Rasing a non-aggressive rooster.

Heffalump

Songster
Aug 18, 2018
228
153
138
Northern Ireland
I've read on here that some people think rooster aggressiveness is genetic, and I've also read people saying that the way the human has raised/handled their cockrel has lead to an aggressive rooster. So I guess it's possibly a bit of nature and nurture in varying quantities.

Anyway. My current rooster came to me as a well mannered 4 year old. He's a banty cochin. He largely ignored me and moves out of my way when I go into the coop. I've never petted him and he will actively run away from me if I need to pick him up to check him over etc, so I now do that at night. He is great with the girls (10 of them including the pullet) and gets them all in their coop nice and early every evening.

Now I also have an 8 wk old BO cockrel. He's been in the same run as my main flock and his 8 wks old pullet hatchmate for a week or so now. They seem to be mingling well during the day but they choose to go to their own smaller coop at night. I'm hoping the older rooster and hens will teach him some manners as he grows up.

I would very much like to keep him and get pure BO chicks from him and his hatchmate. The last time I had my older rooster at the vet he said 5 or 6 was really good going for a rooster and he was starting to get old. So I'd like my cockrel to eventually be his replacement.

How do I go about giving him the best chance of being not human aggressive? I've read so much conflicting information around whether to make him a pet and cuddle and stroke him, or don't overly handle him and keep a bit of fear in there?

Any thoughts?
 

The Happster

Happs
Apr 5, 2020
7,741
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I'm sure there are people out there who think differently to me. I love my roosters. My current two are both 3 year old Buff Orpingtons. I cuddle them every day and have never had a problem. But it probably does depend on the rooster. I've been lucky with mine. And I've had them all their lives.
I always prefer to get close to them and cuddle them. I'm not sure if my roosters think I'm a hen or a rooster! But they always come up for their cuddles.

I'm sure other people have had success with other ways. This is just what has worked for me. Buff Orpingtons are lovely.
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
5,458
27,123
907
Gower, Wales
I've read on here that some people think rooster aggressiveness is genetic, and I've also read people saying that the way the human has raised/handled their cockrel has lead to an aggressive rooster. So I guess it's possibly a bit of nature and nurture in varying quantities.

... I'm hoping the older rooster and hens will teach him some manners as he grows up.

I would very much like to keep him and get pure BO chicks from him and his hatchmate. The last time I had my older rooster at the vet he said 5 or 6 was really good going for a rooster and he was starting to get old. So I'd like my cockrel to eventually be his replacement.

How do I go about giving him the best chance of being not human aggressive? I've read so much conflicting information around whether to make him a pet and cuddle and stroke him, or don't overly handle him and keep a bit of fear in there?

Any thoughts?

I have been through this exact same scenario. I do not handle my birds unless absolutely necessary. I have a wonderful 3yr old roo, Sven, who was purchased as a pullet and had no role model to follow, and a home hatched (purchased egg) 2yr old pain-in-the-arse Barry. The latter was raised in the flock, and has had two excellent examples to follow (the old roo and his 1yr old son), but remains aggressive and unpopular with all but one of the hens. That's the genes I think; he can't help himself and can't change. He is not human aggressive, but was showing signs of it when about 1, till I held him upside down by his feet for a while. I only needed to do that once. I have kept him solely in the hope of getting pure lavender araucana chicks (I had 2 LA hens, one of which would surrender and mate with him). He became the dominant in March, yet of 6 LA eggs set, NONE is an LA. So he's failed in that too. I am going to cull him tonight, as part of my hospital exit strategy for the wonderful 3yr old and a 9 month old youngster, who both suffered nasty injuries in a fox attack 9 days ago.

So in my experience, it is more genes than environment, but you'll just have to see how he works out. Hopefully you'll have a quicker result than I did - but you know what they say - hope springs eternal!
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
27,011
20,544
926
Holts Summit, Missouri
The cuddling being a problem may be how it is done. Mine are all handled multiple times as growing up, sometimes several times a day and with some several hundred times a day by different people for short periods of time. I have some rules when it comes to the "cuddling".

Avoid looking directly at the bird
No chasing
No touching from above (back, neck or head)
No patting
No poking
Stroke only flanks of bird with back of hand
Reward bird for flying up on you only when called
Ignore bird pecking at you, do not reward it for pecking, phase will pass

I have several roosters used as public displays where need to be good around people. There work starts a couple days post hatch and can continue until pushing at least 7 years of age.

The cuddling we do gives the rooster (hens too) a lot of control. They can avoid you when they want to. In the crowd setting I have to be vigilant to address when people not following my guidelines. I shut improper behavior on human side immediately. Chickens take care of their own side well.

My chickens have capacity for being man-fighters, but I have ways to back them out. Individuals of breeds I have less experience with like California Grey's required much more effort to tame down and appeared to require less motivation to become aggressive.
 

Heffalump

Songster
Aug 18, 2018
228
153
138
Northern Ireland
The cuddling being a problem may be how it is done. Mine are all handled multiple times as growing up, sometimes several times a day and with some several hundred times a day by different people for short periods of time. I have some rules when it comes to the "cuddling".

Avoid looking directly at the bird
No chasing
No touching from above (back, neck or head)
No patting
No poking
Stroke only flanks of bird with back of hand
Reward bird for flying up on you only when called
Ignore bird pecking at you, do not reward it for pecking, phase will pass

I have several roosters used as public displays where need to be good around people. There work starts a couple days post hatch and can continue until pushing at least 7 years of age.

The cuddling we do gives the rooster (hens too) a lot of control. They can avoid you when they want to. In the crowd setting I have to be vigilant to address when people not following my guidelines. I shut improper behavior on human side immediately. Chickens take care of their own side well.

My chickens have capacity for being man-fighters, but I have ways to back them out. Individuals of breeds I have less experience with like California Grey's required much more effort to tame down and appeared to require less motivation to become aggressive.

Thank you. Very helpful.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
21,601
187,454
1,612
Catalonia, Spain & UK
My Coop
My Coop
I'm hoping the older rooster and hens will teach him some manners as he grows up.
This is how I do it; or rather how they do it. If your senior rooster and you have a working relationship then he should pass this on to the junior.
I wrote this article that explains a bit about how the rooster sees his world. The article doesn't give "how to" information really. There are so many different circumstances and personalities to take into consideration. What the article may do is help you understand what can make a rooster human aggressive.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/understanding-your-rooster.75056/
 

Heffalump

Songster
Aug 18, 2018
228
153
138
Northern Ireland
This is how I do it; or rather how they do it. If your senior rooster and you have a working relationship then he should pass this on to the junior.
I wrote this article that explains a bit about how the rooster sees his world. The article doesn't give "how to" information really. There are so many different circumstances and personalities to take into consideration. What the article may do is help you understand what can make a rooster human aggressive.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/understanding-your-rooster.75056/
Thanks!
 

SueT

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
May 27, 2015
10,552
35,794
1,037
SW MO
re nature vs nurture effect:
I had an aggressive rooster. At age 1 1/2 yr, he was culled, but I allowed a hen to hatch 3 eggs fertilized by him. She raised the babies. There was 1 cockerel, and he has grown up to be completely polite and gentle, toward humans and chickens alike. He is now a benevolent leader of the flock and I trust him completely.
I raised the father from a chick. I did not ever cuddle, hand feed, etc. I thought I followed the rules, making him stay out of my space, move out of my way. But he turned out to be human aggressive, whereas his son, raised by a hen, is respectful and friendly.
I think the difference is that the hen taught the son proper chicken behavior. I'd like to hear from others with hen-raised roosters and the outcomes.
 

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