Learning from my rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bburn, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. bburn

    bburn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    I love watching the chickens. Recently I put my BR rooster in his own coop and run with five new girls. He is quite proud of them and it has been fun watching the flock come together.

    The rooster has become quite the man lately. When I come around the corner of the house he starts chattering to let the girls know I am coming....usually with treats. I give the treats....from greens to yogurt to BOSS and now that it is getting colder I sometimes give scratch. Then I go around and slip in the coop and gather eggs. I have always kept a broom out there and carry it in with me....useless broom really as all the bristles are shot.

    I had not noticed that Ethel was not in the run.....opened the door and saw her on the nest and started to back out. The roo came after me. I took the broom, just in time and lifted him slightly off the ground and 'displaced' him a bit. He came right back at me so I did it again....this time with a little more force. I don't want to hurt him but I do want him to know he won't get away with it. I turned slightly to shut the people door and could see him out of the corner of my eye coming at me. I barely got the broom under him and lifted him and 'displaced' him a little harder. He then moved himself to the other side of the run and ignored me. I still don't believe I hurt him in any way.....other than his manly feelings.

    I have no problem with him protecting his girls. And that was what this was. Ethel was on the nest and he did not want me bothering her. Understandable really and kind of stupid of me not to notice before I went in. I am not cooking him because I like him. However, I will not stand there and allow him to come after me. I will in the future make sure all the hens are in the run before I try to gather eggs.

    I don't like a mean rooster any better than anyone else. I do want my rooster to be protective of the girls. And I will make sure that I look and see the situation before trying to go into the coop again. I did by the way. I went back in a couple of hours and took treats.....put them out by the gate.....I can open it and go in and give treats and there are no problems with that. Then I went around to the other gate and slipped in and gathered the eggs. The rooster knew I was in and looked at me and turned away.

    I believe that what happened today was normal rooster behavior. A hen was in her place in the coop laying an egg and he did not want her bothered. From the beginning when I put the hens in he has been there with them or going back and forth checking on them when they are on the nest. After they come out he is looking for treats for them. This is a rooster that has not be aggressive towards me before. It will be interesting to see over the next few weeks how he acts. He is at the age to get aggressive if he is going to. But I blame myself here for not paying attention.

    We only free range our birds in the vegetable garden. We take turns letting the different groups out so they all have the opportunity to get out there. When they are out I never lose sight of the rooster and where he is in the group. I have not had a problem with him yet. Again, it will be interesting the next time they are let out. I won't be without my broom.

    AND.....another reason to keep your kids and grandkids out of the run.....you just never know. If that had been my grandaughter she would not have known what to do. And I am not scared of him but I won't turn my back on him again. I am glad I was able to handle the situation without anger or fear. After I left and went around to the other gate I stopped like I always do and visited with the chickens for a few minutes. He was not any different than he ever was. I had some treats left and put some more in the run. No aggression then either.

    Once the roosters started breeding the hens I stopped going in and petting my hens. The other coop I do not allow the rooster to come in while I am in there putting out feed or gathering eggs. I have a piece of tin I can put over the pop door from the inside if needed. There have been many times I have used the broom to guide the rooster out into the run. I usually throw feed out the pop door after so they have something to distract them.

    They are animals and they do have their behaviors. I know there are reasons for them.....I just have to pay attention and learn the language.
  2. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2010
    [​IMG] I've been there!!!
    I have the sweetest, most adorable silkie rooster in the universe. For example, he is incredibly protective of his hens, doesn't mind being picked up or chased, and even eats from my hand. But one time my cousin, who is 3, came to visit, my rooster launched himself at him, the way fighting birds do :O And he did it 3 times before I had to lock him up!!
  3. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    Both of my shins are still healing from being spured by our rooster. He is excellent at his job, but challenges often. I try to keep gloves with me so I can smack him across the face. However, more often than not, he ends up getting a swift kick to the chest.. Sometimes, I have to chase him to get him to stop...

