My Jersey Giant rooster seems to wish to destroy me

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by babserella, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. babserella

    babserella New Egg

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    Quick run-down of the coop tenants : 2 regular white egg-layers, 2 Wyandottes, 6 frizzle young'ns (appx. 4 months old), three 3 month old Jersey Giant hens, and then THE BIG BAD ROOSTER.

    "Puppy Love" is his real name; I first redubbed him "Sully", but now often use a host of extremely...hm, "colorful" nicknames.

    As stated in subject title, he's a grayish Jersey Giant, about 6 months old; spur stubs are starting to grow in, but we're gonna have the vet remove them--and that's a good thing, cuz THIS ROOSTER VANTS TO SUCK MY BLOOD (possibly).

    Because he's a JG, he's huge, even though he's only 6 months old...and I've been informed that it's in the SECOND year that they really "put on the muscle". *swell...[​IMG]*

    In the last few weeks (we've had him for about two months), Sully suddenly started to show aggression, but only to ME. (They're my mom's chickens, but I live on the property and help take care of them.) He's NEVER shown any aggression towards my mom or the other visitors that have toured the enclosure (he even allows my 7 year old niece to pick him up -- and he's GOT to be a good third of her body weight...) And since my mom's been out of town for a couple of weeks, I'm the primary care-giver while she's away. (BTW, his behavior towards the other chickens is just fine; he ain't exactly Gentle Ben, but he's definitely "cock of the walk".)

    The levels of aggression are varied and erratic. Sometimes he just keep struttin' around, doin' his thing, ignoring me; sometimes he "shadows" me, giving me the stink-eye. (I've started arming myself with a broom whenever I'm in the coop/run area.) He often parks himself at the front gate, blocking my entry, so much that I have to physically push him along, a foot at a time, with my broom to do my chores.

    And then there's the times he goes for blood (which he HAS drawn on me, twice now...and that's not counting the times he's bruised me). I've learned to read the tell-tale signs that a charge is coming; he hurls himself at me, talons first (kinda like a velociraptor from "Jurassic Park"...), and tries to get a beak-full of anything he can...and last week, that beak-full was a bit of my exposed right wrist.

    Believe it or not, guys, though...I REALLY adore this rooster. He's VERY handsome, he's a good protector to the "community", and when he's not being a d---hebag, he's a real sweetheart! My Mom loves him even more, but she's said that she'll get him a new home rather than have me eaten away a chunk at a time. But I like him, and I know it would really break my Mom's heart to give him away. [​IMG]

    So (FINALLY), here're my questions :

    a) I think I MIGHT see a correlation between his aggression level and what I'm wearing. In the morning, I go into the run wearing my super-comfy hot-pick robe, and he just seems to HATE it. I know that chickens can see colors very well, so does anyone know if roosters find any particular hues annoying/threatening? He also doesn't like it when I'm wearing sweat pants or jeans. But in the evening, if I go in still wearing my nicer work clothes (always longer skirts), he doesn't go for the PHYSICAL attack as often (though he still stalks me). Even stranger -- a lot of my skirts have little embellishment sequins...and those kind of seem to put him in an "Oooooo....shiny" kind of trance. Comments?

    b) A friend suggested that I use a squirt bottle on him instead of having to do a "pas de deux" with the broom. I laughed in her face. Was my mocking justified?

    c) I read about a technique that I'm going to try today -- it says that at the first sign of aggression, you grab him up and hold him, no matter how much of a fuss he puts up. (This article also mentioned that one should be wearing long sleeves and gloves when you do this. DUH, y'think?) Then you should carry him around (for 15-30 minutes!) until he's calmed down, and then gently put him down when you're ready. If he gives you grief again, you lather, rinse, repeat. 1) So do you guys think that's gonna work?; 2) Has the author of that article ever SEEN the size of a Jersey Giant?!; 3) I'm a busy woman...I don't know how much extra time I'm gonna have lying around to don a suit of armor and sumo wrestle a massive, ornery rooster. When should I bug out and call it even?

    d) I know that the main causes of rooster aggression towards humans are that they see the person as a threat, or that they're trying to hold Alpha male status. I think, with Sully, it's about 30% for the first (he sometimes gets uppity when I snag the day's laid eggs), and 70% for the latter. But does anyone have a theory as to why he only attacks ME? My Mom gathers eggs, and he doesn't mind. I speak just as lowly and sweetly to him as she does (well...except if he's wounded me...then I call him a poop-head). Hypotheses, anyone?

    e) Unrelated to his aggression... Sully has decided that, at night, he likes to perch on top of an antique bird cage that Mom nailed to the wall to decorate the coop. Now when he finally gets settled (which...believe me, is juuuuuuust about the most ungraceful -- not to mention hilarious -- series of poultry-related flailing ever witnessed), he's about six+ feet off of the ground. We've been cautioned that a JG rooster can get so muscular that jumping down from a high spot CAN lead to broken legs. [​IMG] 1) Does anyone have a ballpark estimate for "how high up is TOO high up", which would put his drumsticks at risk; 2) Should we just remove the dang cage from the wall, even though it looks super quaint in there?

    Any other tips or techniques? Chicken whispering? ....Magic potions? (And yes I KNOW how to "hypnotize" a chicken, cuz Mom and I have each done it on the nice ones, but I don't think that really falls under the auspices of "hypnotherapy"...)

