Nip aggression in the bud? Cockerels...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mirandalola, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. mirandalola

    mirandalola Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 2 5-month-old cockerels and 6 4-month-old pullets. Ever since the cockerels reached maturity a month ago, they've been dancing around me and my kids. I laughed because it's the same dance they do around the pullets, and I thought it was the mating dance, but this morning when I opened the coop door one of the cockerels danced closer than ever to me and then pecked me. I kicked him and he backed off, but now I'm re-thinking all the times I've seen them dance around my kids! My littlest is only 2, and not a whole lot taller than those cockerels!

    I have a hunch that butchering one of the cockerels will decrease the aggressive behavior in the other. Am I right? Also, would it be better to butcher the dominant one or the one that usually backs down? I do also plan on holding the cockerels and letting my kids hold them too, so they learn who's boss! Will it matter if we only go hold them at night when they're roosting and easy to catch, or should we catch them during the daytime as well?

    I wonder if we've been too nice to these guys. We throw them handfuls of treats fairly often, and they follow us around the yard every time they see us outside!

    Thanks!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Following you and coming forward are signs of dominance. It might be too late already, most behaviors are set in the first few months.

    I personally wouldn't keep any roosters with children that young, unless the roosters were always penned and couldn't get near my kids. I would butcher both now and not keeping roosters until my kids were much older.

    If you insist on keeping one than keep the less forward one, and don't allow any forward movements towards you, and make them move away.

    Roosters dominate each other by chasing, not by holding, though some claim holding works.

    I recommend just butchering them to keep your kids safe.
     
  3. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    A mean rooster with little kids is a bad idea. Roosters can seriously injure a small child when their spurs come in. Eat him or sell him .
     
  4. henny1129

    henny1129 Crazy Livestock Gal

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    Like the others said, I would just recommend that you butcher them both. When your kiddos are a bit older, you could get another rooster, as your kids will be bigger and in case of your roo being aggressive, they will know how to defend themselves, but for now I wouldn't keep roos. I appreciate that you are open to butchering your roos though, many people won't butcher no matter what when killing the animal is the best thing to do. Thank you for being responsible. :)
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    This sounds like the perfect recipe for disaster.
    I'd strongly suggest you get rid of all the males...and get them penned pronto....asap....like yesterday before one of your kids loses an eye.

    That dancing is the first precursor of dominance, and not just for mating but also for attack against a threat.
    Catching and holding them is not going to 'show them who's boss'.
    Kicking them is not going to do the trick either.

    Handling/managing cockerels can be a delicate balance,
    and has more to do with the humans behaviors than anything else,
    some adults have a hard time understanding it let alone little kids.

    You're a couple months too late for 'nipping it in the bud'.
    Why do you have so many males anyway?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  6. mirandalola

    mirandalola Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 13, 2016
    NorthEast Texas, USA
    When I let the chickens out this morning, one of the cockerels danced up to me, so I chased him all the way around the coop. I would have caught him if I weren't 9 months pregnant! When I turned around to go back inside he started to follow me, so I chased him again, and this time he ran under the roosts in the coop where I can't reach him. When I came inside he stayed put. I'm butchering that cockerel tomorrow if I haven't gone into labor before then! He's fatter then the other one, he should make some tasty stew :)

    I told my kids yesterday that following is a sign of aggression and if they ever see a rooster following them, they need to turn around and stomp at him or chase him. I told my second youngest that she needs to chase the roosters every now and then even if they aren't following her. And I told them that one of the roosters is getting butchered soon, so they'll be prepared. We've butchered a few chickens before, they know what that entails. For better or for worse, my daughters are pretty excited to get that cockerel's feathers...

    To us, these are livestock. We love our livestock and take care to treat them with dignity and respect, but if they aren't producing then we eat them. I have 2 cockerels because that's the luck of the draw; the farmer I bought them from thought they were pullets when they were 9 days old and I didn't know any better. I need to keep one to breed; I'm trying to get a self-sustaining food source going here. I know that roosters can be dangerous to small children, but my smallest is never outside without supervision; I also know that coexisting peacefully with roosters is possible, and I've never been one to start small :p
     
  7. henny1129

    henny1129 Crazy Livestock Gal

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    It sounds like you have a good plan! And congrats on the baby! I hope all goes well! :D We treat our chickens the same way, either they're show chickens or they're livestock that can be killed easily if needed. Our goats are a bit of a different story. :lol: They're my pets, lol! But chickens? It's easy to replace em'. Best of luck with everything! :)
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Just make sure your children are armed in case a rooster does come at them so they can defend themselves. Fishing nets are lightweight and work well to catch them.
     

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