Rooster drama... suggestions?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Want Less, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Want Less

    Want Less Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2010
    New Bern, NC
    We have a Black Copper Marans rooster we bought as a chick this past spring for hopeful eventual breeding. He has matured nicely and is wonderful with the flock (he is our only roo). We free range a lot so he's been great to have around when it comes to doing flock duty.

    Even though he was hand raised, once he started maturing, he would occasionally issue me a minor challenge. Over the last 9-ish months it seems to come and go in waves. He'll be a dream to work around, come when called, eat from your hands, etc for several weeks. Then increasingly over a few days, he will get a little more and more aggressive toward me (never my husband, only me). I'm usually able to deter his advances with a water bottle as a quick harmless distraction, he rethinks and goes on about his business, so I usually keep one handy when we're going into those days. After his phase is over in a few days, he's back to normal.

    I noticed this phase coming on again a couple days ago. It started with him giving me the stern look when I was near the first day, then yesterday in the barn he'd be a little more forward and run a few steps toward me but nothing more (I didnt let it go unnoticed, he was reprimanded with a stern NO SIR and I chucked a horse brush at the ground in front of him and he went on away). Last night he upped his game when I was feeding horses and puffed up at me, jumped at me a couple times. He got an entire 5 gallon bucket of water dumped on his head (hey, its all I had in my hand at the time) and he went off pouting.

    Today I let them free range around the farm and when I was walking through the backyard I knew he was in a mood. I tried to just ignore him but then he launched himself at me. I picked up a small stick and tried to deter him and get him to go back to the flock, but he would not let it go. He launched at my legs several times no matter what I did until finally I was able to grab a small metal pole and pin his neck down to the ground, grab his legs and sling him upside down. Let me tell you... the neighbors across the road got a show, but it was my only way to get him to safely STOP without hurting him. As soon as he was unpside down, he was limp with wings out (neighbors for sure thought I'd killed the sucker) and I walked him like that to the pen to lock him up. He was so quiet that I turned him over and held him football style in hopes we could be nice (when he's being good and I pick him up, he's always fine being held) but he immediately regained his attitude and bit my sweater with no intentions of letting go. So I slung him upside down by the feet again and got him safely in the pen.

    My first inclination is that this is just going to get worse as he continues to mature, but I dont understand why this is all targeted at me and never my husband. We take equal care of them, however I do have more hands on contact with the hens.

    If this is going to be an ongoing aggression issue, we dont want to breed the gene into future birds. We got a BCM roo because we'd read so much that they are usually so docile. However our big RIR roo we sold last year to make room for this BCM roo was an angel compared to this. Its frustrating that he is so physically correct for the breed, and such an AWESOME roo with the flock, but we have this one growing problem.

    So before we make the crock pot offering, I'm hunting around for any suggestions, ideas and thoughts on 1) why I am being targeted and 2) if this problem can be fixed since he is still young. Anyone have any ideas?
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    You could try showing dominance chicken style: push his back to the ground and gently but firmly pinch the back of his neck until he stops resisting. There is no guarantee that it will work, but it is worth a try.

    It is interesting that he goes in phases. My rooster actually seem more aggressive toward me when I wear red or am holding something red.
  3. RoosterRidge

    RoosterRidge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2011
    Dry Fork, Va.
    Ours did the same thing but really only towards my husband... The few times he did that to me I would chase him until I got him and would firmly put him under my arm... The more he complained the tighter I would hold him... After a few weeks of that, he does not do that to me anymore... Now I am not saying that I didn't have a few cuts and bruises from him to begin with but he calmed down... He will still try to mess with my husband from time to time but he will stop him real quick... I look at his spurs and think what would I do if he came at me with those... I hope I never have to find out [​IMG]
  4. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    It'll get worse or stay the same, but it won't get better. You're the top of the food chain. Chickens are food. Eat him and get another rooster.
  5. Chic_girl

    Chic_girl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2011
    Near Columbus OH
    Hmmm... I've delt with a persistant, agreesive rooster by treating him like a lower member of the flock. When chickens show dominance, they peck at each other, and chase each other. With my roo, the first time he attempted to challange me, I 'pecked' him behind his comb with my fingers, and forced him onto his chest on the ground. I held him there, then every time he flared up, I would chase him far from the flock. I still 'peck' him occasionaly, to make him know I'm the boss. Our relationship hasn't suffered to badly- he still comes to me for back massages...

    One thing someone on BYC told me ( I don't recall who!) is that rooster's won't mate with their hens when another higher-ranking rooster is in the vicinity. If you catch him in the act, you could try chasing him off, to declare that you are higher-ranking, and the hens belong to you.

    These are just suggestions, and if problems become worse, I hate to suggest a new rooster, but sometimes, thats whats nessesary!
  6. nurseamc

    nurseamc Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 21, 2011
    Cabarrus County, NC
    Chicken pot pie is what happens to my aggressive roos [​IMG]
  7. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    There is a wonderful thread on here dealing with this. It is called Got Flogged by A rooster tonight by al6517 . Alot of great information to help you. I hope it works out for you. [​IMG]
  8. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Subordinate roosters will always test the top rooster from time to time. The fact that he is getting bolder is troublesome as this needs to be nipped in the bud.
    Chickens can pick up subtle giveaways in our body language and moods. Perhaps you are unintentionally acting unsure or subordinate and he has picked up that signal?

    Another trick you can do is not wait for him to make the first move. Mess with him by doing the rooster stink eye stalk manuver. Give him a good scowl and walk him at a fast pace until he starts to zig zag to break away. The zig zagging is a submitting manuver by him. Sometimes a dirty stink eye is all it takes to make a subordinate back down; but, he has to respect/fear you first.

    Don't humanize emotions into the situation, just think like a chicken. Top birds work hard at instilling fear into the subordinates to get them to respect their authority.

    The post the other poster was telling you about has some good input in it. There are alot of good tips; however, if he continues his bad behavior then you will probably be looking at dumplings or a nice plump roasted bird.

    Hope all goes well for you.

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