help me think like a rooster...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Long Last Farm, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Long Last Farm

    Long Last Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so I have this 6 month old rooster who is the oldest rooster ( I have two 9 week old roosters whom the older one has ignored so far) in a flock of 25 chickens total. He seem almost fully mature, he mates with most of the other 6 month old chickens, he crows, he is the leader when they are free ranging, etc etc. In the last 2 days, he has begun to get aggressive toward me. I've read the numerous other threads about how to deal with an aggressive roo, and I want to try the technique of picking him up and carrying him around when he is aggressive so that he understands I am not another rooster.

    The problem is that he is usually aggressive when the chickens and I are in the middle of a large open field --about one acre ( you have to walk through this open space to get to the coop, barn, etc--essentially the space is an open barnyard). He will approach me in an aggressive manner, try to spur me, but when i try to pick him up, he will retreat about 10 feet away. If i follow him to try to pick him up, he will continue to retreat.... If I continue this , it will end up with me chasing him over the field until i can corner him against the coop fence, or side of the barn. This might take 6 or 8 trys to catch him. Then I can pick him up...

    MY question--Help me think like a rooster: Since I can't pick him up right away ( when it comes right down to it, it seems he is unsure about really attacking me since he backs down and retreats so quickly), would a rooster perceive ME as being aggressive since I would have to chase him across a field to pick him up? I don't want to "up the ante" and get into a battle of wills with a rooster! I know he is just doing what comes naturally to him--I don't have any hard feelings toward him, of course! The next time he is aggressive, should I push the issue and not stop pursuing him until I can pick him up? Like I said, he does retreat after the first attack--is it important in "Rooster culture" that he be totally "defeated" by being picked up and carried around? I also don't want to teach him to be more sneaky when he is launching his first attack, either... Let me say, I am not afraid of him--I am a fully grown adult, and wear long pants and gloves during all of this, so I am not afraid of picking him up if that would help.

    After the most recent attack, I did not chase him until I caught him,I just advanced upon him 2 or3 times and he continued to moved out of my way as I fed the other birds, etc etc.
    So, I'd appreciate any advice or comments.... thanks!
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Well, thinking like a rooster? Good luck with that, LOL. Seriously, he is exactly at the right age, hormonally, for aggression to start showing. You can try all the methods till you are spending 24/7 carrying a rooster around on your hip then he'll still most likely get sneakier about it and bide his time will the chance presents itself to attack. I have great roosters, neither of which needed that treatment. The ones I did need to "renovate" didn't take to their lessons well and they are no longer here. It may work if it's just some youngster testing boundaries, before the hormones kick in, but usually, if the rooster is mating age, the "treatment" isn't successful forever. Some will insist otherwise, but I have yet to have it work for us here.

    My theory is that a rooster who attacks the hand that feeds him isn't very intelligent, even for a chicken. I'd rather have intelligent flock leaders since aggression is heritable, to a degree.
     
  3. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless you're a teenage male with raging hormones it's going to be tough. Also you will have to hate all authority--parents, teachers and any adult that tries to contain you in any way. Now you'd have the necessary mindset.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  4. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have had the exact same issue here since we free range the birds, and unfortunately it escalated exactly as you fear...I had to chase the rooster to try to catch him in an open space, chasing him made him see me as even more of an opponent, his attacks became worse, he got sneaky etc. etc.

    There are no children at or near our place to be endangered, and we weren't planning on hatching any eggs that would pass on his aggressive genes, so we actually gave this process several months to try to work out. But when his attacking leaps got to chest height on me, I was done. This was the only chicken on this farm so far that was culled via long distance methods (i.e. shotgun).

    You may have a different experience, every chicken is different. I mostly wrote this to say: Don't feel bad about culling, don't pass him on to some other unfortunate person unless they know what they're getting, remember there are nice roosters out there that need a home, and don't cut him too much slack because you think it's "just his nature". Inability to distinguish between a protector and an enemy is not a useful part of a domesticated animal's "nature".
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Thinking like a rooster will get you into all sorts of trouble.[​IMG] Think like a human being who is not going to take any crap from a testosterone laden creature far smaller than you. Don't worry about the reason why. He just needs to learn to respect you.
     
  6. dee88

    dee88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read something on here a while back that was similar to your story, an aggressive rooster, and what to do? The one post that stuck out in my mind was that when the rooster gets aggressive, give him a good whop with a rake handle or something like that, and he will know who's boss. I think you want the rooster to know that you're the alpha. Then he will stop acting that way. It would be worth a try. Just take a "weapon" with you when you go in that open barn space you talk about, and let him have it. (of course, don't hurt him too badly, but make him remember who's boss) Let us know.
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I don't chase my rooster. I advance on him and he backs down. No running, no chasing. I might spend a minute AT MOST walking at him if he's fluffed a wing or pecked at my shoes. He only does that when I've startled him, changed directions suddenly and he was right at my heels, or something similar. A couple times he's gone after my swinging purse... And he HATES my red Crocs.

    I think those are fight/flight response and he just chooses FIGHT.

    He's never flown at me, flogged me with a wings, jumped at me, or anything like that at all. It's just the every now and then, maybe reacting, maybe testing, peck at the back of my ankle/Crocs, or a flap of a wing once against my calf. I turn and advance on him, he gives up.

    97% of the time he's mellow, but alert, and occasionally he will try to woo me with a special offering and the "Come Hither, Sweet Thang!" call he uses for the hens. Luckily, it would take more than an oddly-shaped pebble, a pretty leaf or a twig to make ME squat for a rooster!
     
  8. Long Last Farm

    Long Last Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the responses. Today, I did take a big stick out with me, but did not need it. Like I said, he is not aggressive all the time, but I never backed down from him before, and won't in the future. I'm just more aware of where he is and will not allow him to attack me.
     

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