Making Yourself the Alpha Rooster in a Mixed Flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Luffpuff, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Luffpuff

    Luffpuff In the Brooder

    Dec 10, 2017
    Fresno, CA
    Hi everybody!

    I have my first roo, the ever fashionable Mr. Fox, a polish. I raised him from day 1 and he is finally past his awkward phase and looking gorgeous.

    I have read horror stories about aggressive roos so I have started, since he first started mounting behavior, to establish myself as the Alpha. The idea is to make sure he is a well-behaved protector of the flock. So far, my seabright hen has done a better job of running down intruders (she took on a full grown cat yesterday) but Mr. Fox definitely rules the roost on other matters.

    Here are some ways I have been asserting myself as Alpha. They seem to be working because he crows like crazy when my roommate goes outside but he just glowers and watches for treats when I am out there.

    Dominance mounting: Luckily I have a very submissive older hen who goes into submissive position whenever I step near. Basically, any time I am in the backyard I grab the nearest hen (or Mr. Fox if he isn't quick enough) and push them into submissive position for a few seconds then walk away. It says, I am the boss, I get the girls when I am out here... you don't.

    Cock-blocking (hehe): Whenever I am outside, nobody else gets any. So if Mr. Fox makes an advance at one of the girls, I push him away. They aren't his hens, they are mine.

    Treats: I give them treats regularly with the same bowl, whistle, and mannerism. They know that I hold the shiny bowl of bugs!

    Blinking contest: If Mr. Fox looks like he is getting grumpy about me giving attention to the girls or makes any crowing noises or grumpy sounds, I stand full tall and stare him down. Generally, he stops what he is doing and moves on with his business.

    Any other tricks for getting good behavior from your roos?
    Chickassan, FrankieDoodle and MzGina like this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I mostly ignore my roosters unless they are making trouble than I run them off a bit, otherwise I don't bother dominating.

    I've had a polish rooster, he was a pain and went away, all he did was mate and run, he never took care of a single hen.
    sourland, aart, song of joy and 3 others like this.
  3. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    Just let him be a rooster and you be a proper food person, that makes a good roo. Don't try to be the alpha roo, they know you're not a chicken.;)
  4. The Moonshiner

    The Moonshiner Professional Chicken Tender

    Nov 17, 2016
    Yep imo everything you're doing is gonna cause issues if anything.
    The other poster is right. He doesn't see you as another rooster and you're doing everything you can to show him he's wrong and you are a rooster.
    And for what? To pick a fight? To show him that he needs to pay more attention to you so when you show a weak moment it'll be his chance to show you a thing or two?
    Believing its necessary to dominate a rooster is such a silly concept to me.
    Think about it. If someone shuts you up every time you try to talk, makes you sit down anytime they come around, stops you in the middle of sex every time the see you engaged or dangles you upside down, chases you around or all these other dominating gestures how long you gonna put up with it?
    He's eventually either gonna fight back or become so whipped that he will serve no purpose to the flock.
    If you want to be alpha rooster then re home the rooster and run around squatting hens and crowing all day.
    If you want a rooster then let him be the rooster.
    sourland, aart, Wyorp Rock and 6 others like this.
  5. Luffpuff

    Luffpuff In the Brooder

    Dec 10, 2017
    Fresno, CA
    Oof. Yowza... ok. I am just taking the advice of a rooster rehabilitator and roo flock owner.

    I am not shutting him up all the time; I am not allowing him to crow at me like an intruder. I also hand feed him, tell him he's a handsome boy, let him sit with me while the chickens snuggle (he was never a snuggly chick so I let him sit next to me instead because he seems to like it better). And about 95% of the time I just ignore them and go on my business.

    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.
  6. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

    Jan 30, 2015
    Maybe keeping an eye on behaviour and recognising possible signs of potential human aggression before they translate into action is another option to consider. If your cockbird is not showing signs of human aggression, then all is well.

    As with many things chicken - there's rarely a wrong or right way to do things. Our circumstances, environment and management styles differ. I'd suggest reading all advice and then decide what best suits you.
    sourland and oldhenlikesdogs like this.
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    In my opinion, a rooster should not see a person as a flock member. If he does, it causes problems because he will challenge and fight you for position within the flock. Even if you establish yourself as "alpha", it just means you're in a position that can and should be challenged because he wants to be alpha. Instead, the rooster should view you as the caretaker and feeder who is to be respected (not challenged).

    A rooster should move out of my way when I walk through him. If he exhibits inappropriate behavior toward me (raised hackles, wing-dancing, side-stepping), he very well may become dinner. When I'm outside, the roosters should not really be paying much attention to me, except to see if I've brought out treats. They should go about their business as if my presence did not matter.

    My roosters are free to crow and mate hens while I'm in the yard. Because I have three roosters, they correctly view the other roosters as their competition and challengers . . . not me. The other roosters are the ones they need to be concerned about, because they are competing for the hens and mating them. I think this is can be a big advantage of having more than one rooster in the flock. A young cockerel will learn about flock dynamics when raised in a multi-generation flock (with adult hens and roosters).
  8. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

    Aug 1, 2015
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC. If it works for you, then great. :frow
    sourland likes this.
  9. KayBalor

    KayBalor In the Brooder

    Sep 22, 2017
    Essex, England
    A very informative thread. My hand reared Cockerell is just reaching maturity so all of this is very handy to know. Thanks guys! x
  10. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains
    This is my thoughts - if they are your girls and not his then why have rooster in the first place. His services are not needed, so either re-home him or make a nice dinner.

    A rooster's role is flock master - to mate, find goodies, woo the ladies and act as a first alert system (warning). You are not letting him do his "job".

    A human's job is flock keeper/caretaker. You provide shelter, food, water and see that their needs are taken care of (cleaning, treating injury/illness). As caretaker, you can still interact with the girls and him, but as a human.

    The girls are fun to pet/cuddle, but putting them into a submissive role(making them squat for you) is probably confusing to them. He is also likely confused as well, he doesn't know which way to go or act when you are around - he doesn't know if he's going to get snatched (attacked) or if he is going to have to compete with you for the girls, or if you are going to choose to leave him alone. You need to be consistent with your behavior - he really doesn't need your attention unless he is making aggressive movement(s) towards you - if he's minding his own business with his own girls while your there, then leave him be.

    I don't know how aggressive a Polish can actually be, but if he were a large fowl rooster like RIR, Barred Rock or even an Orpington, you would be potentially playing with fire - challenging a rooster on a daily basis most likely you will get challenged back one day - then you will need to decide what to do with a "bad rooster".

    Just my 2cents.
    Trish1974, aart and Geena like this.

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