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Rooster aggression or maturing?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mi2bugz, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today I went to let my "motley crew" out like every other day. While I was getting their scratch ready to toss out my 18 week old roo grabbed hold of my jacket, released, and grabbed it again. I know I have to show I am top "rooster" but how do you when he does something like that? If he fluffs at me, I fluff back and let him walk away first. My husband has been picking him up when he shows any sign of aggression and football holds him until he submits. This is our first batch of chickens and the people we bought them from scared us into thinking they were so fragile that we had up be delicate with them so they weren't held very often but we did interact with them and did belly rubs and let them walk around while we sat on the floor. I am afraid we didn't handle them enough because none if them like to be held but after we get them still they kind of purr but don't relax.

    After grabbing hold of my jacket 2 times the roo went after then dominant hen. He started going after the back of her neck and she was flapping and squawking. Was this aggression toward the hen or mating ritual? Trying to figure out what behavior I have to correct and how because we love our little roo and would like to correct behavior vs giving him away.

    Thank you for any help!

    ~ Nicole
     
  2. Mattsiewrt94

    Mattsiewrt94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    He the rooster like got on her back and pull her neck feathers that's mating and for your chickens not wanting to be held how old were they when you got them I don't hardly ever pick mine up unless I need to scan them out but my roosters have attacked me and really I just pop them on there side not hard at all because it's a chicken but they need to know who's running it around there lol and they will test you every now and then but you can't show your scared!!
     
  3. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It looked like he was going to try but never got that far because she wasn't having any of it. He stretched to reach her neck n she squawked and flapped away. I have wanted to tap him on his beak like a child's hand when reaching for something they shouldn't lol. Will try a light tap to the side and stand my ground.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m not going to try to tell you how to handle a rooster while he is growing. Some people handle them every day from when they are chicks. Some of these become human aggressive, some don’t. Some people raise them with practically no human interaction. Some become human aggressive, some don’t.

    I’m not sure what his grabbing your jacket like that means but I’d be suspicious. I think he sees you as a hen and is trying to establish dominance. I suggest you do like your husband does. Carry him around so he understands he is not the boss. If he seems aggressive, walk him down like you describe. If he tries to sneak up on you when you turn your back to walk away, walk him down again. If he actually attacks, lift him with your foot and send him air born. They are not that delicate but don’t try to break bones, just lift him. It’s not that unusual for an adolescent to test his limits but you need to consistently let him know what those limits are. I’ve had some that tested me once or twice but learned their place. I had one that never learned his place and became food.

    His grabbing the back of that hen’s neck is normal mating behavior. Mating behavior is not just about sex, it is also about dominance. The one on bottom accepts the dominance of the one on top, either willingly or by force.

    The rooster has to be dominant in his flock so he can do his job. For example, how can he keep peace in his flock and break up fights if they turn around and beat the crap out of him?

    A normal chicken mating should look something like this:

    The rooster dances by lowering a wing and sort of circling the hen for a few steps. This signals his intent.

    The hen squats. This gets her body flat on the ground so the rooster’s weight is distributed into the ground through her body, not just her legs. Often this part will involve some running away and chasing. As long as it ends with the hen squatting, it’s OK.

    The rooster hops on and grabs the back of her neck. This neck grab not only helps him keep his balance and gets him in position to hit the target, it is the hen’s signal to raise her tail out of the way.

    The rooster touches vents and hops off. His part is done.

    The hen stands up, fluffs her feathers, and shakes. This fluffy shake positions the sperm in its proper container in her body.

    There are a lot of variations of this but as long as the hen squats and the rooster is not a total brute, it generally works out OK. But when they are adolescents neither the male nor the female have the techniques down. Males usually mature a little earlier than females so their hormones are running wild and the pullets don’t a clue what is going on. It can get pretty rough and look like pure brutality if you don’t know what is going on. Normally once they mature, grow into their parts, and get the technique down this all becomes pretty peaceful, but many cockerels literally lose their heads in this phase because people think they will remain brutes forever.