    We no intention of getting rid of him until he can be replaced by one of our new Delaware roosters (only four weeks old at the moment). He has fought of dogs and hawks time and time again.
  4. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    bburn, your boy is doing his job well. [​IMG] I'm glad you didn't punish him for doing exactly what he is supposed to do -- he was protecting his ladies from a (perceived) threat. Maybe eventually he will realize you pose no threat for his ladies or him, and will go on about his business.
  5. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2009
    I think that is exactly it. Your roo has to know that you or your people are not a threat. Give them treats. Hold them. Bring water and food and other good things and I think they realize it. When you intimidate the heck out of a roo, trying to make it know who's boss, I don't think they see you as a friend but more of a foe. I don't think our roo thinks we are hurting his hens by picking them up because we pick him up and pet him and he likes it. He knows that when we pick up his hens we mean no harm. When we gather the eggs that is just something we do. He never reacts badly. BUt he does do his other rooster things. He does know that hawks and dogs aren't good and almost died protecting his flock from a dog.

    We had a little cousin this weekend 2 1/2 years old with mom. I watched our roo, he was nervous as he had never seen these people before, but we were with them and he didn't do anything. I did watch him though!
  6. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2010
    My EE roo, Big Poppy, is a darling! I had never seen the way a rooster calls his ladies over for a treat, but Poppy does it all day everyday. He crows when he sees me coming. When I give out treats the hens take food away from him - snatching it right out of his beak. I have to hand feed him in order to be sure he gets a treat too.
    Today one of my BR hens jumped on one of my RIR hens fighting - Poppy came screeching across the yard and put them both in their place! It was awesome to see!
    He never glances twice when my nephews come up - of course, they are big at 12 and 15yrs old.

    As long as Pop stays as sweet as he is now and keeps taking care of the girls, he has a home for the rest of his life. If he gets crazy I'll try rooster football, and then I'll try rooster dumplings. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  7. bburn

    bburn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2010
    Delaware, Arkansas
    I really did feel like I had stepped over the boundries that a rooster has today....that is the reason for the lift and push with the broom and then the treats after. I did appreciate that when I went back later and Ethel had left her nest and was out in the run that there was no aggression from him the second time.

    I have been watching for a few weeks now the interaction between the Lone Rooster and his girls.....it is sweet and touching how he treats them. It is really two hens and three pullets that I got him. He figured out really quickly the pullets were not interested in him yet. He sticks pretty close to the hens and really takes care of them. Just this week his behavior has changed toward the pullets. They have really gotten their size and are not running from the hens and staying out of their way anymore. They have become a group of five with a rooster taking care of them. It really has been interesting. But it was a few months ago when I stopped letting my DGD's go into the run at all.

    Trust me, I have seen the roosters just this year that get way out of hand and no longer have them....freezer camp and Rooster and Dumplings and some were rehomed. But I like the roosters I have kept. Like their behaviors with their hens but I am respectful for what is their nature. I never knew when I started this that I would end up with two runs and a duplex coop to keep them all separate. Now I am getting ready for the third run and coop....DH is not liking all this coop building at all!

    The sad thing for me right now is I had to take the third rooster out of the first flock and make him his own area. He is a LF cochin and a sweet creature. But the top roo beat him up once he finally matured and decided he needed a hen for himself. He was slightly injured...his feet were bleeding and he had a few feathers missing. I just knew he could no longer be in the same run. I have been searching for LF cochin hens and have yet to find any. Am about at the point where I am just going to find him some good sized hens for just him so he won't be alone. You can see how badly he hates being by himself. It is pretty facinating watching them and seeing what their true nature really is.
  8. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    Maybe it is because I have raised my roos from babyhood and handled them daily, but neither of my two roosters have been any trouble to me or my family at all. In fact, they both eagerly eat out of our hands and oftentimes let us pet them.

    We can pick them up, but only after we make it very clear that we plan on doing it with or without their permission. If it is up to them, they would not face the indignity of a tall, unfeathered "chicken" picking them up.

    The older of our roos is one and a half years old now, and is a hatchery EE.

    The other roo is his son, and will be one year old two days after Christmas. He is a cross between that EE rooster and one of our two barred rocks.
  9. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
  10. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I had to smack my new FBCM roo yesterday for coming after me. I think eventually he'll learn who is boss.

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