My rooster bit me today

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nugget, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Nugget

    Nugget Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been working hard trying to raise my 9-10 month old rooster to respect the people he lives around. Today the chickens were ranging. I tossed them some fruit and the submissive hen took a piece. The dominant hen jumped at her. I blocked the dominant hen from getting her and she kind of squacked. The rooster jumped me faster than a snake and left a bruise through my jacket sleeve!

    I grabbed at him and he took off. I chased him over the yard with my wonderful airedale terrier helping me. She would cut him off and I'd almost get him... we chased him down and I carried him to the deck by the legs and laid him on his back on my lap, then on the grass at my feet on his back. He laid still and submissive for about 5 minutes until I put him back in the coop.

    I am disappointed in him... I do not tolerate aggression from my pets, and my chickens are my pets. I want to handle this seriously and appropriately so I can minimize chances this will happen again.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    he is doing the normal roo thing of protecting his hens.but if he gets to bad you may want to cull him.mean roos are why i wont have a roo.i wont put up with their temper.
     
  3. Nugget

    Nugget Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens are mainly pets, and I'm a vegetarian so culling isn't really an option. Maybe he could find a new flock to guard, but I'd like to try and work with him... Silly thing is sealing his fate between biting me and screaming like a banshee 24-7. Good thing the coop is insulated or my neighbours would really hate me.
     
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think because you intervened in the initial hen squabble, the roo saw it as his job to intervene.

    I would not generally interfere with the chickens pecking order for that reason -- they need to work it out between themselves, even though it's not fun to watch. (Unless of course they are getting hurt and picked on TOO much and need to be separated).
     
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Roosters are program by nature to have this behavior. He was by his estimation protecting his hens. It is his job and he was doing his job.

    He might be in a small package but you have to remember he is no different that a stallion or a bull. He is going to be somewhat aggressive and won't be docile all the time. He will react without thinking because they don't reason or have the rational to know you are not hurting his hens.

    I have been around enough roosters to know they don't learn to repsect the people around them in the way we humans do. You can't teach that.

    At this point they are HIS hens. He should have been taught from the first that the hens belong to YOU. You are the head roo and he is below you. You will have to make sure he is submissive to you. Pick him up and carry him around to show him that he does what you let him do when you are present. Do not let him mate a hen when you are around. Establish that they are YOUR hens and not his.

    Sadly, aggressiveness is something that is not easy to break. At his age he is just coming into his maturity and his aggression could get more feirce. It is not something you can predict.

    Culling from your flock should be an option. Even if you don't eat the meat. Never pass an aggressive rooster on to someone else. At 2 yrs old and with 1 inch spurs that roo could seriously injure an adult and easily kill a child. If a rooster (or hen) is mean and it can't be broken there really is no other option in my barnyard.

    There are people who advocate other ways of dealing with aggression but those do not work with every rooster and the end result is usually culling.

    Good luck with what you decide to do. Keep us posted with the outcome.
     
  6. Nugget

    Nugget Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your thoughts... I read some posts here about managing roos and thought I had been doing it right. I have made a habit of carrying him around. If the flock were ranging and he showed a glimmer of dominance to me, I would walk between him and the hens and 'herd' him away, and keep him away. He lives freely with them though, and I guess that makes the flock his, doesn't it?

    In the beginning he had a royal fit being carried, but has come to accept it without struggle. I thought that might mean he accepted me as being dominant.

    Of those of you who keep a roo around, does he live freely with the hens? Do you house him separately? Is there anyone out there who actually has a nice pet roo?

    These are my first chickens, and I have to say I had no idea a rooster had the capacity to do the damage you describe Prissy. If he is going to be vicious, he will have to be euthanized but i am going to do what I can first.

    Can you be a rooster's friend, or does he have to "fear" you?
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Some roosters are not as aggressive as others. If they do sense their hens are in danger in any way they will react. It is in their nature to protect the flock. It really isn't a behavior you can predict.

    In my laying flock I currently do not have a roo. In my orpington flock I do have a blue roo. Right now he is not aggressive and doesn't show a tendency to be aggressive.
     
  8. RioLindoAz

    RioLindoAz Sleeping

    Jul 8, 2007
    Yuma, Arizona
    My rooster bites me all the time, its part of thier nature.
     
  9. mangled

    mangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    My buff orpington roo, Brutus, accepts me and our family without any serious control issues. He free ranges with my flock of 17 hens. I *ALWAYS* pen him when we have visitors. My sisters kids are considered by him to be interlopers, and he has flogged her youngest, who is 8.
    We had a hawk attack recently, and he tangled with the hawk. No hens were injured, but Brutus was raging mad when I got to the run and came inside. He flogged me pretty badly, I ended up going to urgent care and having it cleaned and stitched last night. He's almost 2, and I trim his spurs. I got in the way of his duties, I do not hold it against him.
    Today, he's fine, and ate hard-boiled egg out of my hand and I picked him up and gave him some lovin'.
    They are hard-wired to perform certain duties. My hens have their pecking order. My lowest girl on the pecking order is my EE, and while the other girls tend to chase her off, I'll often see him off with her, and giving her treats.
    I like having the roo out with the flock. I also want to raise my own birds, so I need fertile eggs. I do not allow him to mount the hens when I'm in the run.
    I guess the decision is your to make. If you really have no need for a rooster, and he gets mean, you'll have to do away with him one way or another. I have 3 roos awaiting processing for this very reason. Sadly, as much as I like Brutus, if he *EVER* showed any repetative aggressive inclination towards me or my children & husband, he'd go straight to the stewpot.
    Rooster-red, a member here, has an excellent page on roo behaviour. It was worth the read, and we've brought Brutus under control in a matter of a week or so. Here's the link:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2588-Roo_behavior
    Good luck-
    Em
     
  10. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 roos, a BO and a RIR and about 45 hens. The roos are both well-behaved and have never been a problem. Each roo has his own flock: my 15 BO hens and 1 roo roost together at night in one henhouse, while the other roo watches over the other 30 hens in a second henhouse. They all free-range and intermingle together during the day. I have made it a point to NOT interact with the roosters -- I'm not sure that this is the right thing to do, but it seems to have worked. I'll pick up a hen, but I don't pick up the roosters.

    Basically my roosters seem to spend all of their time mating, running after hens trying to mate, keeping a watchful eye out for hawks, calling hens over for treats, occasionally chasing each other, and often acting silly and vain. there aren't many children around here and the times there have been children they've been adult-supervised and the roos dont seem to notice or perceive them as a threat since there is so much space and the chickens range out in the meadows, barns etc. More often than not, they want a treat from humans like the hens do.

    Hope this helps with more roo info...
     

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