New to Rooster's Behaving Badly...any Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PghChickens14, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. PghChickens14

    PghChickens14 New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2010
    SW Pennsylvania
    My husband & I have are very new to raising chickens, just starting out towards the beginning of this year. We had originally modified an older coop that been on our property from a previous owner, but unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were not able to secure it well enough, & something got at our first chickens (1 roo & 3 hens) when they were still quite young. After some extensive research, my husband built a great new coop (the Ft. Knox of coops!) from scratch at a different location in the yard. Then in June of this year, a neighbor of some friends of ours was looking to give away 2 young roosters (about 2 months old) that she had brought home as chicks, having been told they were female. (She already had an older roo & it had started to really kick around these younger ones. They had large patches of feathers missing, red spots, etc.) Even though we were hoping to have a flock number similar to the first one we lost, being the novices that we are, my husband & I agreed to take them in, assuming we would just make sure that we got enough hens for both of them to be happy. Of course, once we looked into it further, we quickly realized we don't have the space for that many chickens! So as of right now, we have quite the unusual flock consisting of just the 2 boys.
    Anyway, the 2 of them have been great to have around. They were understandably standoffish the first couple weeks we had them, but warmed up & fell into a routine pretty quickly. Now that they are about 5 months old, the larger & seemingly dominant one of the pair, Willie, has decided to test me. He had tried to take a run at me twice before, but didn't hurt me & to be honest I wasn't quite sure what he was doing. Yesterday, he ran at me again, & this time was more aggressive than before. I had shorts on in the morning & when I went to refill their feed, he jumped up & actually scratched me on the back of the leg. Again, being a total beginner, only after reading some older posts on this website, did I actually recognize that this is called "flogging" & he also has been "sidestepping" towards me a lot in the past few weeks, as well. So far, he has not tried to do this to my husband or my mother-in-law who took care of them a few times when we were out of town, & they both run like hell from our 18 month old daughter. (Although, from now on, I will be very careful letting her around him). I know I need to show him I'm the boss, but they are free ranging & I can't see me being able to catch him to hold him down, etc. like some people had suggested to other posters. Any other suggestions? And also, we always planned to get rid of one of the boys eventually because we do want to have hens & eggs. Is this behavior typical in roosters that a more experienced chicken raiser would perhaps still be interested in taking him, or is he better off for the pot?? And, just in case the breed is that closely related to aggression, the woman who gave them to us said they were Americaunas, which I've heard is a mix of Araucauna, but our boys look almost exactly like pictures of New Hampshire Reds we've seen, except they do not have waddles & their feet aren't orange, but more of a green color. Thank you for any help you can give!
     
  2. eustacma

    eustacma New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2010
    i have and arucauna roo and hes mean as hell WATCH out for your child so now i go down with hose on
    He doesnt like to be wet Hubby said he needs to go but i just can bring my self to do it yet
    had him a year
     
  3. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    Personally, I would put him in the pot. Simply because once he starts flogging, he will continue to do so. Plus once he becomes more brave he will start doing it to everyone else...including your toddler. You don't want that especially once his spurs start developing.

    I just processed 9 roos on Thursday...and one of them was my kids favorite up until 2 weeks ago. They had raised him from a chick, he loved attention, loved to be held...then puberty hit! You couldn't walk in the chicken yard without him trying to knock someone over. He managed to do it to me, my 12 year old, both the 5 yr. old twins, and the 25-30 lb. turkeys that run around with the chickens. He even fought with hens. He was fearless and ruthless and wouldn't back down-even if we would defend ourselves he would try even harder to get us. He was just born in April and he was an EE as well...(like yours)....

    There are methods to "try" to help make him stop, but personally, I wouldn't risk it. If Rainbow (that was this particular roo's name) would have been older and one of those spurs would have went into one of my kids, I would feel terrible about not taking care of him sooner. Spurs can get 2" in length sometimes....just imagine that going into your childs body or your own....definitely not worth it. Then having to go the hospital perhaps......when it boils down to it (no pun intended) that chicken would be one expensive dinner!

