Little ankle biter cockerel

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rwood5093, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Rwood5093

    Rwood5093 In the Brooder

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    I have a little EE cockerel who is 13 weeks old (1 of 3). Eventually 2 will go to freezer camp if they ever fatten up. they're currently integrating into my main flock (6 pullets/1 cockerel) for the past month. 1 EE stays on the roof of the coop 24x7 and has never come down (for 5 weeks). The other EE comes down every now and then gets the crap beat out of him by the main flock, but tries to blend in. the third - he comes down when I'm there - but is quick to run behind the coop when he feels threatened. This is where it gets interesting.

    When he's behind the coop, I talk to him to encourage him to come out. "Hey buddy, come on out", But, he runs out, chomps down on my ankle for about 5 seconds and it leaves a bruise (I swear he even twists his beak like a great white shark). It usually startles me and I shake him off, or whack him with a stick. The only time it doesn't happen, is when one of the older hens is within a few feet. you can see the look in his eyes "must bite ankle!" and he'll come halfway, and then just stop when he sees one of the older hens (no biting). if no one else is around it's game on. he is not mean in any other way - I can grab him, handle him, etc and I think he feels safe from the other chickens when I'm there. (becuase he comes down from the roof). he even goes down in a submissinve type pose when i pet him (if that matters).

    so what's his deal? it's strangely similar to the way my older Barred Rock cockerel (21 weeks) chomps down on the hens to do the deed. surely this little guy is not trying to get it on with my foot? is he just being a jerk?
     
  2. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    It is possible he might be trying to mount your foot, or that he doesn't recognize the ankle is a part of you.

    Socks or/and shoes are a must around my little monsters, the chicks will run up to you and try and eat your toes! :lau They are very friendly and docile otherwise, but they seem obsessed with trying to eat toes.

    I had to rescue my dad a few times from the 'compies' attacking his feet. :p
     
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  3. Rwood5093

    Rwood5093 In the Brooder

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    Agreed! lol. i usually wear pants, but always socks and shoes. he gets me through my socks. maybe I need some hockey pads, lol.
    it's amazing how painful their little needle like beaks feel against the back of calves, freckles, hairy legs, moles, sparkly toes, finger tips - they're drawn to it like crazy and it's seems like they're thinking 'mmm, what's this?'

    he's just different with my ankle. at first it was funny, now it's like what the heck dude? He was a contender to be kept, but not if this keeps up. it's a shame, since he's so pretty.
     

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  4. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

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    I have a cockerel who's thinking about doing that, he hasn't yet. I noticed he seems to be attracted to my pink tennis shoes, so that's something to consider. If you're wearing dull colored footwear and he's still doing it though, you can try this (it has always worked for me)..whenever he attacks your foot, grab him and carry him around for a few minutes. Pet him, coo at him, make a big fuss over him, don't be mean to him. Do this every time he attacks you, and he should eventually stop. I don't know if it's because they eventually recognize you as the alpha who must be respected, or if it's just so embarrassing for them, lol, but anyway, it works.
     
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  5. Rwood5093

    Rwood5093 In the Brooder

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    Maybe pink is the problem. I wear pink crocs.....
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Aggression should not be tolerated by any animal, of any age. If you don't train this bad boy now, you may never be able to do so. I'm sharing a post written by my friend Bee kissed. Her training methods work well, and do not involve any cruelty. :

    I'm going to give you a clue on "rooster speak"....holding him down doesn't mean anything to him. If you'll watch how roosters interact between dominant ones and subordinate ones, there is rarely any, if ever, holding a bird down for a long time when there is an altercation. There is very quick flogging, gripping by the back of the head and flinging him away or getting him down and giving some savage pecking to the back of the head or neck. No holding him down and nothing else. That's a rooster on a hen maneuver, not rooster on rooster.

    Because your rooster is attacking you, you are the subordinate in this picture. You are getting dominated by your bird simply because you are walking where a subordinate isn't supposed to be walking when a dominant is in the area. What you never see is a dominant rooster getting attacked by a subordinate rooster unless there is going to be a definite shift in power, at which time the sub will challenge the dom and win...or lose. So far you are losing and not even challenging.