    Hope this helps a bit. Life may get dramatic at the henhouse for a while, but if you can get through their adolescence it will work out. Good luck!
     
  5. Mattsiewrt94

    Mattsiewrt94 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah that's good when my roosters just started learning how to do it they failed a lot my hens would get hurt A lot lol
     
  6. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I am not sure if he grabbed my jacket because I wasn't fast enough with the treats or not but will deal with it using tips y'all have given.

    So far the hen got away 2 times and all quieted down right after. I will keep an eye on it and make sure no blood but otherwise let it take its course.

    Thank you so much!
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    In my mind, it doesn't matter why he grabbed your jacket--if it was dominance or impatience with feed. Either way it shows he thinks he can put his mouth/beak on you, and submissive animals don't do that to more dominant animals. Even if it was impatience about food, it's unacceptable in my mind. Animals can easily learn to wait for their food. I don't allow my dogs to bite my fingers when I hand feed them treats, I don't allow my 1,000 lb horses to push me around when I'm feeding them. Allowing any animal to be pushy at feeding time leads to further undesirable behaviors. Push him away with your hand or foot, depending on your posture and what's easiest for you. If he fluffs up at you, don't just allow him to walk away, stomp at him and make him scoot/run away from you for a few feet. You don't have to chase him all over the place, just make him move quickly away from you. Trust me, this won't make him scared or you or distrustful of you. It will make him respect you and know his place in the social order. My experience is animals who clearly know where they stand in the dominance scale are more content.
     
    3 people like this.
  8. mi2bugz

    mi2bugz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I took the dominant stance with him this afternoon. I went out to touch him and when I did he tried to bite through my sleeve. I took my foot and lifted him away and he just stood there after but bit me again a few minutes later when I went to touch him. Repeated lifting away. At one point he ran at me when I had the treats flapping his wings. I put my arms out at my sides like I was flapping back at him and he stopped. BUT this afternoon my 7 year old always keeps her distance from the chickens because she doesn't like them pecking at her shoes and the roo ran at her and jumped up grabbed hold of her thigh and was attacking her. It wa over in a flash but i immediately ran over stomping at him and he wouldn't "run" away. He just stood there. Toward the end of the afternoon I could go to touch him and he would run away. Is running away a "little" progress?

    Then my husband came home and I filled him in and he went to touch him and he bit him. I hadn't had a chance to fill him in on the tips given here but he used a technique his uncle had taught him as a child....he pushed down on his back (not hard but firm) to hold him in place like roosters do to hens during mating. Seemed to work and calm him down because all he did after that was walk in a circle when my husband tried to touch him.

    Do all family members that interact with him need to get dominance over him?

    The "attack" on my 7 yr old happened while they were free ranging while I cleaned their coop. It seems the roo gets agitated when I clean the coop because he stands there and YELLS at me. Do Roos get agitated when their coop is being "messed" with?

    Sorry for the long post but I want to get this under control ASAP. Thank you everyone for your insight and tips!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Don't try to touch him and he won't bite you...lol.... they are not dogs who like to be petted.
    Give him his space and he might leave you your space too.

    Alarm calls while coop cleaning, well, you're invading their space.
    Be calm, quiet, move slow, get the job done and leave, they will learn to tolerate your presence.
    Don't try to touch them if they don't like it, that will only make them nervous.

    Yes, every person in contact with the chooks needs to establish a relationship with them.
    If I had a rooster that attacked my child, he would be SOUP!!

    Just my 2 sense (not an autocorrect error in spelling)
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I heartily agree with the no touching part. Roosters aren't pets, they aren't wired to be submissive. They're intact male livestock, and while they're not as impressive as a bull or a stallion, they have the equivalent amount of testosterone flowing through them, just in a smaller package!

    Unless you absolutely, 100% need this rooster for your flock's survival, I'd get rid of him, mostly for your daughter. I'm very concerned he attacked her, and you stomped at him but he held his ground. That means you didn't do enough--you should have booted him, physically made him run away from you.

    Then again, last bird that attacked a child here had so many shotgun pellets we weren't able to eat him. Roosters that attack children need to die, period.
     

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