    Good luck!
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    What you decide to do about an aggressive roo depends entirely on how you feel about him. If you're able to see him as food as easily as just a rooster in your yard, then by all means take the easiest way out and slaughter him.

    But if you have a soft spot in your heart for him, then you need to commit yourself to his training. Rooster taming does work, but it takes time and effort.

    First thing you have to do, if you choose to try to train him, is to grab him as soon as he side-steps up to you. That's when he's more focused on his attack than evading you. Try it - it's quite easy to just reach down and pluck him right up and squeeze him under your arm like a football. Carry him around for ten minutes like that, talking calmly to him. Do this every time he comes at you. Sometimes, to establish your bona fides as alpha rooster to him, you can initiate a little chase around the yard. It's quite a lot of fun, actually. He'll usually keep his distance from you for the rest of the day afterwards.

    After a year of "training", my roo Stan is now tame as a pussycat and even stands quietly at my feet waiting to be picked up and cuddled.

    There are lots of good training threads here in the Search. Read them all, and good luck in what you decide to do.
     
  5. BigDaddy'sGurl

    BigDaddy'sGurl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    Wilkesboro NC
    I would personally take a "super soaker" squirt gun with me and spray him any time he showed any aggression. If that doesn't do it, BBQ!
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    On the subject of spurs, they are very easily removed. You simply grasp the spur at the base with a pair of pliers, and twist back and forth very gently until the outer "horn" comes loose and lifts off.

    What's left is a tiny fleshy nub the size of the tip of your finger. It will harden in a day or two and will slowly grow back. Then you just remove them again when they get dangerous looking.

    There's no apparent pain involved, for you or the roo, and very little, if any, bleeding. My roo Stan fell asleep in my lap while I was operating on him.



    At the risk of sounding harsh, it's my opinion that the only people who put up with bad roos (and leave their spurs in place) are people who are scared of their roosters or simply don't care enough to train them to have manners.

    But far be it from me to tell anyone, who would rather eat their rooster than train him, what to do.
     
  7. PghChickens14

    PghChickens14 New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2010
    SW Pennsylvania
    Its nice to hear both sides of the "eat him/train him" argument. We have become quite fond of both of our boys, & I'd hate to part with either really. But also, I don't want to worry about anyone getting hurt if the training doesn't go well. Like I said in my first post, our original goal was to have a small flock with one rooster & a handful of hens, so we need to get rid of one of the roos eventually. Maybe I'll ask around & see if there are any other people with chickens in our area, with more space, who would be interested in having him & I'll keep working with him in the meantime. Even if Willie proves to be trainable, obviously someone with more experience would make more progress & I would feel safer having Waylon (the other, more submissive roo) around with the baby.

    This leads me to another question then that I could use some advice with: once Willie is gone, how long should we wait to bring hens in? I would assume that spring is not only the time where chicks are more available but its probably better than trying to get the babies through winter. (We live in SW PA & had record-setting snowfall last winter.) I know that we would obviously not be able to introduce the chicks to Waylon right away anyway, but I guess what I'm worried about, as crazy as it is, is if Waylon would be lonely without Willie since its been just the 2 of them for so long. And again, like I said in my original post, they have a good routine. They free range around our 2 acres ( during the day & then go into their coop at night by themselves. They don't usually roam off the property & times when they have gone too far or I can't find them, I call & clap my hands & they come back. My other concern is if Willie is gone, especially since he was the one in charge, if it will throw Waylon's routine off. Thanks again for all feedback!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  8. NC29mom

    NC29mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2010
    Scotland Neck, NC
    I have 2 japanese black tailed white bantam roos (my avatar) that were raised together and alone. It became apparant after just a month or so which was the dominant. Tiger (dominant) would grab Luther (non-dominant) by the back of the head and drag him around a bit. This upset me! I didn't like it at all. Neither of them EVER attempted to hurt me though. Well, I had been looking for some hens to go with them (really I was considering just keeping one rooster). I got them at Easter. In July I ordered 15 japanese BTW chicks in hopes they could grow up and eventually live with the roos. Well, I luckily found someone with 9 hens that were just 2 months old than my roosters. SO I GOT THEM!!!! After several days, I put JUST Luther (non-dominant roo) in with the hens. Well, of couse, Tiger was outside the pen going crazy. He didn't like it at all. After a day or so, I put Tiger in with Luther and the hens. I wasn't sure how things would end up. Several people told me NOT to put the two roos with the hens because they would fight until death.

