Rooster doesn't like me picking up pullets

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by luv2greys, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. luv2greys

    luv2greys Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2013
    Ok, I hate to say that my rooster attacked me, but he pretty viciously pecked me after I had sat down one of my buff rocks after picking her up. Just came right up and took a shot at me. Not really a big deal but I have a bruise about the size of a dime near my wrist. I understand he is watching out for his girls, but shouldn't I be able to handle any or all of them when I choose? All I could think to do was to yell HEY; I mean how do you punish a chicken? Don't want him thinking this is acceptable behaviour. This is the first time he has shown any aggression towards me.

    What should I do if and when this happens again? I guess I should mention that they are all about 18 weeks old and coming into maturity. Started getting my first few eggs in the last couple of weeks. He is the only roo with 25 pullets. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Once he grows spurs, it becomes a big and potentially fatal deal. Spurs can do a horrific amount of damage.

    Quote: Yes. It is your prerogative and responsibility to handle them, for their own good. This includes handling them at will which will help them learn to trust you and submit to whatever treatment you need to administer. This is necessary for your safety and well-being as well as theirs.

    He should trust you too, especially if he has never seen you abuse them. I have had chickens of both genders who showed this trait, of attacking when I picked up another chicken, and after it became obvious that they were going to harm a human or the chicken being held, I began to cull for that behavior. They left me no option. Because it is a mental aberration, they lack the self-preservation instinct that should kick in if you slap them away or something like that; instead, they become riled up and even more aggressive. Any chook with a normal mind would realize quickly that you are capable of killing them with one blow. But this is not a normal mindset. And it isn't helped by people breeding human-aggressive birds who they gently slap away as the animal gets more and more worked up.
    Quote: In chicken language, you yelling 'hey' would have most likely been perceived as you panicking or crying out in pain. They do not express hostility or disapproval toward one another with a yell. But I understand your reasons. I don't believe punishing chickens is helpful. Some people 'cure' their roosters of being violent by harassing or harming them, which is never a permanent cure from what I've seen and heard. Or tried --- I have tried everything everyone else has stated that I've read on these forums. It became ridiculous for me to spend so much time of day 'maintaining' their retraining (read: reminding them) something they will never learn. I started with gentle non violent methods, worked up over time as everything failed to the more violent methods, and then decided not to do it this way; that's not the flock I want to share my yard with, those are not the roosters (and hens) I want to breed on with. It's insane.

    I cured my flock of violence by culling the violent ones. They are the extreme minority but it breeds mostly true. Happily, peaceful attitudes breed true, mostly, too.

    In my experience they do not start to show aggression and then stop; it is a reliable sign of a strong mental bent. In future he will most likely attack again (it always went this way with my 'duds') and it will likely get more and more serious. One issue is that they naturally go for the face, and many are sneaky enough to wait until you're bending down and only attack then, after days or weeks or months of pretending to be uninterested. But others are quite capable of jumping up to your face while you're standing; they don't even need to fly to do that. As a general rule, they will charge when your back is turned, without warning, if they are so inclined. I would always be on my guard around him. They're very fast and can blind, mutilate, or even kill you.
    Quote: Personally I would cull him, but I understand if you choose to try to retrain or rehabilitate him. I would be prepared though for this behavior to worsen, and expect him to use his spurs on you or someone else sometime in future. Some people say they've 'cured' their violent roosters but I have yet to see the cure that has stuck in the long term. Often a month is the top end of how far the cure stretches. His entire mentality is incorrect for him to ever attack you in the first place. It's a symptom of deeper issues.

    If I had to hazard a guess at what was going on in his mind, I'd bet he perceives you as another rooster, trying to mate with a hen, and he perceives himself as dominant over you or able to dominate you, so promptly put that notion into action. From your reaction, particularly if you released the hen, he won, and the idea is reinforced in his mind. Obviously a creature that size displaying the default mentality of being dominant over a creature your size shows it is devoid of comprehension of the reality of the situation. In other words, mentally unwell.

    Quote: Way too many for one roo. I would get another, hopefully an older adult, to hand his fluffy butt to him and distract him until such a time as I am ready to cull the younger roo.

    Sorry to sound so negative. I tried with my bad roos at first, but gave up when nothing I did ever worked. I have small children running about the yard at will, as they must be able to do, and cannot tolerate the risk of having a rooster who will attack without warning, or breed human-aggressive offspring. I have tested whether or not it breeds true and know it does. Not 100% of the offspring will be like him, but too many to be worth it, and it can continue to surface for many generations. The risk to human life is too great, in my opinion.

    One random possibility is that he is sexually attracted to humans. That often starts to show with bizarrely strong fascination with humans, followed by attempts to mount a hand or arm, or foot or leg. It also often descends into violence, and also often breeds true. These are deeper, powerful patterns of behavior. Natural instinct driven behavior has been replaced with something thwarted or misdirected. We are not often able to manage instinctual drives, rather we tend to breed them out of, or into, our livestock. That's done by culling those that don't fit the most profitable or beneficial social requirements we have.

    Best wishes with whatever your choice is.
     
  3. luv2greys

    luv2greys Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much Chooks4Life for your response. I really didn't think this pointed to a bad roo, or foretold disaster if I kept him. It is really disheartening as I already had to cull one roo about 5 weeks ago. He was an Araucauna and was very aggressive to the pullets-to the point that about 1/3 of the flock hid in the corner of the coop and very rarely came out. Never aggressive to me, but I knew I had to do something for the girl's sake. So since he has been gone everyone is much happier--and I thought my problems were gone.

    Now I feel like I have to watch my back all the time. I appreciate all the information and will have to make my decision. I love my chickens but this is almost too much :( I had a really hard time culling the first one. I took him to my vet to be put down as that is the only way I felt I could live with it. Ughhhhh.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Some people would probably tell you it's possibly a one-off. It's never worked out that way with mine, but my experiences are not the same as everyone's. I'm sorry to sound so negative, but that is just my experience and I am just one person, so do what you believe is right, and if you want to keep him and see if he levels out and doesn't turn into a threat, I have no condemnation for that. I wish you all the best with him and your flock.

    I think if you talk to whoever you buy your roosters from, if they're not mass hatchery stock (which are some of the most troublesome birds of all, generally speaking) then you'll find whether or not they're breeding males known to attack humans. If you find a breeder who culls for that, I expect you'd get a well-behaved male.

    That bruise sounds serious enough to me, like a fair bit of malicious intent went into it. I've never been pecked that hard by a chook. I did have one hen who would bite onto my skin and twist, trying to remove pieces. She was the last bird I ever kept from a male I'd culled for behavioral problems. I used to try to retrain, restrain, etc, etc, etc... I gave up. Some people can work wonders with animals though. Best wishes.
     

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