How should I fight a rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Eggs4Sale, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    Scroll to end for the question if you don't want to read the sordid story:


    We did a re-shuffling of roosters the other day. We penned up the loose ones and let three run free: a Golden Campine, Blue Andalusian, and Splash Blue Andalusian. I told DH I didn't think Splash should be free because he had tried to attack DS and myself THROUGH the pen fence. He said he thought Splash would calm down after being in the back with some ladies.

    The next day, I went to the back and was feeding the animals. Splash was with the ladies and ignored me. Once I got further in, he started trying to circle around me from a distance. I knew he was preparing to flog me from behind. I had only an egg in my hand and nothing within reaching distance. He was between me and the gate.
    I bent over to pick up an orange off the ground and that's when he ran over to flog me, but I threw the orange at him and he was momentarily thrown off balance. He quickly resumed his 'exploded-neck' look and was looking like a boxer, moving aggressively and looking simply crazed. I got scared.
    I tried to scare him by yelling in as deep a tone as I could achieve while holding my arms up to look bigger. I tried stomping the ground with my feet. That seemed to be the wrong choice. He was relentless. Every time he looked like he was coming at me, I kicked at him but my stupid shoe would slide off. Yes, I was wearing clogs. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Can't kick, can't run. The kicking would only make him stop his lunge and ready for the next. He was just NOT STOPPING.
    I got very scared then and started screaming for my husband. Nothing.
    Screaming, panicking, nothing.
    I managed to get him to back up and when he bumped into a tree stump, he seemed to really lose his bravado. I don't think he knew what it was, because he didn't stop looking at me. But he lost enough steam for me to make my escape.

    I burst into the house and said "You kill that rooster right now or I will!!!" then i broke down and wailed like a baby. DH went out and shot the rooster, knowing full well that he would not hit the house and water pipes as I probably would.

    So, HERE ARE THE BIG QUESTIONS:

    1 How could I have stopped the confrontation with nothing in the way of protection or weapons? (I's 5'4", 120 lbs., and NOT a karate champ)

    2. The other roosters have not shown a sign of being aggressive. Will this change?

    3. The other Blue Andalusian, I'm scared of him, to be honest. He's done nothing, but I'm still scared. How can I go about having a peaceful relationship with him?

    4. Is there a way to 'test' a rooster to see if they'll consider flogging me or the kids that day?

    5. What signs should I look for in terms of an emerging mean rooster?
     
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    The same rule seems to apply to most animals. You move towards them - they back away.
    Running away makes them come towards you. With the roo that I keep, if he starts even thinking about bowing up all I had to do was crowd in on his personal space until he relented and backed away. Once or twice he's jumped up at me and I basically just body block him with my leg, not kick him. Seems like he's calmed down considerably more the longer time passes since I got rid of old meanie.


    So to answer your question, #1 I physically crowd in on him until I force him to back up. It helps his attitude a lot.

    I did have a meaner roo who bit me more than flogged me, but really the best thing I can say is to wear jeans/tough long pants and don't freak out. If your roo has spurs you might want to trim them (I've seen videos on youtube for it).

    #2 Mine were angels until about the time they started crowing. One mean, one OK. The good one has only gotten better since I got rid of the bad one, because they used to run together. I had to leg band one to figure out which one was doing the biting. I have no idea if they will change after they have matured, because I haven't gotten that far yet.

    #3 Don't be afraid. You gotta be the biggest and baddest "animal" on your farm, or at least make the critters think that you are. At least that's the way I look at it.
    I approach most of life that way.

    #4 Not sure on this one. I know for fact that my roo will come at me if I make one of his girls squalk for any reason, but I expect it because he's just doing his job. He doesn't know at first WHAT made his lady cry out. He backs down when he figures out that it's me, and that's acceptable by my book.

    #5 with my mean one he would try to attack me through the fence, puff up his feathers every time he saw me, etc.
    I believe the very firstest thing he ever did was when they were free ranging he would run up to me and peck my toes, and it only escalated from there. Again, wearing jeans I was never hurt by him - only when he later bit me on the arm and hand while I was working on a fence he did leave marks. Spiteful little booger he was.
     
  3. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aw man, that sounds like a horrible experience. I'm so sorry you went through that. [​IMG]

    I was chased and flogged by a rooster as a child. What I figured out then was to grab him by the legs and hold him upside down while I collected eggs. After a while I noticed I didn't even need to grab him because he quit attacking me. I was about 8 years old.

    We got into chickens again about 7 years ago. This time I was very observant with them, I swear I spent hours and hours every day just sitting with them and watching them. When I decided to get a rooster and try breeding my own chicks I started out with a 5 month old cockerel. And I have to admit I was intimidated by him to begin with, but the more I watched him the more I understood.

    Roosters are very simple creatures, they have distinct rules governing their behavior. If you are aggressive toward them and attack or threaten them they will see you as a threat to the flock. You make yourself the enemy. Even if you do scare them enough to back down, you have to keep on them constantly and you can never have any amount of trust that they won't attack. Not the situation I was looking for.

