Is he just protecting chicks, or should I cook him?


15 Years
Dec 9, 2008
Desert Hills, AZ
We have a rooster. He has never been a friendly bird, even as a little day old. Always avoids humans. He is 9 months old. Up to now he has been respectful. He keeps his distance and defers to us when we are outside.

Since we had a hen "go broody", he has changed a bit. He has gradually gotten to where he will come after me when I am with the other hens and when we are in the pen with the broody hen (who now has chicks) he will come over to challenge us. I now carry a rake or other tool to fend him off when I go out.

Interestingly enough, he has NOT come after any of my kids. That would cause him to lose his life on the spot. It is just me.

I notice, though, that when he hears the chicks peeping loudly, like when one of us holds one, he comes over looking very concerned.

So, what gives? Why the change in behavior? Is it the broody? The chicks? Or does he need to be invited to dinner?

I'd say dinner. From my experience once they start to challenge you it only gets worse, no matter what the reason is.
I say give the roo a chance, if he has not attacked the kids most likely he is just worried about his hens and chicks!
I say wait and give it some time. Try to back off a little and let the roo be happy with his hens and chicks. Feed him, give him treats let him know that he has to RESPECT you but that he has nothing to worry about when it comes to his hens and chicks!
He is maturing and growing more bold and willing to challange any other "chicken" he sees as a threat to his flock wether it be a threat to their lives or a threat to his mating status in the flock.

IMHO, it's chicken-n-dumplings time!!!! It's not worth him damaging an eye of one of your kids or you for that matter.

I simply never have tolerated a rooster that attacks humans.
So, have you had roosters that are sweet and gentle?? It would seem that they all would be somewhat unpredictable and would instinctively want to protect both their hens and their mating status. We have at least one new roo (3 days old) and I am planning to keep that one.

What should I do to keep him sweet? I have read the article on keeping your rooster sane. I understand how to assert myself. I just want to have a better relationship with the next rooster. I would like to be able to pet and hold him. We can't get anywhere near this rooster.

Thanks, all, for your advice, I really appreciate it.
Yep, I have one now. He is approximately 3 years old and has never challanged me. I have always had at least one rooster on the place and they only stay as long as they behave theirself. The current rooster is a Amaurcana cross. I had one rooster that lived to the ripe old age of 10, never raised a claw to me or anyone else that came onto my property.

I think more than anything it is genetics and how strong the protective and dominat gene is.

I will tell you that any rooster I keep I do handle them a lot from a day old until they are about a year old. I simple pick them up hold them and put them down when I want to put them down. If they struggle to get away and just keep holding them. My grandmother always told me if you chase a chicken don't stop chasing it until you catch it or it will always run from you. This method has usually worked for me as far as having a rooster that understands his place on the farm. It has not always worked and here is the most recent example.

Last October I planned on keeping one of my current roosters son's as a replacement. I had 4 roosters in the batch of eggs I hatched and I kept the one rooster based soley on his looks.
Well, me and my SO went away for the weekend last October and my SO's mom came over and critter sat. When we walked into the house I saw mom sitting at the dining room table with this huge scratch on her face that was just about 1/2 inch below her eye ball. I asked her what happened and she said that darn (not really the words she used) flogged me this morning when I went into feed them. This rooster was barely 7 months old. He went into the freezer the next weekend.
Dinner time!! I have a turken roo that will stand and beg me to hold him. He will hop like a baby chick at my feet until I reach down and either pick him up or pet him. He follows me around like a puppy. Well they all do. I raised him in the house with 5 other chicks. Holding each and hand feeding them everyday. Talking to them. Treating them like I would a puppy or kitten.
Well, it seems to me that a rooster who just sat there and didn't have any reaction to someone handling his babies might be just a tad bit too laid back to be of any use.

Mine spend their time looking out for the girls, finding treats and keeping an eye out for danger, just like a roo is supposed to. They respect us for the most part, and when they don't, we tote them around under our arm for a while discussing noodle recipes.

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