Raising a good rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lablover, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    I have a 9-10 week old cockerel that has been my "pet" since it was a chick. He sat on my arm, and ate in my lap. I know that he is no longer a "pet" and I want to do what is right with him. He will be the rooster for a flock of 5 hens. Right now, he seems to discipline them a lot, especially when they come running back to the flock, he runs to them and gives a good peck. I can only pick him up if I'm right next to the coop, or if I coax him with food. He doesn't scream when I get him, and I can do just about anything with him. He used to love to sit on the chair with me, but since we've gotten rid of the other cockerels, he has stopped doing this. He is now concerned only with his girls. Whenever there is a lot going on, dogs barking, or a lot of energy in the air, I can't always pick him up without him acting like he doesn't want me to touch him. He doesn't peck like he's attacking, but he does watch my hand as it goes around him which is something he doesn't normally do. I understand this as he has a flock to protect, and he has to survive as well, so he's on alert. And when I'm picking the girls up around him, and they scream, he tends to get really close. I'm afraid that this could be bad later on, so is there something I should do now? I know aggression can be inherited, but I want to make sure that he knows I'm the boss.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  2. Try and spend more time with him, try getting down to their level and talking to him, whilst giving him his favourite treats.[​IMG]
    Hope this problem gets better soon
    Good Luck
  3. chickenreferee

    chickenreferee Chirping

    Jun 2, 2012
    Statesville, NC
    Sounds mean, and maybe not for every roo, but when mine start to get testy I pick them up and carry them around upside down. Usually gets the message across that I'm the head hen.

    Just be aware and careful. Getting flogged is painful....and dangerous especially if you have little ones around.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    He is allowed to be concerned with what you're doing as long as he doesn't attack you. That's normal and right for him to watch what you're doing with his hens. Give him his space, leave him alone when there's a lot of turmoil so he can watch his hens at that time, which is his job. So far, it sounds completely normal and non-aggressive. Just do your chores and ignore him for the most part, unless he actually bites or flogs you. Don't pick him up just because you want to pick him up, not unless you have a specific purpose for it. He's not a baby anymore and he has a job to do.
  5. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    I can't pick him up just to look at him!?[​IMG][​IMG] Other than that, I only pick him up to move him out of the coop if I need to.

    What should I do if he does bite me?
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Tipperary, Ireland
    I have a 2 year old rooster here that I raised from day 1. His name's Heide. He lived in the house, went everywhere with us in the car... He was a total pet. When he matured I introduced him to the flock and he fit in well. He's now my top rooster. I have 2 roos that I breed with etc and some youngsters that we've hatched. (I'm selling them off slowly.)
    Heide never once pecked me, attacked another chicken without good reason (like when the 2nd in command challenged him) or gave us any problems. He doesn't like me picking him up, though I still do occasionally. He puts on a bit of a show if i do it in front of his ladies [​IMG]
    He's behaving like your rooster. It's perfectly normal. He also comes running if I pick up a hen. He doesn't like attention when something's going on. We're still crazy about each other, I don't feel like I've lost him, but his flock is his first priority now.

    It sounds like you've got a good boy there. If, for some reason, he pecks you or gets aggressive, have a stern word with him. And if that doesn't work just give him a very gently slap in the head. Just a tap. Not to hurt him, or scare him. Just to remind him.
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    At first, I missed that he was just about 10 weeks old. You have only a few weeks before the hormones begin raging. If he does bite you now, grab him up and clamp his beak shut with your fingers for a few seconds. They really hate that. Do that every time he nips you at all. In about a month, that's when you need to watch for signs of true aggression, when his hormones kick in.
  8. lablover

    lablover Songster

    Apr 7, 2012
    Sumi, he does sound like mine. I sure hope he's a good boy!

    Speckledhen, one of the cockerels I got rid of was about 12 weeks old, and he was starting to bite when I tried to pick him up. He also started threatening to use his feet. So I kinda knew when to expect the aggression to start with the one I kept. I've handled this one a lot more than I did the other one though. Not sure if that makes any difference at all. I'll remember not to mess with him when there's a lot going on. The only time this one has actually biten me was when he sat on the arm of my chair. I think that he was just curious then though as he acted like he was trying to pick a piece of my shirt up. Since he has stopped sitting with me, there have been no more bites.

    Thank you all for these tips. I feel a bit more prepared now!
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    The simple truth is that there is no magic formula that creates the perfectly behaved rooster. His genetics play a large part in what he will become, situations such as repeated predator attacks can change a formerly non-human-aggressive rooster into a nervous, unpredictable mess, etc. Handle him, not handle him, whatever, may make no difference. You'll have to play it by ear as situations crop up and hope he's one who will be one of the good guys when he is grown. Just remember that he can't do his job when he's being a pet. He needs to be focused on the hens and his surroundings, not on you.

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