How to tame a young rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by michaelasuder, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. michaelasuder

    michaelasuder New Egg

    Dec 20, 2013
    So I recently received a young RIR rooster. (I didn't want him, but that's another story!) He's not really aggressive, but he hasn't been around people. I have four little hens that are extremely tame pets. I would like to tame my rooster enough so I could chance letting him roam free with the hens sometimes and catch him easily. The question is: How do I go about this? He always freaks out when I come down to the coop and won't let me catch him easily. Once I do catch him though he'll submit if I hold him sideways or like a baby on his back. But only for a minute or so. Then he flips out. If I can't somewhat tame him or if he gets mean he HAS to go. I won't tolerate it. Any ideas?
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    A rooster's job is to defend his flock, that's his sole purpose. He looks out for threats and warns the hens. Since hens need to eat more to produce eggs, their heads are mostly down foraging. The rooster will be watching over them because he doesn't need to eat as much. (no eggs from him)

    Making a pet of a rooster can end badly for both you and him. He may get to a point where he thinks you are beneath him, then the challenge begins. Also, if you pick up a hen and she squawks, this may trigger his need to defend his flock. How it all goes really depends on the rooster.

    I'm assuming you need to pick him up to get him back into his coop? Chickens are very food motivated, you can train him to come back to the coop for treats. (scratch works well) Then you can have your best chances of him not challenging you and get what you want accomplished.

    If you have small children, I would not recommend having a rooster out where they play. Small children make erratic movements and noises that can trigger the roosters need to defend his flock. And a flogging to a child can be life altering if they are hit in the face. Not to mention it will scare them.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Taming a roo you haven't raised from a chick is going to be a challenge. And the breed of your roo isn't in your favor, either. I think the most you can hope for is to develop trust, so he'll respect you. I think you should give up on the idea he'll ever be as tame as your hens.

    To start the process, you need to monitor your behavior and be consistently calm and slow. No sudden movements, and any small children must not be allowed near him. His nature is to protect the hens and dominate them. Any confusing activity will make him nervous and anxious, therefore combative.

    In order to get him to come to you when you need to put him in the pen will require establishing trust beforehand. Food is the way to do this. Take something that you can hang onto while he nibbles from it, like a crust of bread. Squat down and hold it out. This will take several days to accomplish. Over this time, gradually pull the food in closer to you so he's within touching range. As he eats, slowly touch him as he eats. This will get him to trust your hands. If he's so skittish that he won't take a treat from you, then use his crumbles, beginning early in the day before he has a chance to eat and is hungry.

    If you don't want to go to all this bother of training him, you can be assured he'll come back to the pen when the hens go back in.

    How old is this roo? How was he treated where he came from? Do you have kids? How old are they? These are all factors that will be important to consider when training this rooster.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm with happy chooks. I never need to pick up a rooster, if I needed to doctor him or catch him for butcher I just wait until he's asleep and pluck him off the roost. Probably couldn't catch any of my roosters on a bet, and trying would cause huge panic in the flock!

    If the hens are used to going back in the run/coop, he will stay with them. Chickens herd fairly easily if you stay calm and slow and just make it easy for them to go the way you want. Plus, food is a great motivator.

    Let him be a rooster, he'll be much happier and more adjusted that way. Roosters aren't wired to be pets. Doesn't mean he's mean, just means he's very respectful of you. That's much better imo than an overly friendly rooster.
    dbblaine likes this.
  5. michaelasuder

    michaelasuder New Egg

    Dec 20, 2013
    Thanks everybody. I'm trying to just talk to him nicely and offer him food when I go near him. I don't really want him as a cuddly sit-on-your-lap bird, the hens work for that. ;) I just need him to be comfortable around me. I think it's going well. He'll come up and eat next to me if I out something in the pen, (or drop an egg oops!). He's young, so I'm hoping to just get him to the point where I can let him out without worrying too much. If he does attack though, he's gone.

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