Pet Chicken, Attitude Adjustment ADVICE needed

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by franklinstreetwest, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Weeble was hatched Easter day. He had a rough get-go and just weathered a vicious case of wry-neck. As a result of the care that was required in getting him through the bout of wry-neck, he is completely a house bird. His current sleeping quarters is in the bathroom. And he spends most of the day following Mike around the house while he cleans. Evenings are spent underfoot while Mike cooks dinner, and gardening with me when I get home for a couple hours. This has worked out reasonably well...

    However, it is painfully obvious that our little Weeble is a boy, with all of the hormonal exuberance of any species of teenage male. Has anyone out there had experience with integrating a young male bird (parrot perhaps) as a household pet? We need to guide some of his behaviours without exacerbating the bad ones. Carefully placed "pecking" in return only serves to instigate sparring. At the moment we have been putting him in his cage when he gets frisky. That just makes him coo mournfully. It breaks our hearts! We have thought about trying the "spray bottle"....
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Sorry...don't mean to sound harsh here but the chicken is not the one that needs an attitude adjustment. He is only being a chicken and especially a roo and you are the only other "birds" in sight. You are his hens and flock mates and this is just how he is supposed to act.

    Would you move a bull into your living room and expect him to stop acting like a bull? A tiger in your garage and not fear for your life when you got into your car?

    I'm not saying one can't alter a chicken to fool him into thinking he's a human but I'm sure the journey is fraut with difficulties....you have to ask yourself just why you want to alter his natural instinct and habitat to suit yourself?

    My advice? Put that bird outside where he belongs and give him some hens to keep him company. [​IMG]
     
  3. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, that must be one of the rudest replies I've received on here!

    Yes, clearly I am working with a basic nature of a species. And at no point did I expect my bird to behave like a human. People keep tigers in their living rooms and their behavior is carefully guided to integrate them. Their nature is also respected and worked with appropriately. People keep all manner of wild animals and are able to work with their basic nature to acheive an end result of being integrated into their lives. Let us not forget that there are many species of wild animals that are kept by people that are commonly, socially acceptable.... parakeets, cockatiels, larger parrot species, snakes, alligators, chinchilla, fox, raccoon, skunk, hampster....I could keep going. But that would be redundant. Many things about their BASIC nature is not going to be "trained" out of them. It is the way it is. I am not stupid thank you very much! But I would much rather be around any one of these creatures that has been worked with by a handler that understands the animal and it's natural social structure, so that in captivity it's behavior might be conditioned to more easily integrate into the situations it will encounter in daily life.

    I don't let my dog just behave how she likes and brush it off as "dogs will be dogs". I don't let my cats walk all over me and take the same attitude. But I do adjust my correction to the type of animal I am working with and even the individual personality.

    As to Chickens, they are intensely social animals. Within a social society there has to be a recognized order of dominance or there would be chaos. Chickens have their "pecking order", I'm sure everyone knows that here and enjoys hours of watching chicken soap opera TV live. I have watched groups of young males duke it out to establish who is the boss.... I watched as my Dinka (their sister) showed them all that she was the boss and usurped the elder hen Daisy in the process. I have had very gentle roosters that would sit and cuddle and be perfectly polite, ones that were tortured by the flock into exile (cornish game roo, ended up living with the cats in the garage...his choice. tamest little guy EVER), and evil rotten bastards that I had to carry a shovel around to keep from getting bloodied as a kid. There has to be a way of humanely establishing a pecking order with Weeble. At the same time I don't want to establish a pecking order in a way that will condition him into being a fighting cock.

    Weeble is very young. His voice hasn't even changed yet. He is at the point of play-fighting....the same way kittens "play" so that it teaches them how to survive in a real fight. But with all juvenile animals there is a point that you let it continue to , and there is a threshold to put a stop at. I am seeking experience from someone who has worked with bird behavior to find that threshold and a well reasoned way of dealing with it. Without causing him to become a mean little monster. I don't know of any animal, humans included, that aren't exasperating brats when they're tweens and frustrating hellions when they're teens....some are better than others and the individual personality must be taken to account. With good guidance they grow up to be the best of their species....

    I know I have a CHICKEN!! I respect that and want to work WITH it because I am HUMAN and that's what we do.
     
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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  5. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    galanie: Thank you for your positive post! I'll be sure to check it out.
     
  6. KDK1

    KDK1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Well said [​IMG]
     
  7. Jackie B.

    Jackie B. Paris Mtn. Eggs

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    What if you neutered him? I know there are threads on here about it!
     
