Keeping our Rooster in Line

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by downriverchicks, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. downriverchicks

    downriverchicks Just Hatched

    29
    1
    16
    Aug 25, 2016
    Our top rooster Mosey, a Lavender Orpington, is about 7 months old, and he's recently gotten a little bit aggressive. Every couple days he will peck my partner or I on the leg solidly enough to draw blood if we're not wearing loose pants. My solution to this has been to pick him up and carry him around for a couple minutes, which typically puts him off, but my partner is less confident in this method. His primary function in our flock is predator defense, so I'm kind of glad to see him exhibit some offensive skills - he is gentle with the hens and both of our 2 other roosters. Is this just the roostery age he is at? Are there proactive ways we can keep him from becoming more aggressive toward us? Anything to watch out for? I'm not interested in culling him because of this, so please, other advice!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,747
    6,880
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Calm confidence is key....IMO, they can sense human fear and/or anxiety and can react to it aggressively.
    Being aggressive to humans is not necessarily an indicator that he will be a good flock protector...he should know what is a true threat and what is not.

    I've only had a couple cock/erels and do not handle them much at all from a very young age, and eat the ones I hatch before they even get to the crow stage, I want them to stay out of my way. I'm sure you'll get lot of opinions, hope you find something that helps.
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    28,639
    14,682
    616
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    You may (or may not) find this link interesting - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1101665/the-complete-life-cycle-of-a-mostly-happy-rooster

    You may wish to search "rooster management" or something like that. There's been lots of threads on the subject and almost as many opinions. Whilst its not directly helpful right now, I do know from experience that managing cockerels appropriately, from a young age, is a darn sight easier than trying to undo bad behaviour.

    Best of luck

    CT
     
  4. downriverchicks

    downriverchicks Just Hatched

    29
    1
    16
    Aug 25, 2016
    I don't think we're giving off too many fear vibes - he pretty much only comes after us when we aren't paying any attention to him to begin with. And to boot, I was a zookeeper before ever getting chickens, and big fella or no, Mosey isn't much intimidation compared to a cassowary.

    I will have to check in to see if I am giving off any unintentional aggression signals. He definitely responds to some sets of shoes more than others. This bird has been extensively handled since he came home as a day old, and I really didn't expect these issues to pop up, especially because he was issue-free until past few weeks. I've probably spent less time with them in the past few weeks than prior in their lives, as I am both a student and teacher and school has resumed. More of the hens have been laying and one of the other roosters has started to mate the hens. The third rooster is on the frail side - he has begun to get ideas about it but I believe he has some sort of internal defect that is limiting his health and will potentially limit his life. Maybe there's just a lot going on in rooster world?

    Most of what I saw in other threads was advice to cull, which is why I put it out there again with the caveat. If things continue to escalate beyond what we can manage, of course that's what we'll have to do, but hopefully I will find some more "rooster management" tips!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,747
    6,880
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Cassowary...haha...that give you some experience into animal/human behaviors.
    Was thinking more of your partner in that respect tho.

    I don't support handling cock/erels so much.... familiarity can breed contempt.

    Was wondering about your other males, multiple males can create a competitive environment.
    If you don't need multiple males, might be best to get rid of all others.

    My one keeper cockbird gets nasty(with the both gender birds, not humans) when other males are coming up around him,
    as soon as I remove other males from his territory he calms right back down.....like immediately, was amazing.
     
  6. downriverchicks

    downriverchicks Just Hatched

    29
    1
    16
    Aug 25, 2016
    I've been trying to get rid of the other healthy male, Melvin. Both of the others are Lavender Ameraucanas, and they had another brother, Goliath, who has already gone on to be a breeder elsewhere (we had straight run of Lavender Ameraucana roosters!). Melvin is an awfully sweet and fancy bird for the pot, and I've had no takers on rehoming, so I've just let him hang around (if you're in the Ann Arbor, MI area and would like him please give me a shout!). The frail rooster I have kept mostly out of pity. He is 8 months old, lighter in weight than my smallest hen, has never fully feathered, and never has a crop more full than golf ball size. I kept thinking it might get better, and every now and then he gets a little growth spurt. He seems generally happy, but he is a sad sight.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,531
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]

    I prefer my roosters to exhibit a healthy respect for me.

    this means they don't approach me unless I invite them.

    I say invest a few training sessions. When you're out and about with the birds, set up a personal bubble. If he invades your bubble without an invitation, chase him away. All it usually takes is a stomp with some flapping arms and a yell, just something to startle him and make him realize he's invading your space and you're not allowing him to. He'll usually startle out of your space ,and you just go back to what you're doing. He'll probably be intrigued by your behavior and "play" with your for a while, seeing if he can elicit the same response. Just continue, perhaps making him move further from you if he's quite persistent.

    Just like any other animal, he can't bite you if he's not close enough to make contact. You are the human, you get to decide when he's in your space.

    Doing this won't make him afraid of you. It will make him respect you. It's probably about what he does to the Beta rooster. Your Beta rooster doesn't fear your Alpha, but he does respect him. And I guarantee the Beta never comes up and pecks the Alpha.

    About the timing of the aggression--Orps are slower to mature than other breeds. He's young and just coming into his hormones, likely why he's testing you now. Now is definitely the time to do some serious training and nip this in the bud.
     
    2 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by