Help needed with my flogging roo !

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ladychicken&Ducklover, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. ladychicken&Ducklover

    ladychicken&Ducklover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Polish Roo , ( my Avatar), was raised, by me, along with " his girls", from an egg ..

    He is 1 year old now, but OMG, he is soooo aggressive toward me !!

    He flogs me with his sharp spurs, every time I go into his coop to let them out. I have scars below my knees from spurs, he can kick hard to say the least.

    Im no long a quick mover, so Im not able to get away from him on time. I can tell when he is about to attack tho, and I try to move out of his way , sometimes..

    Now, this is strange. He does NOT flog my 15 yr old son, who is my "business partner" , and also raised him with me.

    .My son is an AVID animal lover and Advocate for animal rights , as am I.

    Phil ( the roo), also does not attack or flog my DH, who is not involved with the chickens as much, but does go into their coop and run on occasion.

    We have pinned him since the first time he attacked me ,and he does " relax" once we let him go. Then 5 mins later, he gets me again.

    We have also carried him around the run holding him like a football, hoping that would tell him who is the " Alpha Roo", but that hasnt worked either.

    Here's what Really bothers me ..

    Whenever I post this , either here or on other forums relating to " Behavior", I ask for people to " please refrain from giving me " suggestions" , that are and Always WILL be, not an option , however, I still get those suggestions..

    So, I WILL NOT ever cull or make him " reservations with a crock pot" or send him to " freezer camp" , just for being a Roo..!!

    He DID NOT chose to be born a roo, but he does his job in protecting his girls from hawks, finding them little bugs , rounding them up at 5:30 and chasing them into their coop.

    I suspect that due to his limited vision because of his head feathers hanging down into his eyes, could be causing him to be so Nervous. Because if I bend low enough to make eye contact with me, he seems to calm down a little, and start scratching around and actually being a chicken.

    But as soon as I stand back up, all he see are my legs again, then the attacks start again.

    I love him very much, he is a pet, so if Im unable to stop him from flogging me, then I just adapt and adjust to different ways of taking care of him , the girls and their coop.

    I dont just take an animal of mine and Kill it just for being what it is and what nature programmed it to be..Thats taking the easy way out, IMHO .

    I know some people just can easily kill their roo and not blink an eye, saying " He was attacking my Toddlers , young kids, elderly relatives " etc..

    Well, if that was my case, I simply would just DONT LET these people in the run ! Dont put them and the roo in the position where an attack is imminent !

    So, I know I went on to my "soap box", but what I am looking for here, are Other suggestions or thoughts about my situation

    I have posted this on the " Managing Your Flock", forum also, hoping to get suggestions there too..

    I cant have too many ideas about this
     
  2. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perhaps you could enlist someone to observe you and then your son around the rooster. What is different? There could be little things you are doing that you are unaware of that are setting off your rooster. And, there are probably little habits your son has that you could adopt.

    One suggestion I'd have is to stop being aggressive toward your rooster. By retaliating to his aggression you are entering into an ongoing battle that will never end. While we train mammals (e.g. dogs or horses) to see us as being in charge, poultry are a whole other class with different rules for behavior. Roosters are programmed to protect their flock from any perceived danger. For whatever bizarre reason if your rooster is perceiving you as a threat (not saying this is real, just saying this is what your rooster is perceiving) then striking at him or putting him into a position of weakness (picking him up) will only reinforce that perception.

    I've read posts from successful people who simply do not react whatsoever when their rooster attacks. I did this very successfully with my rooster when he hit adolescence and first began challenging me. Luckily for me this was mid-winter so I could let him peck my boots and gloves and it truly didn't hurt me. After about a week of these challenges in which I never retreated but also never retaliated, he lost interest and has never done it again.

    I became as uninteresting to him as the walls of his coop. I was just there and not something he needed to engage with in order to dominate nor to protect his flock from.

    I do still make an effort to be very respectful of his space and never move too rapidly or even make too much eye contact (since this is perceived as aggressive in animal body language). I move slowly and predictably around him--though also being careful not to seem to retreat if he advances.

    I agree with you that animals behave with natural instincts and it is our job to work within the parameters of those instincts rather than trying to change the animal or punish the animal. However, I would also say that it isn't okay that your rooster is attacking people. For one thing, if you are raising chicks from him do you want a future flock with those same tendencies?

    Try to figure out what is different between how you and your son operate when around the rooster. If you can't figure it out and he still attacks then consider whether you want offspring from this rooster--you might still keep him but just not hatch eggs fertilized by him.

    Good luck. I think if you keep searching for info on BYC you will find other comments from people with similar thoughts as I've described here and you'll get more ideas. There are tons of posts about mean roosters every day.
     
  3. AnotherSusan

    AnotherSusan Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, I am a total newbie, but since you suspect his vision might be part of the problem, have you tried either trimming the feathers around his eyes or maybe even putting a rubberband or two on them? Be careful of the color and watch to make sure the ladies don't peck him trying to peck the rubberband. Also, what color shoes or boots do you wear? Could he be reacting to them and not to you? I saw another person post that her roo did not like the pants she wore to the coop. She changed what she wore and he was fine again.
    Good luck with him! I hope you can figure out the trigger.

    AnotherSusan
     
  4. wsonphan80

    wsonphan80 Out Of The Brooder

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    You can always remove the outer sheath of the spur leaving a much smaller one or dremmel it down so it's not as sharp. I read you can place a hot baked potato on the spur for a few minutes then just twist the outer sheath off. Never tried that method though. Or how about positive reinforcement? Maybe bring treats such as mealworms everytime you go out to the coop?
     