    Well, quite the opposite has occurred. Both control the flock. Neither is "dominant" anymore. Tiger no longer jumps on Luther. It's very, very, very peaceful and quiet. When one rooster mates with a hen, the other just minds his business. Now, maybe in their little chicken heads, they know which hens belong to who. I don't know. I just know I am so glad I kept both of them.

    As far as your situation, I think they are bored. They need some friends. If you get rid of one of them - leaving just one - he will be MISERABLE. Chickens like company, or, other chickens. Sounds to me like the one who is pestering you is probably the dominant one of the two. Now, people will tell you to catch him, hold him upside down to embarass him - I did all that with Tiger when he was constantly jumping on Luther. AND, it didn't work. Not at all. I have never had a rooster attack or even BOTHER me.......so I'm not sure what to tell you to do. I hate to see people talk about "freezer camp" and "putting him in the pot". But, that's because my chickens are my pets. And, I don't eat my pets.

    Do they have a large area to free range? Maybe the rooster feels like you are a predator? DO you give them treats? Feed them out of your hand?

    I wish you the best of luck!!
     
  9. PghChickens14

    PghChickens14 New Egg

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    Sep 18, 2010
    SW Pennsylvania
    NC- They have 2 acres to range & they seem to have a good time. They're always kicking around in the leaves, in the compost pile, going into the woods, etc. so I don't think the space is the problem. I have noticed that 2 out of the 3 times that Willie has flogged me I was carrying their feeder away to refill it, or a wild bird feeder that they will sometimes eat the seed that falls on the ground, so I'd like to say it's a food thing, but he has sidestepped to me several times randomly where we've been no where near their food so who knows? I would definetely say that he is the dominant one of the 2, but I have never seen him be "aggressive" towards Waylon. They will peck & squawk at each other here & there as most chickens do, but they have never pulled feathers out, drawn blood, etc. I say that Willie is more dominant b/c he is always the one that will steal food off of Waylon, bust out of the coop first in the morning, etc. & rarely is it vice versa. I do give them treats (grapes, raisins, etc.) a few times a day & they will take it out of my hand, & while they are comfortable enough to come & try to grab their treats out of my lap, step on my feet, get very close, they don't really like to be petted. Waylon is more tolerable of this than Willie.

    I do agree that we need to add some more birds, but unfortunately we probably only have the space for a flock of about 6-8 total. My concern then if we did keep both roos & only added 4 or 5 hens, would not just be about the boys fighting, but also about the girls getting overmated. It sounds like you have a fairly larger flock. I guess the answer would be to either try & find some young hens close to Waylon's age that we can introduce quite quickly, or try to find chicks, & wait to find Willie another placement until the babies are old enough to be put in with Waylon.

    Again, we are total newbies at all of this "chicken business" so any sage advice is appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd advise against getting rid of one roo. The remaining roo would be miserable. And it's quite possible the remaining roo would become aggressive, feeling dominant now. That's what happened to a roo I re-homed. Clarence was docile when I had him since Stan was dominant, but Clarence turned into a tyrant when he became dominant roo with his own flock. Sadly his new owner never found time to work with him.

    Raising new chicks is a time-consuming, temperature sensitive operation, and when it comes time to integrate them into the coop, you really don't want to be supervising roosting time in the middle of a winter blizzard at night. If you can find adult hens of any age, it would work best. You'd still need to introduce the new birds slowly to the roos so no one gets thrashed.

    I urge you to keep both roosters, and work with them both. You don't have to be experienced to reach down and grab them up and tuck them under your arm or chase the little scamps around the yard. The more you interact with your roos and the hens when they come, the more they'll all trust you and the problems should disappear.

    Read all you can about chicken behavior, get into their heads, and it'll give you confidence. They really are the most fascinating of all small creatures.
     

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