How to prevent an aggressive cockerel

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Johnn, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Johnn

    Johnn Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi,

    Some of you may remember my old thread about my aggressive cockerel Asparagus? (you can see here https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/786119/aggressive-cockerel) After reading it yous will see how stressful it all was for me. It was such a big decision to get a new boy, but I decided to get one and I really regret it because I'm scared of what he might do. He is a Jersey Giant and was bullied in his old home. This is what I have posted on another group:

    So new boy is ok so far. He started mating some of the hens in front of me so I walked over and he got off and walked away. I'm desperate for him not to turn aggressive and he is about the same age asparagus was when he turned. Was it right of me to stop him mating or will that make him worse? He also moved out of my way when I walked directly towards him. I was giving the girls some hand fed corn and he came over. Not sure if it was to eat out from the hand, to attack me or he just wanted some. Either way I didn't risk it because when asparagus did that he flapped at me and I was kneeling down so was close to my face.

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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Don't try to stop him from mating!!
    That's the best way to make him attack you, you're acting like a dominate rooster and he'll challenge you.

    Just be cool...My rooster will take corn out of my hand then drop it for the girls, then I just spread the rest on the ground.
    Just let him be and he'll probably be fine.
     
  3. Johnn

    Johnn Overrun With Chickens

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    But I used to let Asparagus mate right infront of my nose and everyone said that was a bad thing to do. I have just started pretending I didn't see when he does it now
     
  4. Johnn

    Johnn Overrun With Chickens

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    And people also say that he is supposed to see me as the boss or he will treat me like the lower cockerel
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you're doing just fine, Johnn. As long as he moves away from you when you move towards him, you'll probably be fine. I would say that there are probably more calm roosters out there than aggressive ones. I wouldn't do anything special with him other than not petting, not picking him up, etc. Mostly just leave him alone. The reason for the not petting, etc. is not to do anything that a subordinate would do towards the alpha roo. So no grooming.

    I've heard it both ways about letting a rooster breed in front of you. I usually do not allow it. I've never had a rooster attack me because I didn't allow breeding in front of me. In my experience, roosters either are basically human-aggressive or basically not human aggressive and I think you would have to do a lot to make a rooster aggressive. I mean real abusive stuff, same as you'd have to do to make a dog aggressive. Stopping a rooster from mating isn't abusive and is well within a chicken's understanding.

    Be the biggest kid on the playground, and move with confidence. Keep an eye on him but basically ignore him. It's a good thing if he comes up when you have treats, as that means he does not fear you. It's a good thing when he moves away from you, as that means he respects you. I only worry when a rooster comes up to me when I DON'T have treats. I want him to ignore me the same way I'm ignoring him.

    I think you're off to a good start.
     
  6. Johnn

    Johnn Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks :)
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Not allowing a rooster to mate just seems way counterintuitive to 'leaving them alone'.
    Why interfere with one of their jobs? Wouldn't only a challenging or dominant rooster would try to stop another rooster from mating?


    But I guess there are a lot of ways at looking at the whole rooster issue...and I'm lucky, and inexperienced in rooster problems, in that I've never had a problem with mine.

    Sorry Johnn, hope your new roo works out for you....he's a nice lookin' boy.
     
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  8. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm on my first rooster and he's only 7 months old, but what I've been doing is making every hen I can catch squat for me -- because that's that what the dominant rooster would do. While these are my first chickens I have a lot of experience with other animals and have always had good luck with establishing myself as dominant member of the pack/flock.

    There was only one time that he started to fluff up his hackles at me. I flapped my hand in front of his face and startled him so that he lowered his head and backed away.

    So far Marion keeps his distance and acts respectfully to me. We'll see if that keeps up when we get the larger area fenced so that they can come out of the run into the back yard.
     
  9. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is an ongoing problem that is risky with any male pet. I see this problem with turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, and even goats. You cannot hand feed a male animal and expect it not to become aggressive as it becomes sexually mature and older. I do not allow anybody to hand feed any of my male birds, and I will not allow people to pet our turkeys or mail chickens because they will turn and become aggressive towards people. I've been raising birds for over 30 years. In that timeframe I've had about five roosters that I was able to keep tame with food and not have them attack. If you want pet chickens to hand feed, stick with hens.
     
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  10. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's somewhat confusing to read so many differing posts about how to handle cockerels so that they won't become aggressive.

    Some people say they have great success by "taming" their cockerels by hand-feeding and holding and petting, others say that you should treat them as if they don't exist... just walk through them like they aren't there, don't allow any signs of dominance from them, etc...

    I am very new to chicken keeping, just 6 months in and we have 13 pullets and 1 cockerel raised from day old chicks (lost 2 cockerels to a bobcat) :(


    The thing that seems to be working for us (at least so far), is to just let them be what they are, chickens. The pullets AND the cockerel love treats. At this point, he gives at least half of what he gets from me to the pullets. He was a little aggressive when he first started to figure out how to be what he should be ( a rooster). He actually scalped one of the pullets because he was trying to mate her and she was desperate to get away (she healed and is actually his favorite). They were only about 18 weeks old at that point and the pullets just weren't ready for it, so I do not blame him, hormones can be crazy. He tried flogging me with a quick wing to the back of the legs twice, but quickly learned that it wasn't going to be tolerated.

    He has mellowed into the most awesome guy ever. He's only 24 weeks old right now, but he takes no for an answer if one of the pullets doesn't want his attention, he watches over them, finds food for them when they free range, makes sure that they all stick together and is very tolerant of me standing watch over all of this when they are out running around (bobcat has never been caught). He actually drank water out of my hand today when we were all up on the side of a steep hill free ranging and he got thirsty (yes, I take my chickens for a hike!) Lol!

    I guess the point of this long, rambling post is that I think that there can be more than one answer to how to treat a roo. I do believe patience and a watchful eye is necessary. If I had taken the advice of some on this forum, my very sweet, awesome cockerel would have been in the stew pot weeks ago. I do believe that there are some roos that won't change and shouldn't be allowed to be dangerous to the flock or to people, but I also think that it doesn't hurt to give it a little time and attention to see if the situation is due to a bad to the bone roo or if he just needs to grow up a little bit. just my two cents.

    I will add that I have tons of time to spend with my flock, many hours every day. I know that this is not the norm and most people have to work around their work and other responsibilities.
     
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