Newbie needs help! My sweet little roo is going nuts!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Muffin14143, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Muffin14143

    Muffin14143 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 11, 2013
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    I have kept chickens for a while now. I lost my sweet Salmon Faverolles roo two years ago. I was devastated. He was my best friend. I spent hundreds of dollars at a vet trying to save him. He got surgery to remove his toes, and antibiotics. It didn't work. My mom took him to the vet where he was peacefully euthanized. He was one of two chickens I ever lost. So, recently, this November, I decided to get a little bantam to settle my hens, who were picking on each other. He is a bantam Mille Fleur D'uccle and he was such a little sweetheart. I loved him, played in the yard with him, snuggled him. I even brought him to a preschool and had little kids pet him. Sadly, my pretty little bird developed frostbite. So, for a while, l took him inside and kept him in the basement, especially at night. He would crow all day, and sometimes at night. I think that is what made him go crazy. He has turned vicious. He attacked me 3 times, and my sister and my father once. My dad has a horrible gash down his hand just from trying to change the water. He was raised very nicely, and lived in a very nice farm where he was handled daily. Please, l'm desperate. If he keeps this up, we might have to give him away. He was such a sweet little fellow too. Do you think there is anyway this behavior can be undone? I love him, and he is a pet, just like a dog or cat for me.
     
  2. Muffin14143

    Muffin14143 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! These are going to be a big helping in working with him. I also forgot to mention, my coop is totally predator proof. There is no way any predator could possible hurt my chickens. So it is really no issue if he doesn't defend the hens. Of course, that is in his instincts, but I don't care of he becomes "too tame" and won't protect the hens. He (and the hens) are simply pets and l don't consider them livestock.
     
  3. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, but your perception of him is definitely not the same as his perception of himself. He takes his responsibilities of protecting his girls very seriously, even when there's no real threat he needs to protect them from. ;)
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    How old is your roo? Age and hormones may be a factor in his change of behavior. Also, being coincidental, his removal from the hens probably has upset him and caused his mistrust.

    Is he still being kept separate?

    Can you give us any more information as to what incidents occurred during this time he got frost bite and had to be removed from the flock?
     
  5. Muffin14143

    Muffin14143 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, he is about 9 months old. He is no longer inside. I put antibiotic ointment and vaseline on his comb instead of cooping him up away from his girls. He didn't start doing this until I started taking him inside. I feel bad. I was trying to take good care of him and it had the opposite effect. We were also hit very badly by the storm. It was terrifying, and our entire yard has been destroyed. I think he (and the hens) might have been traumatized by it. It was really scary, and afterwards, the whole flock had to come inside (we needed to evacuate, our house was too cold). I haven't been able to spend a lot of time with him for a few days, its been really crazy around the house and neighborhood. He may be just really stressed out. My mom has been going to see him, and she says he acts very defensive and frightened. Thanks for the quick reply.
    P.S He is my avatar picture and his name is Guy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  6. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    He's a handsome little guy. I hope he doesn't lose too much of his comb.

    Obviously, he's upset by the drastic disruption to his existence. You assumed that correctly. However, now he not as trusting as before because he is afraid things will fly apart again, a terrible thing for a rooster who takes his job seriously.

    He's within that hormonal time frame where roosters can change on a dime if something upsets their world. So you need to keep things on an even keel for the flock. He wants to protect the hens at all costs, so you will need to teach him he can trust you and his other humans again. Do this by bringing contact with humans down to slow motion. Just have one human at a time with the flock, and make sure you go very slowly when handling him and the hens. Any quick movements and loud noises can set him off.

    You can re-establish trust by bringing him treats. Offer them to him very slowly, and he'll most likely distribute them to the girls. When he's eating a treat, slowly touch him on his back. By touching him you can teach him to trust you. If he suddenly bites, push him down onto the ground and talk softly to him. Don't let him up until he calms down.

    It will take a few weeks, maybe a month, to teach him to trust again. But be consistent, be calm, be slow, no sudden movements, especially with the hens. Over time, handle him more and more. After he appears to trust you again, then let other humans come into the pen and reach out to him as you've been doing.

    You've caught this early, and I believe you can turn him around if you devote the time to it.
     
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  7. DraigAthar

    DraigAthar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never give treats to my roosters. The whole point is to be the dominant rooster, yourself. A dominant rooster would never give food to a subordinate rooster. I think giving him treats would just confuse him about his place in the peck order, in relationship to humans.
     
  8. Muffin14143

    Muffin14143 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, treats are bad? He really is a pet, but I want whats best for him. I understand that he is a rooster, not a baby, but I guess my old rooster was more of pushover. I could do anything with him and he wouldn't care. But, all pets have different personalities, and I, as the owner, have to work with them. He always loved treats before though. I want him to be happy, but I also want to be able to play with him like I did before he got like this.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    It's your decision alone as to how to treat your rooster and your hens. I haven't seen anything that would suggest that giving a rooster treats will cause him to disrespect you. Roosters behave like roosters with each other. Humans behave like humans with roosters. I have every reason, from personal experience, to believe that roosters are smart enough to tell the difference between you and another rooster.

    The important issue here is to re-establish trust with your rooster. He's been traumatized by recent events. You need to do things to reassure him that his world is okay, and that he can trust you again. Be gentle, but firm with him. By offering him food or something he likes from your own hand will get him to associate good things with your hands and will help him to learn to trust you again. It's important that you touch and handle him gently so he'll be comfortable with your role as his and the hens' caretaker. By not touching a rooster, it forces him to remain separate from his humans, and he's more apt to distrust you than if he handled a lot.

    The way other people handle their chickens is up to them. You get to decide how to handle yours. If you want pets who are friendly with people, you need to handle them a lot.
     
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