Rooster charging behavior - normal?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by vanstovi, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. vanstovi

    vanstovi Hatching

    Feb 3, 2015
    New to chickens...been reading info on getting a Roo to not be aggressive. I have a BR roo, about 24 weeks. Just figuring out what his job is, and his hens just started laying. Up to now he has just been a larger version of the hens...not too concerned with what I was doing in the run. Recently he attacked me out of nowhere. I figured I did something to startle him or a hen so I wasn't too worried. Now his behavior is different. Anytime I'm in the run he keeps an eye on me. He doesn't do anything aggressive, until I turn my back. Then he is in full attack mode sprint. If I turn around fast enough he puts on the breaks and acts like he is just walking around. Is this normal? Seems very sneaky for an animal with such a small brain. I always have treats for them, and he seems normal if I'm watching him, so I'm guessing he doesn't feel like I'm a predator. I've read where I'm supposed to pick him up, but honestly - I go out to the run before work, in work clothes to check on them. I don't really have time to play chicken wrestling and walk around holding him for 15-30 minutes. This time of year, I'm lucky to get home with enough daylight to do a quick egg check. I could try taming him on weekends, but doing chicken chores in the run is not very convenient when I either have to keep my eye on him, or hold him. Now, everyone is scared go into the run except me and I will have to separate him out if I ever let the hens free range. My options are - live with it, make a separate Rooster Only run, or give him away and try again. Yeah, it does seem like my mind is made up at this point....guess I feel like a quitter. He is a very attractive boy...hate to see him go.

    Read the "Got Flogged By a Rooster Tonight" post....think he'll have to go. :( can't have a pet that I can't trust on my back.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome! Your boy is starting to mature into the jerk he wants to be; he'll be great in the crock pot, or in someone else's. Cockrels who attack the hand that feeds them are stupid and dangerous. There are nice useful roosters out there, and you may be able to raise a nice boy this spring. Much better for you and your flock. Mary
    2 people like this.
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    chickens are sneaky but, he is testing. Try spending a minute in the morning to hand feed treats, he should come eat out of your hand. It's a trust building exercise. Look at him and talk to him when you do it. It only takes about 30 seconds for the birds to empty your hand of food and off to work you go. You can try picking him up later when the day is a little longer. If he hasn't violently attacked, just two or three minutes of holding and chatting should be enough and when you put him down, don't let him go until he stands still and waits for you to release him. Don't give up just yet.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Never walk around him. walk through him. make him move out of your way. If he's standing somewhere, take a few minutes to stand where ever he thinks he wants to be. In other words, make him move, and keep him moving. Don't let him eat until the girls have eaten.
  5. vanstovi

    vanstovi Hatching

    Feb 3, 2015
    Thanks for the replies. I've tried hand feeding,but I can't lure him in. The hens have no issues taking food so I'm swarmed with hungry chickens that eat all I have and wait for more. Even treats of pasta or bread he will not take from my hand. Then I read some info that said to never squat down to the rooster and get at his level. So I don't know. When he started acting "odd", I assumed I was making him nervous so I started walking slower and giving him more room. Maybe that is just making it worse? I'll try making him move around this weekend when I'm working in the run.
  6. nj2wv

    nj2wv Songster

    Jan 14, 2015
    Lost Creek ,WV
    I eat my bad roosters. A good rooster will not attack you no matter if you turn your back or squat down.
  7. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    emmet MI
    Ya, I never squat, just lean over to hand feed. Maybe his is going to be a bad roo :(
  8. vanstovi

    vanstovi Hatching

    Feb 3, 2015
    Just an update.... I tried holding him and trying to teach him I'm the dominant chicken...had mixed results. It occurred to me that every time he attacked, I was wearing shorts...odd. Thought it was a coincidence, but I went to the run today with treats and food while wearing shorts. As soon as I opened the door he charged right into the yard going crazy again. I spilled feed and corn on the ground with some bread, but he had no interest in anything but going Rambo on my legs. I finally got him to retreat and put him back in the run. The rest of the day, anytime I walked by the run he would charge the fence. I'm not sure what his deal is with my legs, but something about me not having pants on really sent him crazy. Has anyone else ever had a roo go crazy when you've worn something?
  9. Monguire

    Monguire Songster

    May 18, 2014
    Manassas, VA
    Well, usually when the wife is sans pants I charge towards her too so I can't necessarily fault your cockerel for doing similar! ;)

    I pretty much wear the same outfit all the time when spending time with the chooks. The wife has an assortment of outfits and there are certain ones that drive my boys nuts. Dresses are the worst. They can and will take offense to changes. Your cockerel is also at that age of hormonal overload. Combine that with Spring twitterpation and it can be a bucket of ugly.