    If you want to win this battle, you must go on the offensive, not the defensive. He who attacks first, and is still claiming the area when the other guy leaves it, is the winner. Some people never have to go on the offensive because their movements in the coop are so decisive that they move and act like a dominant and a 2 ft. rooster is smart enough to recognize a dominant attitude and behavior...which is likely why he's never attacked your husband. Most men move more decisively than do women and children and they rarely step around a bird, but walk through them.

    Carrying him around also doesn't mean anything to him...it just doesn't translate at all. His environment is that coop and run floor and that's where you need to speak to him, in a language he understands. Because they are quick on their feet and can evade you, you need a training tool like a long, limber, supple rod of some kind...cutting a nice switch from a shrub or tree that will lengthen your reach by 5 ft. really helps in this. Don't use a rake or broom because they are too clumsy and stiff and can put the hurts on the guy when you don't really mean to.

    When you enter your coop, walk with decisive movements and walk directly towards your rooster. Move him away from the feeder and the rest of the flock and keep a slow, determined pressure on him until he leaves the coop. The stick will help you guide him. Then...wait patiently while he gets his bird mind around what just happened. He will try to come back in the coop...let him. When he gets a good bit into that coop, take your switch and give him a good smack on the fluffy feathers under his tail if you can aim it well. If you cannot, just smack the floor near him very hard and fast until he hops and runs and keep at it until he leaves the coop once again. Repeat this process until he is too wary to come back in the coop.

    Feed your hens. When he tries to come to the feeder, you "attack" him with the switch...smack the wall by the pop door just as he tries to enter. If he makes it inside, pursue him with the stick either smacking the floor or tapping him on the back or the head until he leaves in a hurry. Make him stay outside while you sit there and enjoy watching your hens eat. Use the stick to keep him from the flock..just him. Don't worry about the hens running and getting excited when this is happening...they will get over it. This is for the future of your flock and your management of it.

    When the hens have had a good tucker....leave the coop and let him come back in. Go out later and walk through that flock and use your legs to scatter birds if they get in your way...top roosters do not step to one side for any other bird in the flock. You shouldn't either. Take your stick and startle him with a smack on the floor next to him when he is least expecting it...make that bird jump and RUN. Make him so nervous around you that he is always looking over his shoulder and trying to get out of your way. THAT'S how he needs to be from now on in your lives together. Forget about pets or cuddles...this is a language and behavior he understands. You can hand feed him and such later...right now you need to establish that when you move, he moves...away. When you turn your back, he doesn't move towards you...ever.

    Then test him...take your stick along, move around in the coop, bend over with your back turned to him, feed, water, etc....but keep one eye on that rooster. If he even makes one tiny step in your direction or in your "zone", go on the attack and run him clear on out of the coop. Then keep him out while everyone else is eating.

    THAT'S how a dominant rooster treats a subordinate. They don't let them crow, mate or even eat in their space. If the subordinate knows his place and watches over his shoulder a lot, he may get to come and eat while the other rooster is at the feeder...but he doesn't ever relax if he knows what is good for him. At any given time the dominant will run him off of that feed and he knows it, so he eats with one eye toward the door. If he feels the need to crow, it's not usually where the dom can reach him...maybe across the yard.

    If your rooster crows while you are there, move towards him and keep on the pressure until he stops. He doesn't get to crow while you are there. He can crow later...not while you are there.

    It all sounds time consuming but it really isn't...shouldn't take more than minutes for each lesson and you can learn a lot as you go along. And it can be fun if you venture into it with the right attitude....this is rooster training that really works if you do it correctly. This can work on strange roosters, multiple roosters and even old roosters...they can all learn. You rule the coop...now act like it. Carrying is for babies...you have a full grown rooster on your hands, not a baby.
     
