Has anyone ever actually succeeded in retraining an aggressive rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by appps, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    I've been reading the chicken whisperer guys blog and we are going to give it a try but wondering how often people succeed in turning an aggressive rooster into one you aren't wary of any more?

    Ours is only 5 months so I hope young enough to be a good candidate for rehabilitation. He has lunged and pecked a few times and today crossed the line and jumped up at my daughter and put a scratch down her leg.

    My son yelled no at him when it happened and then dad heard the commotion and grabbed him and carted him round under his arm for 10-15 mins. He was very subdued when he got put down again.

    I'm willing to give this a try because he hasn't spurs yet and is a bantam so not a big rooster. He is also my sons much loved pet.

    So are there actually any success stories out there for regular non chicken whisperer folk using non kicking it methods?
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I have read about success stories, so I think it is worth a try especially since he is a bantam. The tough part is, the little rooster may learn to respect those who correct him, but he still may be unpredictable around your daughter if he doesn't view her either dominant or a non threat. By the way, wearing red can trigger some roosters to be aggressive.

    It wouldn't be too difficult to set up a pen for your bantam chickens if he doesn't learn to behave.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I sure didn't believe it could ever happen, but I have a 12-pound, two-year-old Brahma roo who used to be a vicious biter, and is now completely gentle, tame and trustworthy around everyone, even strangers,

    I was also trying to work with another rooster, of the exact same age, who was so frightened and timid that he'd have a panicked meltdown whenever he was touched. He was a Cochin.

    Both boys were raised together as brooder mates, but upon acquiring their hormones, they decided they must try to kill each other.

    The common issue was trust. Neither roo trusted me or anyone or anything. Trying to kick them around and force them to behave as I wanted seemed counter-productive from the get-go. I worked closely with Ky, the Olychicken guy, and after about a year, both boys were completely tame and gentled.

    Instead of harsh treatment, which just made the problems worse, I tried to make sure I moved slowly and deliberately, no sudden moves with either boy, and I made a point to handle them both a lot. Over time, they both came to trust that humans meant no harm, and though the Cochin was killed last spring by dogs, the Brahma is such a gentle creature, both with humans and his hens, I haven't seen any aggressive moves from him in ages. Even strangers can go up to him and give him a hug and he seems to eat it up.
     
  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Well that gives me some hope :) Ive been reading Ky's blog and I like his logic :)

    Do you think we should be letting my daughter hold him at times as well then? As in hubby can catch him and hand him to her.

    Biggest problem at the moment is I can't catch the little blighter because I've got a broken foot. He just viciously attacked and mounted our silkie (know he will mount but no need to be downright brutal and drag her round by the wing because she was scared of him) I could yell "Hey" and go over so he knew I was talking to him but no way I could catch him for his attitude adjustment hold lol
    Mind you maybe it still sent the message as all the others deserted him to follow me back to where I was sitting and the normally ignore you silkie is hanging round my feet :)
    While he hangs out at a safe distance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Training an aggressive roo involves more adjusting your behavior than the roos behavior. I don't think you're going to be able to affect his behavior with the hens. What may happen, over time, is he'll become gentler with humans as well as the hens after he comes to learn he can trust the humans in his life.

    By all means, have your daughter handle him. She needs to learn not to be afraid of him, to slowly walk right up to this little tyrant and bend down and swoop him up into a football hold, firmly, with his head facing backward and slightly down. He'll be subdued then, and if she carries him around every day for around fifteen minutes at a time, he should come to know what to expect from her, and start respecting her.

    As for your bum foot, you don't have to chase him down to pick him up. Let him come to you. As soon as he comes within reach, as he ponders flogging your leg, swoop down and pick him up. Usually a roo that is focused on an attack will be easy as pie to pick up. People are usually afraid to touch an attacking roo is the problem. Ignore his fierceness. It's all for show, anyway.
     
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    That sounds like he's training you instead of you training him? [​IMG]
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Seriously, sound animal training practices start from the premise of what is natural for the animal to wan to do, and training seeks to discover ways to capitalize on this.

    By trying to understand why an aggressive rooster behaves the way he does, enables you to alter your own behavior in order to quiet his fears and allow him to develop trust in you and other humans. It's not hard at all to just move slowly, behaving in a calm, assured manner. If a rooster knows you aren't afraid of him, half the battle has already been won.

    Really, roosters aren't that complicated.
     
  8. OlyChickenGuy

    OlyChickenGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Howdy guys, I'm so happy to see that you've all read my blog and had positive results. Azygous is exactly right about the football hold, and how training is about harnessing an animals natural behaviors and melding them to your desires.

    That being said, no age is a bad age to start training. There is no such thing as too old or too young. You can start training chickens the moment they hatch, they are that smart. Any handling is good handling so long as it's calm.

    My two biggest success stories so far is a fighting cock used as bait, and a three year old Australorp who put his previous owners in the hospital. Both are gentle and cuddly now, and even the fighter is able to live with other cocks without any need for human intervention after only two months.

    I'm using a phone right now, and it's extremely difficult to type with it, but I wanted to give you all congratulations and words of encouragement for continuing your fantastic work in making the world a safer and kinder place for roosters.

    Way to go, you folks have warmed my heart.
     
  9. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Okay so can clarify something?

    1. Am I supposed to be picking him up once a day? Multiple times? Or just when he is aggressive?

    2. Do I do the football hold only when he's been bad or everytime I hold him?

    He chased my daughter round the pen this morning but unlucky for him I got my boot off yesterday and can move quicker so I caught him and he got 15 minutes time out under my arm. The trigger was we have a neurotic silkie (my next project) and she went mental when I tried to give her a hold. I was in the pen and she scooted out between my legs and the roo who'd been roaming the yard came back to investigate in time to see her run past freaked and my daughter. Think he thought she had caused the freaking. Needless to say we had many tears and why does he always pick on me :)

    He's been quite good last couple days but with the heatwave we hadn't picked him up.

    He seems to be catching on very quick I'm in charge though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  10. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh and Ky, sorry I replied yesterday but my post isn't there now? Second time I've noticed that today on a thread.

    Thanks so much for your blog. It's been such a great read and enormous help!!
     

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