New rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bernie2703, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. bernie2703

    bernie2703 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 12, 2015
    I just bought a new rooster but he is super scared of me what can I do so he won't be scared of me please let me know thank you.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Usually a scared rooster is a respectful rooster, I would just not chase him, ignore him, and throw out treats like scratch or food scraps, eventually he will get used to you but don't expect him to be too friendly.
  3. youngchooklover

    youngchooklover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 10, 2013
    South Australia
    He will soon get used to you.
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    When you say, "super scared", do you mean he has a complete meltdown if you try to handle him? Or is he simply stand-offish and runs away when you approach him?

    I had a young rooster a few years ago that I raised from a chick, so it wasn't that I was a stranger to him that he went into a total panic when I would reach down to pick him up. He would dissolve into a panic stricken maniac, flying over my head or anything he could think of to get away. This was much more than simply being stand-offish, and I had to rehabilitate him for both our sakes.

    If your rooster is simply being unfriendly, he will get used to you over time. Respect him and he will respect you. But if he's the second type I described, you might want to start a program of calming him down and gaining his trust.

    To do that you need to withhold his food and hand feed him. He will refuse to eat at first, but as he becomes more hungry, he will take bits from your hand. This training uses something he needs, and when he obtains it from your hands, he will become less fearful of you.

    Eventually, you can begin to touch him as he eats from your hand, increasing that to stroking and at some point, you may be successful in being able to pick him up and hold him without him panicking.
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I agree - a rooster that avoids you is unlikely to become a problem rooster in the future. A healthy amount of respect is a good thing.

  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014

    I respectfully disagree with this procedure. I think that some additional counter conditioning work should be done before using withheld food. I work with dogs, scared and fear aggressive dogs--dogs that can panic and bite. The last thing you want when rehabilitating an animal is to make it so desparate that it feels it has no choice but to approach you when it has not yet learned an alternative set of behaviors. Take for instance a dog that bites in response to people approaching and reaching for it. If you were to withhold food from this dog until it were so hungry that it was compelled to approach an outstretched hand for food, once it ate the food it would then be faced with an empty hand right near its face. That hand is extremely likely to trigger the bite response. After all, one session of hand=food isn't likely to cancel out all the times hand=bad stuff. Not only is the handler now in a position of risk of injury but, if the dog bites, the emotional response is justified and the behavior is further ingrained and reinforced when the handler withdraws their hand and jumps back. In essence, the behavior modification technique that is being employed is "flooding". There is much potential negative fallout from using this technique, the biggest being that the animal becomes even more sensitized to the trigger and unwanted behavior increases.

    A much more sound and scientifically proven method is to employ systematic and gradual desensitization and counter conditioning methods to change the animal's response to triggers--methods that work best when an animal feels safe, has its basic needs met, and feels as though it has options. Witholding food until the animal is desperate does not create these conditions. Approach or continue to starve is not really an option.

    Right now the OP's rooster is extremely fearful of them. My recommendation is that if they want to change the rooster's negative response to a positive response that they first shoot for a neutral response. Separate the rooster to an environment where external factors can be controlled. Provide for basic needs, remembering that safety and a sense of security is a basic need. Work to ensure that your presence and normal actions are associated with pleasant experiences. Do not force the matter. Start by walking up to the enclosure and dropping in some treats and walking away. Once you see he's gaining comfort with that then drop the treats, take a step back and wait. If he's not comfortable with approaching and eating in front of you then he's certainly not going to be comfortable with you reaching towards him. Remember the saying "Go slow to get there fast." Be patient. It will pay off.

    Lastly, realize that behavior change is limited by instincts, artificially selected breed tendencies and past learning--in that order. A genetically flighty animal of a genetically flighty species will have a lower potential for habituating to its environment than one with less flighty genetics regardless of learning.
    1 person likes this.
  7. torilovessmiles

    torilovessmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2014
    Central West Virginia
    Nothing wrong with a rooster that is afraid of you, IMHO!
    Chickens see us all as other big chickens (or predators). Submissive roosters fear dominant roosters, and they do not challenge the authority of the dominant rooster.
    However, I'm sure that he will get a little more use to you when he realizes that you aren't going to kill him. Remember, chickens are prey animals, so it is in their nature to run from things that try to grab them. Heredity and breeding influences this a lot, also! I have a red sexlink that lets me pick her up no problem, but my game hen acts like I'm trying to kill her if I get within 10 feet of her.
    Give it time, give him food, and he'll probably become accustomed to you being around him. Just don't expect him to like to be held, petted, or cuddled. They generally just don't like it!
    I also would not hand-feed a rooster. That can encourage pecking, and if you ever have kids around, a pecking rooster is a very, very bad thing to have!
    Good luck! [​IMG]
  8. chickmomma03

    chickmomma03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2015
    North Carolina
    I hand raised mine, and although he was EXTREMELY cuddly and sweet when he was younger, he is NOT cuddly (still sweet) now that he's older. He's 23wks, I have had him since day old. When I put him outside is when he started keeping his distance. He will rush up for treats, but back off when I tell him to (I have to get into the run, and I don't want any getting out, plus I don't like them crowding my space like that). He keeps his distance now unless 1)provoked or 2)he's concerned about one of his hens (i.e. they're squabbling because I needed to move them or got too close for their liking at the time). He doesn't attack me, but he gets angry. He HAS gone after 2 people who have provoked him. One was a visitor who decided it would be funny to taunt him (yes, I told him not to, and yes I kicked him out of the run after doing so). Yesterday he got scared by my son's father (who ALSO hand raised him) who reached out to try to pet him, the rooster was backing up and giving him all the signs to back off and pecked his hand defending himself (he got cornered and reacted). Anyways, my point is, I don't expect my rooster to be all cuddly, he has a job to do and he takes it very seriously. As LONG as he isn't coming after me unprovoked then we're good, but the minute he steps sideways I'll put him in his place.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you just bought him, first thing is just give him some time. He's in a new environment, he may never have been handled, let him chill for a good week or so. don't pressure him until he's overall more settled.

    After that, start with food/treats and getting him used to your presence. It's going to be slow, but he'll get used to you little by little.

    I'm in the "non-pet" category, I don't want my roosters in my face or lap or under my feet (any of my birds, actually), but they don't need to freak out just cause I'm working in the pen or collecting eggs.
    1 person likes this.
  10. KimPahl

    KimPahl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2015
    Jefferson, NC
    I know this is kind of an old thread, but I'm happy to read it. We just purchased (2.5 days ago) a 2 year old rooster who the owner said was very friendly and sweet and had never been aggressive. He is currently in quarantine away from my 3 hens for the time being. I know he must be scared and lonely being away from his old flock.

    I have been checking on him to make sure he's eating and spending some time with him so he gets used to me. I saw him go to his feed the other day and I think (but not sure) he's drank his water. However, I've left him food scraps and seeds that are still sitting in his coop that look to be untouched. He also has untouched the meal worms I left. Could this be due to stress or being scared?

    I was wondering how long it takes generally before he would get used to us. Our 3 hens took a few weeks so I'm assuming the same with him also. He doesn't freak out when I'm near him or approach him, he just moves away and acts like he doesn't trust me, which I'm sure he doesn't. I'm giving him his space and allowing him to get used to his new environment.

    Good news is, today he eat some meal worms out of my that is progress! And he does allow me to pick him up without even a peep.

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016

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