    Sorry for the long post! Thanks for any advice you could chuck my way!

    Carrie
     
  2. pnuts

    pnuts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    he might think you are a threat just because chickens aren't that bright so instead i think you want him to think of you as apart of his flock, a magical food machine, or his mom and i think your mom is already is mom so go for one of the other two.
    my rooster crows at the rooster next door, at my dad, geese, rocks and whatever but no one has ever challenged him so hes pretty chill. my chickens always get in the way in the morning because they are excited for food and are either trying to trip me and spill it everywhere or dont realize that i need to walk to their trays to give it to them.
    a good way to make friends is to pick them up and hold them until they are calm and pet them especially on a colder day because they like being warm. offer him food from your hands. talk to him like; hey puppy love or whatcha doin puppy love? they like to hear their names and they like it when you cluck at them:^]
    if he jumps at you pick him up, hold his wings down, make it so his feet dont move and wait until he calms down
     
  3. Yard full o' rocks

    Yard full o' rocks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally....I don't deal with Bad Roosters. Once, maybe twice, I overlook aggressive behavior. After that....its off to the auction or "freebie" on craigslist for them.

    We have children in/out of our yard constantly and I am not willing to risk the chance of a rooster harming a child (or an adult for that matter). I too have a rooster that I truly adore...Pepper, my Delaware rooster. He is like a two legged dog....but, I would have to treat him the same way should he ever get aggressive.

    I have NEVER been able to get them to change their ways once they start.

    Good luck
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Watch him carefully. Human aggression usually escalates. It would only take one attack on your niece to possibly result in serious injury. Don't trust him alone with her.
     
  5. flowerchicks

    flowerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Well, I only have experience with one, rather evil silkie roo, and here are my thoughts a-e:
    a) I don't know about the colors enticing him, but the sequins doing so would make sense. My roo is obsessed with feet. When he attacks, he only goes for the feet and ankles, and if you stop in front of him, he is staring straight at your toes. It doesn't matter which shoes (or slippers), he will attack them, and he will try to get ahold of your pant leg in the process, he never looks up.
    b) mocking justified
    c) as mean as my roo is, he is easy to pick up (especially after being exhausted from a long round of attacking). I have carried him, held him (on his back for up to 10 min), kissed him in front of the girls (he actually starts to close his eyes and relax), when I put him down he is a bit calmer for a while, but the effect wears off, quickly. Plus, I am the only one who will do it. My DH just ignores him when he is attacking (he is only a silkie who THINKS he's a Jersey Giant), and my dad either ignores him or kicks him. Who knows, it might work if it happend EVERY TIME he attacked.
    d) my guess is he just bonded with your mom when he was young and accepts her as the flock leader, but not a threat to him or the hens.
    e) absolutely no idea [​IMG]

    And, I agree with Sourland, if it were my niece, i wouldn't let her get close, much less pick him up. All he needs to do is decide at that moment that he doesn't want to be held and she will be scarred badly. I have 2 (hopefully healing) scars on my arm from my australorp pullet who didnt want to be held. A chicken scratch makes a cat scratch look like it was done by a plastic surgeon in a sterile surgical suite, not pretty at all.
    goooood luck [​IMG]
     
  6. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    It does seem a bit odd that this roo would take a particular spite to you, and nobody else. I've had roos that wouldn't have dared to take a shot at me, yet seemed to consider my kids easy targets (of course, the kids were more likely to aggravate the hens, which would put them on any roo's blacklist!) I remember one EE roo that I had seen shadowing my (then) 4-year-old son around the barn. As long as I was around, all the roo did was watch him. One day, I let my guard down, and they both were on the other side of the building from me at the same time. Within half a minute, the little guy came running to me, crying; he had several long scratches all down his chest beneath his shirt. That rooster's free-ranging days were over!

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a red corduroy jumper that I often wore. It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull for one of my bantam Cochin roosters. I don't know who made him the fashion police, but every time I wore that jumper he'd go for me. After I'd nearly kicked him over the fence a few times he learned not to come at me from the front; he'd slink around, trying to get behind me for a flank attack. Out of the corner of my eye, I'd see him furtively working his circling maneuver. I'd turn, face him, and say sternly, "just what do you think you're doing?" He'd be like "Who, me? Nothing! I'm not doing anything," and quickly go find himself something else to do.

    Our current flock are all well behaved, with the exception of one bantam Cochin that my DD named Goldy (sometimes morphed into Goldeen, after a rather cranky Pokemon). Goldy's tail (when he has one) is all wrong, so I think his daddy may actually have been an Old English banty that we had at the time. The kids played with Goldy a lot as a chick, and were quite upset when he decided to start attacking them in the barnyard. They've turned the tables on him now; anything from him that's less than headlong flight and he gets picked up and carried around. They actually feel sorry for him, because he's the lowest bird in the barnyard; I guess he's just looking for something that he can dominate! They see him as something of a challenge, so I guess it's a good thing he's too small to do much damage. It's a bit too soon to say whether this approach has any lasting effect on his behavior, but it has made a big difference in DD's self-confidence.

    I've never handled anything as big as a JG, but my experience with lesser roo's makes me nervous for your niece's sake as well. Best of luck to all of you!
     

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