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How to tame an unruly roo?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dette, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Dette

    Dette In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2012
    We have had 7 hens for about a year, when we decided we wanted to try hatching some of our eggs. Our neighbor had a roo that he was looking to get rid of, and gave to us. The rooster integrated with our hens beautifully, and we were starting to make friends with him. (We hand feed all our ladies and the follow us around the yard like pets) He was verysuppose calm and sweet.Then a friend had to get rid of his chickens and offered them to us, so we had an additional 5 black star hens to integrate. My hens didn't take to the new interlopers very well and I had to separate the three worst of them that were pecking and chasing the new hens up onto the roost all day. During the whole introduction period, Elvis (my roo) was playing referee a lot of the time. At one point, my four year old daughter was in the coop trying to pet one of the new hens, and he flew up at her. He hit her in the arm but didn't hurt her, more just scared her. A few days later, my son was gathering the eggs, and again the rooster attacked him, this time giving two scratches on either side of one leg. Now it seems like everytime we enter the coop he is either posturing like he is going to attack or actually does attack. Having my kids in and around the coop has been a great experience for us all, and I hate to have to curtail them. Also, still looking to hatch some eggs, so I don't really want to get rid of Elvis, but I don't want to have my daughters feelings towards the chickens be one of fear. Does anyone have any ideas about if this change in his personality is permanent? And if not, how to I go about getting him back to the sweetheart he was before his hens started fighting all the time...is it possible that he will chill on his own once the hens calm down?

    Thanks for any input!

  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    Since small children are involved, he needs to be culled.
  3. mixitup

    mixitup Chirping

    Apr 10, 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree he needs to be culled. With the introduction of the new hens, and the fighting going on, he is trying to keep peace and getting frustrated and stressed and is taking it out on people. But, IMO, once they start on people, they have to go. Sorry, maybe someone with more experience can tell you something.
  4. Dette

    Dette In the Brooder

    Mar 12, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback....I guess I'm going to have to let him go....it makes me sad, though bc he was such a sweetie when he first came to us. If I'd known how badly he was going to respond, I never would have taken the new hens...
  5. NeTNChknLover

    NeTNChknLover In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2012
    Kingsport, TN
    I hate that you have had such a hard time with him, but I definitely agree that he needs to be culled. The good news is, you can try again with another!
  6. greenpot

    greenpot Hatching

    Apr 18, 2012
    I don't have small children but are fairly new to this Chicken thing I I got 4hens and a rooster..I was just wonderig "IF" this ever happens to me can they go back to being NICE..... Just wondering??...so far he's fine.
  7. Zigmont

    Zigmont Songster

    Oct 29, 2011
    There are some good links about working with roosters. I raised mine from a baby and he too started to attack when I introduced new hens. I was ready to give him to the neighbor to cull, but decided to give him one more chance. When he went after me, I pounced on him, held him down, and then carried him around. When he would try to mount my little, new girl, she would run behind me and he would attack. After a few times of him trying to attack and me pinning him and carrying him, he stopped. I pick him up every night when they go in to roost. He has not attacked me in several weeks.

    The bad part for you is the risk of children being hurt. My kids are grown and whenever little ones are over, I pen him up. He is doing what is natural and you can try to work with him, but obviously you can't keep him if he attacks the children. Good luck.

  8. dreamcatcherarabians

    dreamcatcherarabians Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    I had a roo that got out of line and attacked me several times. I read all the advice on how to work with him, tried the pin him down and carry him around thing and all he did was get worse. He would see me from clear across the barnyard and come running for me. I'd stand my ground to give him time to back off and no dice, he'd fly at me. It finally came down to my husband having to watch my back as I cleaned horse stalls in the barn, he started seeking out opportunities to attack me, then the barn help.

    Not sure which was more humane, that I'd have culled him or that the dogs did it for me. He attacked me in the dog yard one day and that was his last mistake. I had 2 Polish roos and they were never a problem. All the same age, hand raised at the same time and I had 50 hens, so it wasn't for lack of breeding opportunities. I now have no roos and it's a happier place. With small kids, I'd have sent him to Freezer Camp the first time he went after someone.
  9. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    While you can try to tame him, there are several factors to consider before doing so.

    1. Taming him involves training yourself, your family, and everyone who will be interacting with him on how to behave around and handle a rooster.
    2. Many roosters do not do well with children because children are rooster-sized, loud, fast, and erratic with their movements. All of these behaviors are easily construed as threatening towards the flock to a roo. Roosters can cause serious injuries to children.
    3. The taming/training period will take time and patience and may involve limiting you childrens' interaction with the flock at least until you and your DH can make your peace with the roo, first. It could take weeks, or it could take months.
    4. Some roos just will not settle, ever. So no matter how much you put into this, there is the slim possibility that it won't do a bit of good.

    It's a tough call. I wouldn't want to risk my children, but then again it would depend on how old they were and what they were like when around the flock, too....whether I thought lessons in dealing with chickens and a roo would sink in and how far I could trust them.

    Our roo was pretty fiesty when we got him, and the reason we got him was because he didn't do well with kids and needed a new home. Since we've had him and have been working with him, he's significantly improved. He hasn't come at either of us in over a month, hasn't even fluffed up or acted like he wanted to. We regularly mingle in and among the flock in the run and when free ranging, often offering feed and treats out of hand and randomly picking any one of them up that we choose (rooster included) for a brief hold and scratch on the head/neck. We never pet a hen on the back, only the head or chest, so he doesn't get the idea we're trying to do his job, but he gives us no problems when handling his girls in front of him. So it is possible.
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