Is there any hope???

RLockhart68

Songster
Oct 19, 2020
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587
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Any ideas are appreciated. My lavender orpington roo has started being defensive/aggressive since the girls started laying. Today he actually attacked me as I was walking through the run. The wing flapping, feet coming at me type of attack. In the coop he will snap at me, only sometimes actually making contact.
I seriously don't want to cull him because I love that he would be a good protector for the flock. I just want him to stop attacking me and my daughter. I have never raised a hand to him (okay I did the first time he actually latched on and it was gut reaction, but not since that time). I talk to him and try not to act jumpy or overly defensive while around him. I'm sure my body language has changed since he started this. I don't expect him to get back to the sweet chick I brought home from the store, I just want to be able to be around him without being attacked. I've never hand fed any of them. Just isn't my thing.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
16,043
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On the MN prairie.
How old is your daughter? If she’s little, keep her out of the pen and away from the chickens until you get this resolved. Personally, he would not stay in my flock- especially if I had a young child at home. I do have a 3 year old grandson, and 1 year old granddaughter who like to come help with chores. Any cockerel or rooster that goes after them will become supper. It’s just not worth the risk.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,403
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Colorado Rockies
How old is this little tyrant? If he's under a year, you can train him, discipline him to establish boundaries. Cockerels are a lot like puppies coming into maturity. There are a lot of conflicting messages they get, and they need help and firm guidance to sort them out.

Begin by immobilizing him when he starts to show aggression. Push him to the ground and hold him there firmly with your hand on the back of his neck and beak on the ground. Don't let up until he relaxes. Keep him pinned as long as he fights you. You need to establish you're boss of him.

Trust is the main thing you need to establish. It works both ways. He needs to trust you to be the boss of him and the hens. You need to trust him to be flock protector and to govern the hens' behavior. He won't be good at any of it at first, so you need to show him you trust him to learn at his own pace to fulfill his role, understanding cockerels aren't born knowing how to be a good rooster. It takes up to two years for some. So you do this by allowing him to go about his business, and you show him by discipline that you expect him to allow you to do your business as flock leader.

There's a lot more to training a cockerel, but basically you will pretty much ignore him unless you need to discipline (not punish) him for getting out of line. There are a lot of great rooster tutorials here on BYC.
 

RLockhart68

Songster
Oct 19, 2020
244
587
136
How old is your daughter? If she’s little, keep her out of the pen and away from the chickens until you get this resolved. Personally, he would not stay in my flock- especially if I had a young child at home. I do have a 3 year old grandson, and 1 year old granddaughter who like to come help with chores. Any cockerel or rooster that goes after them will become supper. It’s just not worth the risk.
Totally understandable.
My daughter is 27. There are no little kids around them. Thank you for the reply.
 

RLockhart68

Songster
Oct 19, 2020
244
587
136
How old is this little tyrant? If he's under a year, you can train him, discipline him to establish boundaries. Cockerels are a lot like puppies coming into maturity. There are a lot of conflicting messages they get, and they need help and firm guidance to sort them out.

Begin by immobilizing him when he starts to show aggression. Push him to the ground and hold him there firmly with your hand on the back of his neck and beak on the ground. Don't let up until he relaxes. Keep him pinned as long as he fights you. You need to establish you're boss of him.

Trust is the main thing you need to establish. It works both ways. He needs to trust you to be the boss of him and the hens. You need to trust him to be flock protector and to govern the hens' behavior. He won't be good at any of it at first, so you need to show him you trust him to learn at his own pace to fulfill his role, understanding cockerels aren't born knowing how to be a good rooster. It takes up to two years for some. So you do this by allowing him to go about his business, and you show him by discipline that you expect him to allow you to do your business as flock leader.

There's a lot more to training a cockerel, but basically you will pretty much ignore him unless you need to discipline (not punish) him for getting out of line. There are a lot of great rooster tutorials here on BYC.
Thank you so much! I was afraid I would make him worse. He is about 8 months, so just entering puberty. He definitely keeps a good eye on his ladies and tries to keep them in line. They are the same age as him, and are learning, though like typical women, they don't listen really well to him 🤣. I will look for the tutorials tomorrow.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
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SE Missouri, USA
Others may disagree with me, but in my experience, a rooster that becomes aggressive is a liability. I tried reforming one of mine once he developed an agressive attitude, with the net result that he hurt me pretty badly. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I am saying it takes someone with a lot more experience than a novice. I didn't even make stew out of him, he became fodder for the local raccoons. A good roo is worth his weight in gold, and thank goodness I have two at the moment. I wouldn't waste a minute on a bad one. Good luck.
 

RLockhart68

Songster
Oct 19, 2020
244
587
136
Others may disagree with me, but in my experience, a rooster that becomes aggressive is a liability. I tried reforming one of mine once he developed an agressive attitude, with the net result that he hurt me pretty badly. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I am saying it takes someone with a lot more experience than a novice. I didn't even make stew out of him, he became fodder for the local raccoons. A good roo is worth his weight in gold, and thank goodness I have two at the moment. I wouldn't waste a minute on a bad one. Good luck.
Thank you for your reply. I'm hoping I can nip this behavior before he becomes overly aggressive. Right now he is hitting puberty. So I understand him exerting some of these behaviors. He is amazing with his ladies, so I feel if I can get past this phase he will be more than worth the time I have to put into training him not to be aggressive towards me and others. Thankfully we don't have many visitors and when we do I keep them locked in the run. So liability isn't at the top of my list.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,155
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southern Michigan
He's already 'overly aggressive'! Over many years I've moved from tolerating aggression, trying to 'reform' human aggressive cockerels, to one strike and you're out. In fact, I think that it's hard to reform one who's thinking bad thoughts, something that takes experience to recognize.
@Beekissed , @BantyChooks , and @Shadrach all have good articles about rooster behavior, worth looking up. @Shadrach has a totally different flock structure, not as relevant to a small home flock like yours, but still worth reading.
Often cockerels raised in a mixed age flock, having adult roosters and hens, will grow up to be more 'civilized'. Cockerels raised with only pullets of the same age will miss those humbling experiences they get from adults.
Human aggression is both genetic and influenced by management, and it's not possible to fix the genetics of that individual. Breeding it on is a bad idea too.
When this cockerel is stalking you, he's not watching out for his flock! It's not smart to attack the giant who brings food every day, he should be staying out of your way, courting his ladies, and looking out for actual predators.
Mary
 

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