    Now I know some say that you need to be the 'top rooster' but honestly they know we're not chickens we know we're not chickens, I'm not going to go around acting like a rooster. [​IMG]

    So what I did was be...well not a friend exactly but something like that, I don't think their is a parellel in chicken society. I am the boss, but I never have to use force or violence, I never chase, hit or kick.

    The best method I've found is holding a rooster in a nice 'hug' I guess is the word, changes his attitude, he may struggle at first but if you hold long enough and calmly enough he will submit. Taking him out of his environment helps the process when you're first starting out. If you do it at night he will be even more calm.

    Take him into the house or somewhere, wrap him in a towel if you need to and hug him. When he settles down start stroking his comb and wattles, mess with his feet, just pretend he's the cutest sleeping puppy (or baby, whatever works for you). Eventually he'll cock his head to the side as look up at you and around at stuff, you'll notice he gets a funny look in his eye like he's studying everything. Talk to him and let him imprint on your voice.

    If you bond with him like that it's going to make things a lot easier on both of you. Try to see him for what he is, a five pound feather duster, with a little brain. He's not your enemy and you're not his enemy.

    Anyway, that's what worked for me (I currently have 8 roosters:). Maybe it won't work for you, if you can't conquor your fear you may just have to get rid of your current roosters and go on a search for a 100% mellow one. They are out there I have one, out of the eight [​IMG].
     
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    As for Questions 1, 3, and 4 and if you want to keep the roo, I suggest Gritsar's rooster reform page! I used it for a roo that was an absolute jerk to me! He'd bite me til I bled! He is now very nice to me. Unfortunately, I don't think we will keep him because he is a bit rough on the ladies, but that is a whole different issue.

    As for Question #5, Gritsar's page is helpful in defining it and if it is an issue, refer to the page for the solution. [​IMG]

    Now, question #2.... yes and no. Some will become mean once they hit puberty, some will not. Of the 20-something roos that we started with in the spring, we have 4...potentially 3 with the reformed roo with the overactive hormones [​IMG] . Some were evil from just 12 weeks of age, others became mean around 4-5 months. However, we had about 8 or 9 that were stayed nice. We didn't keep them all since we don't need that many roos. It depends on breed and the individual temperament. Some breeds such as Rhode Island Reds are known for being more aggressive than the fairly docile Jersey Giants. However, there are always exceptions. I noticed that if I went to reach towards the roos (for example, at night when they are on the roosts), if they tried to peck me, they'd get mean. That is just my experience and probably not true for everyone. If that did happen, the roos ended up going through Rooster Reform (or were invited to dinner).

    Which leads to my last comment.....mean roos taste yummy! [​IMG]
     
  5. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    Thank you, Tala and Ella.

    Words of wisdom!

    I don't know if I could bring myself to hold Blue. At this point, I think I'd rather eat a cockroach.

    When I go outside in his 'area', he runs over and checks me out. I'm hoping he's looking for treats. One of us eventually wanders off since I have none. I guess I'll have to start giving him some! Maybe he'll be my best buddy, then?
     
  6. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    Quote:Thanks for the link to Gritsar's page! I'll go read that right now, with great anticipation...
     
  7. BorderKelpie

    BorderKelpie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2009
    outside Dallas
    I was given a roo that I was told was aggressive, and he is - to everyone but me now. When I first got him, he was a monster. I did the rooster reform school (excellent page) but I also did what I do for my rescue parrots. I would just hang out with him and offer him treats. The day he took corn from my hand, I knew we were getting somewhere. He now allows me in the coop, I can pick up 'our' girls and hug them, I can get eggs without being attacked and he acts as if he likes/trusts me now. That turned out to be a good thing when my cannable hen pulled out his tail and back feathers and I had to catch him every day to medicate him.
    I do have to warn others that I am the only person he allows in the coop. He runs off my DD. We are working on that, but she's afraid of him.
    (I like him, though, he whupped a cat for getting in the coop.)
    [​IMG]
    oh, he has pretty kids, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  8. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    A cannibal hen. I like it.

    Maybe the cannibal hen is the cure!
     
  9. My Little Sister's Farm

    My Little Sister's Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    377
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    139
    May 13, 2008
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Test them? Was this really the first time he challenged you?

    I suggest you keep feed near by. Drop feed when he(whomever the rooster in question may be at the time) charges you or how ever he attacks. If he learns you're the feeder he may appreciate you more.

    OR

    You can win. Don't back down and he will, you have 112lbs on him. Enough said.

    ***

    Bottom line for me: I don't mess with aggressive roosters, towards me or my hens. Some day it would be my kid out there getting beat up and I don't want that. Especially if it's due in part to genetics I could have weeded out generations ago. I don't use a 3 strikes rule, it's 1 strike and you're out of here!

    My real solution requires you slipping in at dusk and then watching the sun rise together. As long as he's in the crock put by 8 he'll be ready to go at dinner time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  10. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    My Little Sister's Farm :

    My real solution requires you slipping in at dusk and then watching the sun rise together. As long as he's in the crock put by 8 he'll be ready to go at dinner time.

    [​IMG]
     

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