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Occasionally Aggressive Rooster question.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by calyb, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. calyb

    calyb Out Of The Brooder

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    I hope this is not offensive to anyone and I may just be crazy but, could my menstrual cycle affect how my rooster acts towards me?

    A little back story: I have a rooster I've had for a few years. He was given to us by a friend because he was trying to kill the other smaller roos and we did not have any chickens at the time. Our previous tiny flock of 4 had been killed (we believe it was raccoon) a few months before so we took him in. We had raised the previous four from chicks and except for the occasional top trying to challenge us (very rare) we had no issue with them. But the new rooster was EXTREMELY aggressive when we first got him, his previous owner had been keeping him in a medium size dog crate away from the others so I am guessing it made him extra mean. You could not get near him or he would literally try to kill you. (I also do not think his previous owner was very kind.) I worked with him over the next couple of years, talking to him, feeding him treats and even building him a new coop and run but he was still aggressive and it was almost impossible to get inside the run unless he was locked in the coop, which is difficult. So we got him some friends, three pullets (now hens) and that seemed to calm him tremendously but I continued to spend time with him and feed him treats, he will take them from my hand (the girls still will not) and coos and cahhs when he sees me coming. He has even let me pet him through the fence a time or two and will allow me access to the run to feed/water them. He even listens when I tell him to go to the other side or back down his ladder (when collecting eggs). He does not particularly like my husband so this has become my job and has gotten tons easier except for that week or so out of the month. It is the only time he tries to charge and is very aggressive with me and is the only common denominator I can think of.

    Has anyone else experienced this or is it all in my head? I tried to do some searches but couldn't find anything so I thought I would give this a try. Could there be something I am missing?
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Considering that birds have a poor sense of smell, I seriously doubt it has anything to do with your time of the month.

    It sounds to me like he was conditioned to behave this way, either unintentionally or because he wasn't treated well in his former home. Or, perhaps he's just a jerk (unfortunately lots of roosters are just nasty, even without provocation). Considering how much time and effort you've put into rehabbing him, I think where he's at now is about as good as its going to get. You'll probably just have to continue on as you have been with the expectation that theres always the possibility that he may randomly attack you.

    Are you attached? I ask because you really could find a better flock leader. A nice boy that wont act aggressively towards you or your family members.
     
  3. Monguire

    Monguire Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off, [​IMG]!!!

    Wow, that's a doozy of a topic for a first post. Let me add my perspective. Good on ya for taking in this troubled guy to begin with. I think 95% of folks on here (myself included) would have just written him off as damaged-goods and tossed him in the crock pot. That said, you DO have damaged-goods and all your time and effort to rehabilitate him is likely for naught as evidenced by his strong dislike for your hubby (and likely anyone who is NOT you). That's not to say you should stop trying and toss him into the crock pot...if he treats your hens well AND you don't have a lot of folks coming around possibly having to fend off a cranky rooster AND you and your hubby are willing to tolerate his malfunctions, I don't see much reason why he couldn't be a valuable member of the flock.

    As to that time of the month where he appears to challenge you. I'm pretty firmly in the camp of "all in my head" but not in a dismissive sort of way. Let me explain. Roosters don't innately know the time is upon you...they have no ESP nor can they detect any pheromones or other such chemical indicators. What they do pick up on is visual cues and behavior. If you are anything like my wife, that time can mean being excessively tired, cold and short-tempered. These are the sorts of things a rooster *can* pick up on.

    I'm not sure how familiar you are with Star Trek, but I tell everyone that chickens are the Klingons of the barnyard. They are constantly sizing up each other (and us as their caregivers) looking for weaknesses to exploit to improve their station within the pecking order. If that time of the month finds you off your game just a bit (tired, cold/shivering, not as alert, etc) it is possible that your rooster might try to capitalize on that perceived weakness to show his dominance over you. So yes, I think it is all in your head but only because you are likely not in best form during that week and the rooster has a keen eye for sensing behavioral changes.

    Anyway, that's just my two cents based on observations of my own flock. Again, great job providing a home for this guy (though prepare yourself for your time and effort to not end well for him) and welcome to BYC...THE BEST chicken resource on the interwebs! [​IMG]
     
  4. dodochick92

    dodochick92 Out Of The Brooder

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    When he goes to attack you, have you tried picking him up and holding him upside down for a few minutes? That will show him whose boss and then he should calm down some more. I had a rooster in the same situation his previous owners were keeping him in a 2x2 cage and kept poking at him and hitting the cage. I actually "stole" him to get him out of that situation. First I let him recover with some food water and nice warm bedding. Then the next day I went out and he tried to attack me. So I picked him up grabbed his legs and folded his wings and held him on my lap upside down for about two minutes and after a couple times doing that he got the point and now he doesn't attack me anymore. He will come sit in my lap and let me pet him and he will follow me around. He is very good to my hens and protects them. He is a light brown leghorn and my hens are a gold star, a white leghorn and an RIR. Welcome[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
  5. calyb

    calyb Out Of The Brooder

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    So he may be picking up on my unconscious behavior rather than smell? I know some animals can sense it but I wasn't sure about chickens so thank you. It was the first time he had done it in a while and that was the only difference I could think of but I guess, after reading all these replies it could have been a number of things. It does make me feel a little better about it though.
     
  6. calyb

    calyb Out Of The Brooder

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    I wouldn't say I was terribly attached but I do have an affection for him. He was kind of given a raw deal with his previous owner and although it may be crazy, I am wiling to put up with his occasional bullying as long as we have him. I have a habit of taking in strays (currently have 10 cats and 5 dogs) so I suppose I feel the same about him as I do for all the others. Thank you for your reply, it does make me feel a little better knowing that is not the cause.
     
  7. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good for you for taking the time for him! Many people would just say to kill and eat him. There really are not very many "mean roosters" out there.

    I raise roosters every year. A lot of the meanness is genetic, but if you have reason to believe that his behaviour is from how he was treated previously, and taking time for him, then you're making his life better.

    I would not hold him upside down, that would just enforce his rough handling from previous owners, and undo progress that has been made.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    This....especially if you get crabby/irritable/anxious...they can definitely pick up on those.
     
  9. chickenturner

    chickenturner Out Of The Brooder

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    My rooster was a rescue too. He was feisty when I got him and it was a bit cute but now he is big and bad! Had my worst run in with him yesterday and although I'm used to this type of behavior with roosters he really gave me a tough time changing the water. Not sure where this will lead but not adverse to ending him if I can't convince him I'm the boss. I have young kids too so concerned he might cause a problem. Anyway good luck and try some of the suggestions on this forum, good people here. C
     

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