  8. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Well said [​IMG]

    With all due respect, a lot of roosters simply ARE mean little monsters. It's just their nature. Some can be worked with and improve, some never change. Roosters tend to act much more primitively, or on instinct then a dog, cat or other usual pet and they have NO inherent desire to please people like some other animals. Their goal is to be top of the totem pole, that is what makes it so hit and miss with them.

    I have a big RIR roo who started this behavior upon maturing. What I did when he would try to attack me was run him off with my rake. I never hit him, the rake was for my protection. But after he tried to attack me I ran his butt all over the pasture until he was squawking his head off. This took a few repetitions. When I'm in the barn I move him where I want him, I go in his space and make him move. If he's wanting to be nasty with me then I'll even separate him from the hens, MY hens, for a few minutes. He gets to rejoing them when I let him. All these things are reminders to him that I am top dog here, not him. These days he is pretty darn decent with me but I can never fully trust him or turn my back on him. Because he is watching and the moment I do is when he'll take the advantage.

    Personally I think a rooster is happiest outside with a flock of his own, where he can be and act like a rooster. I can't imagine having one in the house. But if you decide to keep him in you'll need to work with him a LOT. And it may be you'll always have to watch your back or you'll get the spurs in the leg.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote:I'm surprised you felt you needed to ask for advice, as you seem to have the situation well thought out and have all the answers! My answer wasn't meant to be rude but just practical advice...I'm not a "chicken raised in the house" expert but I come from three generations of raising chickens with that offered advice. I would no more ask a chicken to live in my house than I would want to live in his. Nor would I keep a songbird in a cage or a fish in a tank...purely for my pleasure and enjoyment. I always tended to let my animals be as natural as they could within reason.

    This is a wide and varied forum with many perspectives~ intonation, inflection and emotion is hard to convey in text....you may not want to ask for advice if you tend to get offended when someone politely offers it. [​IMG]
     
  10. franklinstreetwest

    franklinstreetwest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    galanie:

    I just read through that guy's blog. Thank you for posting that. He poses some interesting ideas. The method seems worth trying. Like you said, the worst that can happen is that it fails. But I least I won't have failed to try.

    Jackie B:

    Interesting idea about the neutering. I had thought of it whimsically, but sort of brushed the idea off as folly. I looked into upon you recommendation and it was interesting to find out that it's valid and serves a practical application! I definately learned something new. If I can find someone to do it, I will seriously consider the option. Regardless of my desire to keep him as a pet, he shouldn't be permitted to breed. If the wry-neck he has is something genetic, there is no sense in allowing him to pass it on. Michigan State University has a poultry sciences department that is quite helpful. They might be my best bet.

    cafarmgirl:

    Thank you for sharing your story of how you continue to manage your nasty roo. It helps to hear other peoples experiences and techniques. I grew up with birds and they were some of my best pets on our little farm, both hens and roos. My sister and I always had a chicken in arm or basket... But when I left home I didn't own any animals for over a decade. Not until I was out of appartments and in a house of my own... so it's been a while since I've been hands on, and fresh ideas from people with different experiences makes great tools for the mental toolbox!

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    I would be happy letting him be a rough and tumble roo running around with some girls, but any other bird would probably attack him. He is different as a result of the wry-neck. His behavior is a little too abnormal to be accepted. When he was with the other hatch mates, he was bottom of the order and viciously singled out by the older hens. Maybe they knew something wasn't right before it showed up visibly. That whole survival of the fittest thing perhaps? Not to mention, I wouldn't want little Weebles to be hatched out and possible carry on his bad genes. Maybee I can work out a more comfortable arrangement for him someday, but at the moment I'm working with the reality of now. And I don't know anyone that would want a slightly outta-wack rooster that is basically useless for anything but dinner or bird-dog training. And I don't consider those options in this case. I am comfortable keeping a chicken as a useless pet. My cats are absolutely useless, and so is my dog. They eat, sleep, and emit bodily fluids everywhere for me to clean up. And as far as I'm concerned, they only seem intent to please when it's meal time, which is ultimately self serving. I have to wonder if anyone has done a psycological study on why humans keep dogs and cats (or any animal for that matter) as pets. Particularly when the pet serves no practical function. I enjoy the nurturing and watching their different personalities and habits. It adds texture to my life and home. Despite the fact that if you get right down to it, they are simply a drain of resources that don't contribute to basic survival. A luxury. A hobby. Or a friend....some people have VERY weird friends. I can't imagine keeping an iguana or snake, but plenty of people adore them. I don't judge, especially when it's a responsible owner that cares for that animal and doesn't just discard it when it didn't turn out the way they imagined it.

    Thanks again to everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

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