster is safe...What they think of as a threat one day is not the same the next day...I had a Polish Rooster that was only handled as a Chick till I got him a 6 weeks old...Bugger attacked me daily....
    Too many people say to handle a Rooster....Do you think Farmer John 80 years ago carried his Rooster around? 100% NOT....
    If a person confronts a Rooster they go into fight mode...Protect the hens is all he thinks..Roosters will never back down....
    Sorry your Son got attacked but glad he had the training to fight the Rooster off...


    Cheers!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I have had both good and bad roosters. I don't make pets of my chickens, and don't handle any of them if I can help it. Sometimes confronting a rooster causes him to back down, sometimes it doesn't. Just like any other method of dealing with them. They are living animals and there are no absolutes. Of course, some breeds have tendencies toward certain personalities, but again it's a tendency.
     
  5. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks to all for the replies! Luckily, my 2nd in command rooster is a buff Orpington. He is HUGE, but has never even ran at us. And the one I am getting from my sister is also a BO and also nice. We shall see how that goes!
     
  6. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As a side note, I had an RIR rooster who was a sweet boy. Unfortunately, he died of bumblefoot.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Keep in mind tho, it often has as much(or more) to do with the humans behaviors as it does the cockbirds behavior or breed.
    Would be hard to teach most kids how to comport themselves around male livestock without using violence.
     
  8. 10AcreChick

    10AcreChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I was aware that if the kids used violence to fight the rooster off, it might backfire on us. I told them to not chase him or antagonize him, only defend themselves if he is the one being aggressive and chasing them. They are only 5 and 8, and I knew they were not going to be able to catch him and dunk him in water or something. But they are way more important to me than the rooster, so the stick method had to be used, and I had to take the chance that violence might not work but only make him worse... it was a gamble I lost. The place on my 8 yr olds cheek where he got scratched was right about where the 5 yr olds eye would have been.

    It sucks that such a protective and good rooster to the hens has to go to the crockpot, but we don't have many problems with predators, so even if the BO turns out to be a wuss I think they will survive.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    True with kids that young....tho dunking in water is not going to help anyone of any age manage a cockbird.
    If you need a cockbird for sustaining the flock, might be good to leave him confined...if not, might be better to not have one at all for now.
     
  10. rachelsflock

    rachelsflock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got a coronation sussex cockerel from breeder stock I like at the moment-he's so soft at six months none of the hens take him seriously enough to let him mate and he's got no nerve to tell them otherwise, and he's not afraid of us, but VERY respectful-and none of my bcm cocks have attacked me (also breeder stock lines). Both of those breed lines came from people who raised chickens and had kids that helped and not a hatchery situation. As far as I know, both breeders would be happy to eat out of line cockerels especially if they went after their kids. I think hatcheries unintentionally breed aggressive birds. They put several cocks and hens in a pen, the most aggressive and pushiest cock mates the most, they hatch his chicks, then select stock from that, and the cycle starts over again. My cockerels have never been aggressive or even pushy with my little kids. If you want to add new blood, I suggest maybe looking for a breeder who has no tolerance for aggressive behavior and likes to eat birds with bad attitudes and has been breeding them for a while.

    Cockerels are delicious for a reason. I know it's terrible but it's true.
     

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