Rooster aggression, they're dropping like flies....advice?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rachiegirl, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. rachiegirl

    rachiegirl Songster

    Apr 6, 2009
    Beaver Co. PA
    They are dropping like flies....literally and figuratively! I'm down to 3 ...2 Comets(22wks.) and a bantam RIR(21wks.). I've culled 2 Comets already for aggression; biting and sneak attacks. Now the last 2 Comets are starting with the run up behind and bump/scratch sneak attacks. The RIR stays in the coop because the 2 others attack him if he leaves, but he does the dance and will nip at me occasionally.
    I don't, and can't, tolerate any of it. They get picked up and carried or chased/booted if I cannot catch them. I have 3 kids (13, 11, 10) and though they are big enough to catch and carry, my young nieces and nephews aren't, and I don't want them to get attacked. I don't want to have to worry about anyone, big or small, being attacked at my house.
    Problem is, I free range and don't want to be without a rooster. Is it usual to lose all your roos to aggression like this? Is there anything you can do to prevent(to a certain extent) this kind of thing? I know there isn't much you can do if it is genetically predisposed, but are there social factors to avoid that may contribute?
    Can the number of cockerels you start with cause behavior problems? I have heard there is a greater chance of them all being jerks if you start with more than 1 or 2. We had 7 initially, 5 comets the RIRb and an OEGB (we lost 1 comet and the OEGB.) Do they learn aggressive behaviors from each other?
    I know everyone has their own stories and experiences and exceptions so I will ask... in general, what are some of the breeds with the best chance for good behavior? What are the worst?
    I would really like to have a rooster and any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!


  2. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

    Jun 19, 2008
    First of all, go to this page on rooster aggression and how to reform problem roos:

    terms of breeds, it can be really hit or miss. My Cochins are relatively tame, although one of them tries to get at me on occasion. I have heard overwhelmingly bad things about RIR roosters, but some people have really mild-mannered ones. Silkie roos tend to be calmer than most, but again, there are members here that have had silkies that are real terrors.

    How many hens do you have? Have you handled all of your chickens since they were chicks?
    All of these factors can have an impact.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  3. rachiegirl

    rachiegirl Songster

    Apr 6, 2009
    Beaver Co. PA
    I have read the rooster link before and it is really helpful, and does seem to an extent. However, if I do the corrections they avoid me for a while but will still go after hubby and kids. I come from a big family and there are lots of other kiddies and adults that visit, it isn't feasible for me to have everyone who comes over hold the rooster for a while so they don't get chased while outside. Most of the kids are under 4.
    I have heard the same thing about RIR and I think that is what is coming into play with the comets. My husband bought the comets and, of course, neither he nor the people at TSC(who had them in the straight run bin) knew that comets were sex links. He thought the yellow were girls and the brown were boys. So, I ended up with 5 boys and 1 girl. [​IMG]
    Right now I have 8 standard and 2 bantam pullets. I have handled them all consistently from the time we got them. In fact, being the oldest group, the comets have been handled the most.
    I have heard good things about Cochins and Silkies, but with free ranging I don't know that a Silkie would be the best choice. I would like to have some Cochins though.

    edit: We do plan on getting more hens, perhaps not until spring though. We would like to have 15 hens or so...I want a colorful egg basket!
    Also, the 2 comet roos get along quite well and seem content sharing the ladies they have. They do pick on the bantam RIR though.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  4. Ol'FashionHen

    Ol'FashionHen Songster

    Oct 24, 2008
    The South
    I ended up with 3 roos when I ordered 8 pullets, 2-EE roos, and 1 buff roo. They all seemed well behaved but the BO and 1-EE was agressive toward the girls, so I gave them to a neighbor. The other EE I did keep because he seemed to be gentle and had not tried to even mount the girls yet. Of course with the other two gone that came quickly. He is a pretty good roo, always has been good in nature, takes care of the girls, but he will try and flog you if you were bright colored boots. So we don't wear bright colored boots., and don't chase the girls [​IMG] , he does'nt like that either.
  5. the4heathernsmom

    the4heathernsmom Songster

    Jul 1, 2008
    east texas
    I would be getting rid of a rooster....thought the barred rock was calm and cool never a problem but then yesterday he flogged my 12 year old and brought blood he will be getting a new home soon.

  6. keesmom

    keesmom Crowing

    Jul 28, 2008
    If it were me I would cull the remaining aggressive roos. I know there are steps you can take that may improve their behavior, but at this time of year there are so many excess roos (including well behaved ones!) that are in need a good home I would cull the evil ones.

    As for nice roos, orpingtons come to mind first, as well as faverolles and cochins.

    -Cindy in MA
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Cull all but your favorite roo and observe how he does for a few days being the only roo.
    If he develops a 'tude, cull him too. Then look to a buff orp., LF brahma, or jersey giant for a roo. Not saying those breeds don't sometimes have aggressive roos, but for the most part they are good boys.
    If necessary in your case, teach the children how to behave around chickens. No chasing of the hens or fast jerky motions - that will set even the most gentle of roos off.
    Also, a tiny little bantam roo can do just as good a job of warning the hens of danger while free ranging.
    Just my two cents.
  8. Chicky Tocks

    Chicky Tocks [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2666.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Ru

    Oct 20, 2008
    Benton, Arkansas
    I have 5 roos with 6 pullets in a pen right now. (I had more, but rehomed them). I had one EE cockeral that made himself head roo and he started to terrorize me. I rehomed him to another BYC member and now her little girl is showing him in the fair. He's become their lap rooster!!!

    The remaining two EE cockerals couldn't be sweeter. I also have two Cuckoo Marans cockerals and an EE/Cochin cockeral. They're all pretty sweet, and for the moment are all residing in peace. Perhaps they've seen me rehoming so many of their coopmates?
    However, at 20 weeks old, I just recently started letting them range in the evenings. The only one I've seen peck a hen is one of the Cuckoo Marans cockerals who seems to be asserting his dominance over one of his pullets. I'll be watching him......
  9. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    I have found that seperating the roos intop a cage wher I then visit a few times a day for a week or 2 with holding and pets as well as treats helps get them to understand that I am the good guy (gall) you can put in with their favorite hen if you like but I feel as though the isolation helps them to bond with me better.

    I dont tolorate mean roos, if nothing works it is of to freezer camp. But this has seemed to do the trick with all of those I wanted to keep.

  10. rachiegirl

    rachiegirl Songster

    Apr 6, 2009
    Beaver Co. PA
    I'm hoping they are just settling into their new roles and this was just a momentary lapse. We culled the alpha roo for aggressiveness this past weekend so the other 2 are taking over the reigns as 1st and 2nd instead of 2nd and 3rd. I'm keeping an eye on them though!
    Do you find that certain clothing colors/types set them off?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009

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