  5. Aumlet

    Aumlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm newish to chickens, but pretty informed about mammalian behaviors. That, and one of my hens was rooster-mean. She'd attack me in the coop until we found an understanding.

    A few things come to mind - if you're making excuses for the rooster's behavior, it indicates a willingness to take it. I'm not saying you should kill him. I'm saying that your own attitude about what you will or won't take comes into play here. If he senses your hesitation and second-guessing about his attacks, he'll be empowered to keep attacking.

    I never intended to send my mean hen to freezer camp, but I approached the situation with the idea that "This WILL stop, or else." No excuses. And if, in time, she continued to be aggressive, I'd have gotten rid of her one way or another. Animals can tell when you don't have the confidence of your convictions.

    The fact that the rooster attacks you and not your son makes it pretty clear that the roo sees you as someone he can vanquish. Refuse to be that person, and mean it. As long as he is flogging you, he isn't your "pet." He's a jerk you happen to take care of. I applaud your commitment to animal welfare. It's awesome! But don't expect the animals to respect you on the basis that you care. They won't.

    I agree with the previous poster about not going out of your way to harass him, but not letting him rule you. I think its ok to react with authority to an attacking chicken, but I think its also fine to act like nothing is happening at all and let the bullying behavior extinguish.
     
  6. farmin4fun

    farmin4fun Out Of The Brooder

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    it seems as though your rooster views you as either a threat or as someone he can beat up and get away with it. Possibly even both. The idea is to get your rooster to view you differently. One trick that might work, which another poster may have mentioned, is that if you were to take "treats" with you, every time and on a daily basis for a couple weeks, so he may begin to view you as a source of food rather than how he is viewing you now. I would use meal worms, sun fun flower seeds or even bread will do in a pinch, but you want something that they really like that would distract him from attacking you. I would even develop a "treat call", if you don't already have one, and use it when handing out treats. I believe this would help get the chickens thinking about food rather than attacking you.

    Important note is that you should hand out the treats alone or at least where the rooster cannot see your son or husband because he may then continue to associate them as the treat giver. We want him to view you as the treat giver.

    If he still comes after you, something that I have seen work before is to grab him when he attacks you and continue to ruffle his feathers until he gives up and runs. This can be difficult and possibly painful for you so I would wear gloves and something to protect your hands and arms and be careful to guard your face.

    You may have to do this a couple times until he learns that you won't allow this behavior and he accepts you as a dominant figure. It's also important once again that you do this alone with your husband and son out of the roosters sight. You want to make sure the rooster understands that you are the dominant one.. Not your husband or son.

    I hope this helps. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you find something that works for you so you can enjoy your flock without the potential for pain.
     
  7. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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  8. BirdyMe

    BirdyMe Chillin' With My Peeps

    x2!

    Match his attack. Do the same thing as he did, and do it as fast as humanly possible. Keep the corners of your eyes and ears peeled, and when he gets ready to attack, be ready for him. Don't one up him, just show him that you're perfectly capable of doing the same thing to him. It's not mean....it's speaking to him in his own language. It's exactly what a bigger rooster would do to him.

    Good luck! :)
     
  9. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    It sounds like you need to analyze YOUR behavior. What is it that YOU do different when you're around the chickens and Phil that you son and DH never do? Somewhere, there's a difference, and Phil knows it and is taking advantage.

    Also, you pointed out numerous things that Phil has done while attacking you and then said that "we" performed some deterrent behavior (e.g. pinning him down, carrying him, etc.). "We" cannot factor into this. It has to be YOU. If he flogs you and your DH pins him, it does nothing to change Phil's views regarding you. If he flogs you, YOU have to be the one to pick him up or otherwise pin him. No one can do that for you because Phil knows the difference between you and everyone else. Chickens are smart and they absolutely can and do recognize individual people, so if anyone takes action on your behalf, it's only reinforcing to Phil that you're beneath him and need others to protect you.

    So start by paying very close attention to your own behavior and movements, even the tone of your voice, when compared to your son and DH. You should probably start by sitting nearby and watching your son interact with them. Just observe his behavior towards the flock and try to pick out patterns. Once you have a plan for changing your own ways, start interacting with the flock with your son around; it'd help if you carried some of their favorites treats with you and offered them as your first move (always). If, at any time, Phil has a go at you, YOU be the one to put him in his place.

    Be patient and be persistent, and be sure to wear sturdy shoes, jeans, and even gloves to protect yourself until you can get your peace treaty arranged with Phil. Remember, Phil's only doing his job. He thinks you're either a threat or a rival when he flogs you, so prove to him that you're not even a chicken (you're a friendly feed dispenser!).
     
  10. ButchGood

    ButchGood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If harvesting your chickens for meat is out of the question, The only thing that Ive found to work is YOU must put the fear of God into him. When he makes a run at you you'll have to give him a boot, not so hard that you do damage, but hard enough that he knows you mean business. You can't stop there, You must pursue him, give him a couple more good shots. Then get him pinned on the ground with your foot or hands and really GROWL at him. All you do is become the alpha rooster and humiliate him in front of his girls. This has worked for me with some roosters I loved and just couldn't part with. Sometimes it takes more than one session, sometimes it will never work. But Ive had it work 2 out of the 3 times I tried it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012

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