Rooster Aggression Questions

Gilbird

Chirping
Feb 23, 2018
49
94
69
Northern Ohio
Nearly a year ago we inherited a group of chickens; they were about 6 weeks old. One of the Delawares ended up being a rooster, and we decided to keep him. Up to this point he has been pretty low key. He recently has been hard on his favorite hens, which made us consider culling him, but we we had not yet decided.

This morning he jumped me from behind and then charged at me again before submitting and walking away. We have a toddler that likes to be outside just as much as our chickens :), so there is no way that he is allowed to stay now.

This all made me wonder about rooster aggression. I’ve read plenty of good stuff on here about nice roosters, so I know they exist. But can people that know rooster behavior tell me:
-How long does it take for aggression to show? Does it usually take a year? Less, more, or just whenever?
-Does the aggression ebb and flow with hormones? Are there hormonal cycles for roosters?
-Our guy used to mate with the whole flock—well, except for one who was savvy and could out maneuver him. Now he’s down to just 4-5 poor girls. Is this typical?
-I am guessing on this, but does aggression have nothing to do with capability to protect the hens? He sucked at it—hawks could be circling his head and he was clueless.
-Are roosters not always at the top of the pecking order? We have a couple of old ladies that I think rule the roost. He pretty much avoids them.
-Are there breeds that are more likely to be aggressive? He’s a Delaware and we also have a 4 week old Marans male in our brooder that I’m wondering about now.
-Are aggressive traits genetic? Just this past weekend we hatched some eggs that he fertilized.

Also, can someone share what to do if a rooster attacks? I acted instinctively and roared at him and jumped toward him and he backed down. I just didn’t know if if was better to flee or fight.

And just so you can match a face with the crime, here is the offender. I have to say, I won’t really miss him
E42B3C52-DA74-4F22-9A17-78FDDBFDD5CB.jpeg
 

BantyChooks

Pullarius
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Aug 1, 2015
59,369
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My Coop
My Coop
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/is-it-worth-it.1217178/page-13#post-19443949
Here's a link on my experiences with aggressive roosters.

-How long does it take for aggression to show? Does it usually take a year? Less, more, or just whenever?
I find 7--12 months is generally the 'challenge time'. They're usually safe by two years.

-Does the aggression ebb and flow with hormones? Are there hormonal cycles for roosters?
Spring rush can spark more aggression. They feel high on their own fumes, they're finally getting out of the coop, and warm weather and longer lighting stimulate breeding... so yes, in a sense.

-I am guessing on this, but does aggression have nothing to do with capability to protect the hens? He sucked at it—hawks could be circling his head and he was clueless.
I think that's more of a bird to bird thing. Some very good flock protector roosters are man fighters, and then again, some useless birds are man fighters too.

-Are roosters not always at the top of the pecking order? We have a couple of old ladies that I think rule the roost. He pretty much avoids them.
No, not always. It's more typical to have them be top bird but cockerels are often scared of a few older or scrappy hens.

-Are there breeds that are more likely to be aggressive? He’s a Delaware and we also have a 4 week old Marans male in our brooder that I’m wondering about now.
Production reds have some repute as being nasty. I can't think of any others off the top of my head. Honestly, I have never noted a difference between any of the hatchery birds I have tried.

-Are aggressive traits genetic? Just this past weekend we hatched some eggs that he fertilized.
Yes, there is a genetic component. While not 100%, it's definitely there. Cull his offspring carefully for temperament.
 
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Cheers2Ya

Songster
Apr 9, 2016
113
124
137
North Dakota
That's too bad! I have one of those and he is pretty mellow, never attacked, and is good with the girls. I also have a Cochin rooster who is very unchivalrous, but is also not aggressive. I don't have any real words of wisdom tho!
 

BantyChooks

Pullarius
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Aug 1, 2015
59,369
212,771
1,737
My Coop
My Coop
Also, can someone share what to do if a rooster attacks? I acted instinctively and roared at him and jumped toward him and he backed down. I just didn’t know if if was better to flee or fight.
Your instincts were right! Running away is the worst thing possible, IMO.
 

Gilbird

Chirping
Feb 23, 2018
49
94
69
Northern Ohio
Your instincts were right! Running away is the worst thing possible, IMO.

Good, I’m glad to know that. My poor kids are scared to death of him now. I hate that there is fear surrounding the chickens. I am ready to start with a clean slate. Your post that you linked was amazing—thank you! I just sent the link to my husband so he can read it too and we can hopefully have a good roo this time.
 

MANNA-PRO

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