I'm conflicted about my roo, advice welcome

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tess36, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. tess36

    tess36 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a WC Black Polish cockerel I received free with my order of fifteen chicks the end of May. I have always respected his role as head man on campus and have never attempted to 'cuddle' with him like I have some of my hens. I have always given him berth but have also never 'shied' from him either; I go about my business and allow him to do likewise.

    Starting in September I noted that his crest has been being pecked, I have done Blue-Kote, temporary night time separation, etc., but the issue seems to have intermittently continued to the point that even if there is no obvious evidence of pecking, his feathers on his crown are not growing back. I have drug my feet on this issue because I kept hoping that his 'hormones' would kick in and he would get his girls in line and the problem would resolve itself.

    Two days ago while letting everybody out of their run for the day he charged me, some thing he has acted like he was 'about' to do in the past couple weeks, which led to my stalking him deliberately about the yard for a few days until I no longer noted the 'posturing.' This day I was wearing flip flops versus my Muck boots and was distracted, thus I ended up with a bloody foot before he got a glancing blow from said foot against his body which allowed me enough time to get turned around and assert my dominamce, to which he immediately backed down and skulked off. Yesterday I went out to the run with Muck boots in place and ready; had no issues after a mutual 'up and down' appraising look. Today was back to normal, No aggression or 'appraising' noted. I did note the past couple days, he is mating with some of the hens, at least three that I've seen.

    So, all in all, I'm aware he's coming into his hormones, which is normal. My angst is I have a 3.5 year old with impulse control issues and a not quite two year old. They are never out unsupervised, but the chickens are free range during the day. I don't want to cull my cockerel, but if that's what needs to be done, I will. I just hate to send him to freezer camp if he's just going through normal adolescent behavior and just needs some time to mature before he settles into a routine of confident 'man of the yard.' My husband an I have talked and feel confident we can control the setting over winter to ensure that the children are not around him, period. Come spring and summer, however, that will not really work and if his behavior has not calmed down, he will have to go one way or another. I guess my question is: Is it reasonable to expect that he will calm down, or is the fact he's already drawn blood, aggressively confronting an adult too much of a chance to take with two littles? I don't want to prematurely pass judgement against him if this is simply adolescent hormones. These are my first chickens and my first roo, so my knowledge base in very limited!
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  2. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    I would watch him, very carefully. There are some great posts on rooster training that can help you establish dominance from you and submission from him to stop the posturing. The issue is actually going to be training the kids and the roo together.

    It can be done safely, but with the understanding that the first sign if aggression again, and it might be wise to cull. If there weren't kiddos in the picture, I would have a different opinion, but my kids are 10 and 6, and gave a lotvof experience, and I still won't let them alone with the African gander.

    It's got to be the kids first, but it can be done :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  3. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    Chances are good he will do it again. Polish have a high tenedency toward aggression.

    What you need to do is kick the crap out of him. I know it sounds harsh and believe me I don't condone phsyical correction in any other species of animal. Some people will advise "cuddling" or "snuggling" the rooster to get him used to you. I have never once had this work. I have had scaring the crap out of them and teaching them just how much you can hurt them work. There is a reason cocks were originally domesicated for bloodsport. They do not give up.

    I actually had this exact situation with a Polish cock at my workplace. The owner does not condone my methods and so I spent around 2 months avoiding the bird and trying not to be attacked. He attacked other customers and I once witnessed him knock over a two year old and repeatedly jump on her head before I could get there to chase him off. I think the only reason we didn't get sued is because the kid's mother was an ex-animal control officer who has worked with fighting cocks and understands that roosters will be roosters. That was around the time I finally got fed up with Howard's antics. I said "screw it" and the next time he came at me, I punted him about 5 feet then chased him around and carried him around by his legs and slapped him on the butt. He hasn't come at me since, and has slowly stopped attacking the customers.

    The next time the bird comes at you, terrorize it. Make it scared to death of you. Chase it around for a while afterwards to be sure.

    If that doesn't work, the bird is incurable. I love making a nice Coq au Vin style stew by marinating and then cooking the pieces of rooster in wine prior to adding them to the stew. Cook about 4 hours to get him tender.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I use a pressurised water spray gun (the type you use for indoor plants etc). Either that or a kids water pistol may work. I agree with the sentiments of both the above posters -you gotta be cruel to be kind (i.e.. let the silly thing live!). With kids in the picture however, don't leave it too long before you decide whether to keep or cull him - you don't want an injury to be the deciding factor.

    CT
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Stomp your feet at him, make him move out of your space. Never back down from him.

    I've resorted, in the past, to putting naughty cockerels on their backs, right in front of their girls, and "pecking" them in the head with my fingers. Sometimes the girls would come over and give him a peck too. Sometimes they'd back off, sometimes they'd think about it for a few days and go right back to testing me.
    I hate to say it, but I don't bother with rehabilitation anymore. The first time they attack me, I scoop them up, head to the culling stump, introduce them to the hatchet and put them in the freezer. But, I'm always hatching more cockerels and have a never ending supply of them. So, those boys that are good from the get go are allowed to stay. Those that are testy and push their luck don't do it more than once. I refuse to constantly look over my shoulder to keep watch for an attack from an animal that I feed and care for.

    Good luck with him.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I agree with all of the above sentiments. Where ever that bad boy happens to be standing. You let him know that THAT IS YOUR SPOT! When it's treat time, carry a little switch. Let the girls have the treats, chase him out of the area. He can watch treat time from a distance, until YOU decide he can have some. IMO, mean roosters have a very nice flavor. Beware the poster who says you can desensitize a rooster by letting him flog you and not reacting... so he eventually decides you are not a threat, and stops the behavior. Problem with that reaction: while he may give up on you, he'll continue to challenge other humans.
     
  7. tess36

    tess36 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2015
    Central Virginia
    Thank you all for responding. I have been letting him know who the 'Boss' is (mainly from researching threads here), but I guess I hadn't been bothering lately and with his hormones going into overdrive, it was the perfect setup for an 'incident'.

    I guess we'll see how it goes over the next few months, while ensuring the boys are not around him. If he isn't more trustworthy (I use that term loosely) by spring, he will have to go.

    On that note, if he has to go...
    I know that temperament is largely bird dependent vs breed dependent, but there are also generalizations. Are there any breeds that are known for being more laid back compared to others. I really had wanted to get a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte roo before I discovered that my Polish was a roo. Are they more laid back than Polish? Is the true prudent choice to just hold off on a rooster until my boys are a few years older and better able to assert their own dominance when faced with a frisky roo?

    Thank you again to all the responses!
     
  8. MrsEskew

    MrsEskew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I carried my rooster around upside down by his feet a few times when I got him, just a few minutes at a time. I wanted him to know exactly who was in charge because he was pretty much full grown when I got him. He has never come at me and moves way out of my way when I come in. I hate not being able to spoil him like I do the hens, but roosters can be dangerous if they think there is the slightest chance they can beat or show dominance over you.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Now that my roo and I have a good understanding, I will offer him an occasional treat from my gloved hand. He'll pluck it up, and immediately tid bit it to one of the girls. But, generally, my roo treatment plan is "arms width away at all times".
     
  10. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    When I raised BLRWs, the roosters were very docile. But, they were also very large. I can see something going horribly wrong if you were to end up with one that had a stick up his butt, theres the potential for a lot of damage to be inflicted there. But, and I'm generalizing here, mine were very laid back (and were acquired from a breeder, not a hatchery).
     

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