Rooster behavior or something else? I need to know...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AWickedChicken, Oct 6, 2016.

  1. AWickedChicken

    AWickedChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2016
    I am convinced two of my roosters hate me if anyone can justify their actions I will be glad for it because I have 5 roosters but only 2 act this way. So story time: Our red sex-link rooster has never liked me from day one when I bought him as a chick, always ran from me, never joined the others eating out of my hand and always pecked me when I was too close, please note I bought him from a local tractor supply store as chick, even to this day he pecks me when I get to close even if I'm just trying to fill the feeder or give the hens some fruit. This rooster named Craster is pretty much bottom of the pecking order with the roosters and one of the hens, whenever any of our chickens gets ''fired up'' he's the one they take their frustrations out on. The next rooster on the list is a silkie rooster that was second in command for the longest time, until our head rooster (the ''king'') met is untimely demise battle raccoons and protecting the flock, but now he's the ''king'' of the coop and his name is Viserys or the ''beggar king''. Anyways he used to like me until the hens started laying, and at first I thought this was typical rooster behavior until I talked to some of my family members (we take turns feeding and collecting eggs) and realized maybe there is something more to it. A few nights ago I went to the coop to collect the eggs which he was originally sitting on, the first thing he did was jump up and peck my foot. So I took a step back and starting petting one of the hens on the nesting shelf (our hens aren't allowed to sit on the eggs and refuse to have them in a practical place) but that didn't seem to make him feel any better because he continued to peck my foot and leg until I back up more so I backed up and tried to convince him I wasn't paying him or his eggs any attention but that didn't work and the another rooster, Craster the previously mentioned red sex-link, joined in and started attacking my other leg and by attacking I don't mean pecking I mean flapping up and kicking and clawing my legs as high as they could reach while pecking my foot each time they landed. They had a pattern like this was pre-meditated. One of the hens that I was petting even tried to jump down and get between them and me and all she got for it was a bit wing and a mad rooster trying to launch her across the coop. So I walked out of the coop and let my brother-in-law get the eggs, which he did with no trouble. The past few days my father-in-law has been getting the eggs with no trouble. Tonight my mother and I went to the coop, as soon as I walked in Viserys started charging me but my mom stepped in between which made him stop and assess the situation, by the time he was finished processing the fact that there were two of us my mom was between him and the eggs, his reaction was to simply go outside and wait until we were finished gathering eggs and feeding and watering. So my question is, do my roosters just hate me? Is my silkie rooster being broody? I'm pretty sure the eggs are fertilized, so is he just being protective? But if he was being protective why am I the only one he won't let pass? So for the novel but I am really curious about this...
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Peeps are a-peeping Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    CTKen nailed it. Your roosters are dominating you. I never pet my roosters, and I expect them to respect my space. Unfortunately once roosters start attacking like that there's often not a lot you can do to change the behavior. Chickens don't think in the terms of like or not like, it's all about a structure and a pecking order, which your roosters believe you are a part of, and they wish to move up the ladder by overthrowing you.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sounds like a goat, chicken rodeo.

    Ken and OHLD covered it pretty well.

    Chickens need to be 'managed' somewhat, where they lay, housing space, gender balance..... does the keepers self awareness of the bird demeanors and our own..
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes it’s a dilemma. I’ve had roosters attack some people but not others. It’s how they perceive us fitting into the flock. And it is about dominance, not hate.

    There are all kinds of debate on here as to whether it is inherited behavior or learned behavior. In my opinion it’s usually a combination but some are much more likely to be aggressive than others. I don’t allow roosters (or hens) that have behaviors I don’t like to breed. I’m convinced that gives me a more peaceful flock.

    There are also a lot of different ways people recommend dealing with that behavior. Centrarchid recommends you wear clothing so they can’t hurt you and just ignore the behavior, they will eventually stop. Others recommend chasing the offender and carrying them around while you do your chores or hold them to the ground and use your fingers to peck at their head to show you are dominant. There are people that recommend something in between.

    Some people never allow a young cockerel to eat from their hand, sit on their shoulder or lap, and basically never handle them. Some people do the opposite. They get mixed results both ways. I can’t tell you that one way is 100% absolutely without a doubt better than other because people get mixed results. I don’t handle mine and have only had one rooster that attacked me beyond a cockerel testing the waters. It’s not that unusual for a cockerel to test the waters once or twice. When that happens I gently remove him from my presence with my foot (not a hard kick), then walk slowly toward him until he walks away. If he tries to follow me when I turn away (trying for a sneak attack), I again walk toward him and just stand until he wanders off and ignores me. That generally works. They learn to not attack people, though on some occasions they will attack other people.

    If those roosters attack you but not someone else, they have learned you can be dominated. You can try modifying their behavior toward you, but it is always possible they will attack someone else, such as a child. When a rooster or cockerel establishes a behavior of attacking people I permanently remove him from my flock. Since one of my goals is to raise chickens to eat I have a simple way to manage that. I get the feeling meat may not be one of your options though. One possible way to manage them is to create a bachelor pen, house the cockerels or roosters together in a pen so they can’t attack you or others. That’s not a great solution because you still have to feed and water them and clean up but at least you don’t have to gather eggs. Another solution is to rehome them, but if they are human aggressive it would not be right in my book to just give other people your problem without warning them. The odds are you will give or sell them to someone who will eat them.

    I’m sorry but I don’t see any simple solutions where life is forever utopia for all involved. I wish I could.

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