Rooster aggression question.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MontanaDolphin, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Songster

    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    My rooster (Zeus) is an 8 month-old Barred Rock that I have raised from a day-old chick. My original flock of 6 was supposed to be Zeus and 5 pullets, but turned out to be Zeus, three other cockerels, and two pullets. When they were 4 weeks old, I purchased 6 more chicks (supposed to be BR's as well, but there was a mix-up and they turned out to be BR crosses called Commercial Blacks...all pullets). When the extra roos reached about 20 weeks old, they became dinner. So now my flock consists of 1 Rooster (Zeus), and 9 pullets (2 BR, 6 Commercial Blacks).

    Zeus never acted aggressively until about two months ago. He charged my 10 year-old son, wing dipped low. I read a suggestion on how to put a rooster in his place, so I had my son chase and catch Zeus, push him down to the ground, and hold him there until he didn't move when my son released the pressure on his back. I do this technique as well, as does my husband, if Zeus shows any dominant behavior in our presence...including mounting hens right in front of us. Zeus is bad, we dominate, he backs down, everything's hunky dory...for usually a week.

    Zeus' acts of dominance and aggression are becoming more frequent. He went after my younger son (who is 8 years old) a few weeks ago and drew blood on his leg from his beak. We reacted the same as always, pushing Zeus down until he submitted. Zeus never went after me, nor did he ever go after my husband. Then last week, I was walking in my yard near the flock (they were out of the run for free-ranging time) and Zeus came up behind me and got me with his he jumped up and threw his feet in front of him to hit my lets. Didn't hurt or anything, but I wasn't a happy mama. I ran him down, pushed him to the ground until he submitted. Then I picked him up, sat in a chair, and made him sit in my lap for about 5 minutes. He finally "unfroze" and jumped down.

    The day before yesterday I was giving them their treat for the day (rolled oats), calling "chick chick chick" like I always do to get them to come for it. I was walking to the spot where I sprinkle it on the ground, the flock jogging behind me, when I felt a hard pinch on the back of my leg. I turned and Zeus was in an aggressive stance, and charged me again, trying to bite my leg. This time I didn't grab and push...he felt what it was like to have a foot up his butt.

    He came at me again yesterday. I'm stumped. I've put him in his place and he has submitted every time. I have no problems with him after these attacks for the rest of the day. It's like he forgot he got put in his place. He keeps attacking and challenging. I have heard that there are some roosters you can never break from aggressiveness. I have been hoping this is not the case with Zeus...but I'm starting to wonder. Does this mean he is one of those roosters that is best just eaten for dinner? Or do you think it has to do with him still being young...only 8 months old? What should I do? Is there another way to put him in his place so that he will stop attacking me and my children? If I don't break him of this bad habit soon, he WILL be dinner...I will NOT have an aggressive rooster around my boys.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Songster

    Jun 13, 2013
    I'm sorry to hear that Zeus's personality is taking a change for the worse at the moment. But am glad to hear that no one (including the kids) are acting afraid of his tests, and that you are all making him submit without backing off, or, ever reenforcing his bad behavior. There is only one alpha head of flock, and that is you, so he must submit accordingly and move himself when you walk through.

    There's many lines of thoughts on roe's aggression… I read on a thread where one person washed their roo in a frilly scented bubble bath to take his highness's britches down a few notches (as I recalled, it worked, lol). Another person said they walked around with the roo underarm for half an hour, another said he placed his roo in a corner then made him bow and submit, etc. Some ideas work, some don't as all roos have different personalities.

    We have 16 roos in a partially free-ranging flock of 88 P RIR/ Cochin/Bantys. Different ages, but surprisingly, they get along reasonably well with each other, and us. But, we have had only one cockerel "Nipper," test me on a few occasions… attacking my crocs, nipping my arm if I don't pay attention to him quickly enough, charging up to me. He has been good for months now, so for now, he is safe from freezer camp (we keeping an eye on him though!).

    And like you, I made him submit quickly on the ground whenever he felt the need to test. The only thing I add to the submission is, using my index finger, I "peck" him firmly once (but not excessively hard- just enough) on top center of the head (like chickens do to each other when establishing pecking order to lower ranking chickens). Maybe this idea doesn't truly translate from human to chickens since I haven't heard of anyone else doing this? but to me, this method does seem that said offender does act chastised, and wants to quickly turn and run away. Usually, at that point, I will pick him up and hold him for awhile, tucked under my chin with his head on my shoulder (facing away from face), so I make sure he seems calm, with no agitation, before I let him go. Your boy may not allow for that, but I always prefer our roos to be calm with no struggling when I deal with them. Usually he will be nearly squatting on the ground when he's down.

    Nipper (or even some of the others) may become more aggressive down the road, and we will have to decide then as their DNA programming becomes clearly apparent. Hopefully others will weigh in on this with more ideas. Best wishes!
  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Given your actions to date and the attacks on you and your children, I would get rid of him. Relocate or freezer camp, as appropriate.

    Roosters are interesting, the reason I kept mine, but not worth the trouble of having to defend yourself all the time.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by