Rooster Psychologist Needed!!

fenixsk

Chirping
Jun 8, 2020
26
55
59
Saskatchewan, Canada
Seems to me the reason these rooster threads become so contentious is because there just isn't any one size fits all best way to deal with cockerels/roosters.

There are show, game, pet, production and hatchery bred birds, with completely different temperaments depending on how carefully they are bred.

Birds that weigh anywhere from 2 to 20 lbs, some that can REALLY hurt you, the others not so much.

We have roosters housed by themselves, in small breeding groups, in tiny TSC coops, in spacious pens or pastures and free range.

They might have 2 hens or 200 hens to themselves, they may be the only rooster or there are lots of different roosters and cockerels, pullets and hens around. Some have plenty of room, others are all crammed together.

Some are babied and snuggled with and handfed from the day they are hatched, others come up hardscrabble getting their butts kicked everyday by other birds and/or humans, having to fight for their food and position from day one. Then there are the lucky ones that get to grow up just being chickens in a plentiful, stable environment.

All these birds come from a different place and have vastly different attitudes based on how they were bred and raised up. What works for one rooster, might not work at all for another rooster in a different situation.

IMO the main thing to keep in mind when dealing with cockerels is that there's not so much going on in those tiny little brains as some people seem to think there is. They didn't suddenly turn on you, they're not plotting against or out to get you, they don't hate or love you, for the most part they aren't even thinking about much of anything, they are just acting on instinct.

No need to get your feelings hurt, wage war against them, or institute any elaborate training programs. Let them be a rooster and do what roosters do, if for whatever reason they become dangerous to humans or other animals, eliminate them, no muss, no fuss.

In my short experience, you are bang on with this assessment! We have a 30 week old cockerel that was handled his entire life, but when he turned 26 weeks he suddenly turned into the protector of the flock. At first it was a shock that our little guy would suddenly turn on us, but the term "bird-brain" is all that was happening. They are running completely on instinct, and don't love or hate anyone. Once you come to the realization that they are a primitive animal, it is a lot easier to deal with the change.

The approach I took was to make him lower on the pecking order than me. I would make a point to lightly hold him down (in front of the hens), and make him submit. All it took was 2 days of submitting him to let him know that when I'm around, I'm the protector. When I'm not there, he is in charge, and he does all the regular rooster things (calling the flock in at the end of the day, and chasing off the neighbors cat).
 

fenixsk

Chirping
Jun 8, 2020
26
55
59
Saskatchewan, Canada
Hello-
Need help understanding my rooster's behavior. I hatched this handsome guy, hand fed him, held him and have been around him every single day. He is 28 weeks old and was introduced into my larger flock of 20 hens and one older rooster about 3 months ago. He is definitely rooster number two and gets chased/shooed away by the older rooster but the pen is massive and they have heaps of room. Very stress-free area. We are in Hawaii so year round warm weather. Anyway, today I did the usual. Fed everyone and started cutting open some papayas. I feed many of the hens by hand then place the papaya down in front of them. As I turned my back to get another papaya my rooster lunged at the back of my legs I guess (I didn't see it but felt it). I turned around and he was standing there. My instinct was to posture back to let him know I am the boss so I charged at him and he ran off. WHY on earth would he attack me? This has never ever happened and I am in shock. Advice welcomed and appreciated!

Hey Shu Shu, not sure how you're making out, but I had the exact same experience. We also hand-raised our cockerel in the hopes he would be a "nice guy". At around 28 weeks old I was walking away from the flock after feeding hand-feeding them. He started chasing me, and I thought maybe he just wanted some more food...until he started attacking my shoe! It was at that point it dawned on me that he had turned into a rooster, and was just doing what his primitive brain told him to do (protect the flock). Once I came to this realization, it was a lot easier to deal with. They don't have any feelings at all, they just see us as what we are...food bringers.
That being said, ours stopped attacking us once we established dominance over him. What I did was lightly pinned him down a couple times to make him submit to me. Also, whenever I would walk by him, I made a point to "walk through" him. As long as he moved out of the way, and didn't attack me, I knew that he remembered his place. If he ever shows any sign of not backing down, I pin him down again to let him know I'm boss. I also made sure my daughter did the same thing, and he now doesn't attack her either.
 

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