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  7. Rwood5093

    Rwood5093 In the Brooder

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    Thank you. I'm very familiar with Bee kissed's method. I have used it on my 21 week old cockerel and now he gives me plenty of room. Howard (cockerel) went psycho on my husband a few weeks ago, and has done it to me twice. he got a good lesson two nights ago and now stays as far away as he can, lol. so I agree with the method and agree it works. Howard gets one more chance, and if he blows it, he's going to freezer camp. he might anyways, becuase he looks so plump and juicy...

    I dont really handle the younger cockerels that much, other than grabbing them off the roof, relocation to the middle level where the food is or on one of the roosting poles for the nicer hens can come say hello. they've proven they will not come down to eat/drink (48 hours, totally empty crops, lethargic), so it's either feed them on the roof or pick them up and move them to their own food/water station so they dont end up starving. after moving him and watching him chow down, he sometimes attempts to join the flock on the ground. he see's a big chicken, freaks out and runs behind the coop, which is when he then sneaks up and chomps down on me, and usually ends up behind the coop again after a shake of my leg or a whack with a stick (closest I can get to bee kissed's method). There certainly isn't a way for me to chase him - behind the coop is like 4 inches wide and the rest of the time they're on the roof of the coop (out of reach).

    these guys aren't really integrated into the flock, they spend all of their time up on the roof. I bring them down to eat/drink and they go back up on the roof - they're too afraid of the older chickens.

    as silly as it sounds, he has only done this when I wear my pink crocs. Maybe I'll send hubby in there in my pink crocs and see what happens, lol.
     
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Crowing

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    Gee, if carrying him around doesn't mean anything, I wonder why it always works for me?? And actually I wasn't the one that came up with that idea...I read it on here on long time ago...so I'm pretty sure it must work for other people too. And it's a lot less to read through....

    Whatever works for whoever is just wonderful....really no reason to get in a big argument about it or put down someone else's method because you think YOURS is the only way...is there?
     
  9. MageofMist

    MageofMist Songster

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    I agree, and it has worked for me with not one, but two troubled roos and my rooster I have right now and have had for 3 months now is still people friendly. I find Bee's method to, well, be very harsh and more of a last resort. Anyways, doesn't the 5 freedoms mention the freedom from harm and fear? I do walk over my roo and move him out of my way by nudging him with my foot, but I don't beat him or traumatize him to the point he can't eat, mate or even crow around me.
     
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  10. Stephine

    Stephine Songster

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    Hmm. There is a third way I have heard about that makes a lot if sense to me. Don't behave like a chicken, behave like a person so roo will stop treating you like another chicken. Don't fight but ignore any attacks. The roo will come to see you as what you are, not a flock member or rival but a treat dispenser...
    Anyway, I think that may be a valid approach. When my dog interacts with the chickens he doesn't try to behave like a chicken would to establish he is not to be fussed with. When my roo stood close to him he sniffed the roo's bottom (of course!) and the roo wouldn't have it and attacked. My dog stepped back and the roo flew at him again. The dog kept backing off to show he didn't mean harm and the dumb roo just kept flying in his face. After quite a few times of this my dog had had it and grabbed the roo on his next attack and held him down. Just held him by his scruff with his muzzle and one paw on the roo's back. (my dog is a farmcolllie and knows how to hold an animal without doing harm) After a few seconds I asked my dog to let the bird go and he did. Roo scrambled to his feet, shook himself and walked away. He never looked at the dog sideways again. He also didn't get scared of the dog, but just gave him a bit of space and lots of respect. The roo learned dog language in a hurry that day! (the dog also learned that it was a bad idea to try to clean a roo's bottom)
    So, a prompt, unpleasant consequence can definitely leave an impression on a chicken, wether it is chickenlike or not.
    Finally: I would put on rainboots to go down to the coop. Or whatever other boots you want. And make the roof of limits. Set up a different coop for the roos, so they can have some peace until they get the knife. If the remaining roo is so hard to integrate (which is not surprising if there's already a rooster with the flock - you will likely get fights), give him away.
     

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