    I personally would give him some time to sort through the hormones but I also wouldn't take much crap from him either. Basically, put the crock pot on the counter and have a recipe handy but hold off buying the carrots and celery just yet. You could turn him around or he might be a lost cause...every situation is different.

    Best of luck!
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Here's something that works and works well if you follow through and do it with attitude:

    When is the last time anyone saw one rooster holding another as he walked around doing his daily chores? That doesn't even compute in his brain case. Chickens respond to chicken behaviors, not human behaviors. Treat him as one chicken would to this case a dominant rooster would do to a subordinate. And dress for the job..other chickens have scales and feathers, so put some cloth on your legs as protection. This kind of behavior modification doesn't take long but it does take a confident manner and consistent behavior from all humans who walk into that coop and no one feels confident when they are only wearing shorts around a crazy acting rooster .

    As Lazy Gardener said, make him give you space at all times, even when he's making friendly. Roosters don't commonly make friendly with one another unless they were raised together and have already established pecking order. When you turn your back, keep one eye on your nether can bet all the chickens do the same thing which is why it's hard to catch a normal, untamed chicken. Don't be on the defensive...dominant birds never are on the defensive. They are always the aggressors and they act first, not last.

    Watch your birds as they interact and what the dominant hens do to the subordinate ones. They make them MOVE. The lesser hens are always on the look out for the dominant ones because they have already learned this one principle "If I do not move away from this food, this roost, or this nest right now, she is going to peck me...but HARD". The lesser hens eat with while keeping a wary eye over their shoulder...and your rooster needs to be feeling exactly that way when you get done with your behavior modification.

    Find yourself a light weight but sturdy rod about 4-5 ft. in length and take a chair into your coop/run where you feed. Sit down, get comfy. Keep your wand at ready and when the rooster approaches "your' hens, give him a peck. If he doesn't move and move fast, stand up and peck him harder...then move towards him calmly and surely, and keep pecking him until he's on the run. Sit back down and watch. Don't let him at the feed or near your should be able to accomplish that now with just a point in his direction with your wand.

    Now, while you are doing this your hens may be running around and freaking out but they will soon realize they are not the target and you can see them visibly relax as they realize he is your target. Be calm, don't move fast but move decidedly and with purpose. Stare at him and don't take your eyes from him.

    Then, let him come into eat...let him get comfy eating and not getting pecked. When he's the most unaware of you, give the floor next to him a resounding WHACK with that rod, hard enough to make him jump and run. If he comes back to eat, peck him until he leaves the premises. Stand up and "hold" him in the corner with your presence and with your rod...don't corner him but just hold. If he is facing you, advance and peck him until he's running for his life. If he is pacing back and forth, trying to get away from your presence, your work there is done for the day. Exit stage left/right and let him eat.

    The next day when you go in to feed, walk directly towards him with your wand until he is moving, moving, moving. Preferably move him out of the coop into the run and don't let him back in until you are done feeding. Don't let him in until you are ready to leave.

    If all of this is working, don't think your job is done. Keep acting like you own this coop, that no 2 ft feather duster is going to rule your roost and every chance you get surprise him with a touch, a lunge in his direction or a peck from your wand until he is moving away from you quickly. That's how the big boys do it and, until now, that's what he's been doing to you...the sneak attack, the attempts to get you to MOVE and run away, inducing fear until you have to worry about attacks from behind.

    Don't feed him treats. When is the last time anyone ever saw a dominant rooster call over another rooster and let him eat the goodies he just found? Nope. That is only reserved for the hens. Let the hens eat goodies, keep the rooster away from the treats. He can pick up any crumbs that are left when you and your hens move off.

    Just turn the tables on him and he should settle right down. Then remember to keep him looking over his shoulder with the occasional peck or jump at him out of nowhere so he doesn't relax around you. And that's how the big boys do it. Soon you won't need the wand, just your confidence and presence should do it but I find it's a little fun to sit down in the coop and have a "train your rooster session" just to see if they still remember. It's good entertainment! [​IMG]
    biophiliac and daddyman like this.

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