Is the disposition of chickens an inheritable trait?

Solsken Farm

12 Years
I have Mr. Mean, a rooster who is quite beautiful. But, despite my putting him in his place, he continues to attack me and the kids. I have done all the things one is supposed to do, to dominate him. Funny, because he hatched first and came running to our hands for months, and we all held him continually last summer. It has been a long tough winter, and he wasn't socialized much.

I am wondering if his offspring will be as grumpy as he is. I don't want to create attack chickens.
Thoughts, anyone?


Bantam Addict
11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
Hooker, OK
AS with most things...partly genetic partly environment...which is more
That is a debate that will never be won or ended.

Personally, I wouldn't keep an animal around that posed a danger or whose attitude I didn't like...well not really it kinda makes me giggle when my little banty roos get all tough! But really...the genetic part of the equation says to not allow those genes to be passed on

Solsken Farm

12 Years
Well it's hard to think it is environmental, as he was held for the first 5 months of his little life. This is a new behavior. I certainly won't keep him, if he keeps this up, but the genetic thing makes me wonder.

Edited to be more specific
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11 Years
Oct 21, 2008
Garland, Texas
Since I had such good results using Pinless Peepers on my pullets, I cannot understand why more in this group don't use them. They simply keep the chicken from seeing directly in front of them. They still lead a normal life in every other way, but they stop being aggresive. I got the peepers from but, I've found the Perfect Peeper Pliers for $9.97 at Lowes in the irrigation section of the plumbing department. Item # 126028 was made for sprinkler heads, but they are just the thing for removing or....gulp!.....replacing peepers.


And the fun I had didn't hurt either. Check out my site for the movies.


14 Years
Dec 12, 2007
ID/WA border
Nature or Nurture . . .

I've found that "brashness" and greed, curiosity, friendliness, and probably a half-dozen other traits are all somewhat separate parts in chick personalities. But, those little cockerels and pullets tend to continue, beginning days out of the egg, to show the same personality traits.

They can be tamed or made mean but the same tiny chicks that would come up to sleep under my hand are the same hens that are still looking up at me with trusting curiosity months and years later. The shy ones are still shy. This leads me to believe that genetics has a lot to do with personality. That experience - and the fact that a chicken doesn't seem to have a whole lot of reasoning ability

Hormones do strange things and, I'm sure, override learned and innate behavior. If Mr. Mean is given a few more months to mature, he may mellow but I, also, wouldn't tolerate anything that is dangerous in my environment . . . live-and-let-live tolerance should only go so far.

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11 Years
Apr 21, 2008
North Central Florida
Nature or Nurture...the question goes on... if you take twins from the ghetto, one becomes a healer, yet the other can be a killer. Is that genetic or environmental.
Roosters are hardwired to protect their girls, they are the alpha and he will reassure you and everyone else that he is. Fight to his death. (look at fighting cocks)
So, when I train a roo from chick to adult + , I remind him that those are MY hens and I WILL feed them when I WANT. I do not allow him to breed any of MY girls while I'm standing there. That would be taken as a dominance issue- not when I am there.
Also, if a roo gets within a short arms reach, be it eating or attacking, I grab him how ever I can, swoop him up and hold him. Do not be fearful because he is now in so much shock that you had the guts to do that, carry him around for a while. This will teach him to keep his distance.
Good luck with your roo issue, but as long as those are HIS hens, you will be attacked.


11 Years
Dec 29, 2008
Orange County, New York
My d'Uccle roo is the meanest thing! Pretty, but attacks me and my family. My Sultan was a love. Last year I hatched two of my Polish hen's eggs. One was the d'Uccle's baby, the other was the Sultan's.

Both were the sweetest things! Rasied them well, with love and treats and hugs and plenty of handling. The Sultan's chick (hen) is now around a year old, and still loves me. The d'Uccle's chick (roo) is worse than his father. He chased my 7 year old brother around the yard a few days ago, so now our neighbor is going to enjoy the nice meal he's getting. I've tried Rooster-Red's methods and more, but none work on this guy. I do love him, but he's more trouble than he's made himself worth.

So, yes, I do think that aggressive behavior can be an acquired triat. I raise all chooks that come into my care with the same love and attention for all.


11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
desert of calif
i believe it is BOTH.. nature AND nurture....
my sister and i were raised in the same household had the same oppertunities, the same "parenting" same schooling.
i have a buisness, no kids, never did drugs, support myself, and never got much help...
my sister has 3 kids by different guys, did drugs in her younger years, has no job, gets government help and my mom helps her in everyway she can, ect....
why did we turn out so different??? nature?? nurture???

roosters (all raised the same way by me)..... 90% of all the EE/ameracaunas i have owned have been aggressive...
100% of all the cochin roosters i have had been sweet (non-agressive)
most of my "brown egg layer"type roosters about 50/50..
personally i think if they are HAND raised they tend to be more agressive toward people because they are taught from chicks not to be afraid of people, so when they grow up and have hens they are not afraid of humans and will attack (to protect "their" hens)
like training horses.. a human raised horse will treat you like another horse, some will even bite and kick at humans to establish herd "order"
where a wild horse will treat you like a predator.. and give you space and they already KNOW you are the "top dog"

Solsken Farm

12 Years
Interestng responses.....Our d'uccle is an angel. Just the sweetest roo on the planet. I am going to put this roo in a pen with two girls, instead of letting him free range in the yard with a flock. I have a bunch of nice roos in a pen, that are going to get a chance to come on out and play.

I'll give this guy some time, a few weeks.

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