Rooster turning mean

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CailetTempest, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. CailetTempest

    CailetTempest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 3, 2012
    Indian Valley, ID
    HELP!!! I am not sure why in the world but my rooster all of a sudden attacked me this morning as I was leaving the coop. I had just gave them food. He is the only roo in the whole pen of hens. He was mean for awhile a month ago and came at hubby who sent him flying across the pen. He was nice after that. After this morning and him attacking me, I am almost ready to send his butt to the soup pot. I absolutely can not have a mean roo around because my kids 8, 10 help with the feeding, watering and coop cleaning.

    I honestly do not know what to do about this.

    A couple weeks ago I found out the 34 year old teenager stepson had been going in the pen to torment him. It upset my girls so much they stopped laying for a week. He was talked to and told not to but makes me wonder if the stepson is doing it again.

    Any ideas from anybody how I should handle this? take care of the mean rooster or how to make him not so mean? I am unsure what if anything to do that would help with this.

    Thanks,

    Vera
     
  2. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two of the roosters I've had, a RIR and a Buff Brahma, did this. The RIR I would grab him and carry him around for a while or kick him back and he eventually calmed down but was still aggressive to anyone who wasn't me. Then when the RIR died and the Buff Brahma became dominant, he started being aggressive. He would start to chase me, but as soon as he did I turned around and chased him around [​IMG] It worked very well and a week ago a few young children were at our house and played with the hens and the roo behaved very well.
    You should get everybody who visits the chickens regularly to chase him back and/or pick him up (but only when he starts acting aggressively) so that he will know that he cannot attack anybody.
     
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    I'm new to roosters - we've got our first one now and have only had him amongst the flock for 2.5 weeks. He's flogged me and my husband each one time, shortly after we got him, but we took the advice of a friend and veteran chicken keeper on the matter.

    First, when he attacked us, we did NOT fight back; act like a rooster and they'll treat you like a rooster (or so we were told). We're not roosters. Technically, he wasn't even coming at US, he was homing in on our shoes (he's a rescue bird, so we're thinking his upbringing likely consisting of foot-related abuse). He has blunt spurs, so we had no worries there and he caused no harm. But when he jumped us, we just froze and spoke softly to him. He quickly let go, looked around, and moved along.

    From there, we paid very close attention to what we had done that may have set him off and began monitoring him closely. It was easy to figure out. If we strode straight up to him or tried to push past him (sometimes the flock flocks too close around the feet, especially when treats time) with a foot or leg, the hackles would raise. As soon as we'd see that start to happen, we'd just squat down and pet his head, neck, or back and it'd completely break the attack phase. He'd bok, act a bit offended at being touched, and go about his business....and we'd go about ours.

    We've been making it a point to be among the flock when they're out free ranging or just putzing around the run. Like literally in the middle of them for some period of time on a nearly daily basis. Just sitting down in the middle of an area they're foraging in, just to prove to him that we're just there and are no threat. We also make a point of touching the girls a lot when he's around, though we NEVER pet their backs (which gets them to squat and may give him the impression of breeding them). Heads, necks, chests....everything is fair game, and we pick them up at random just for a head scratch or to carry them a bit and keep them used to being handled. We periodically pick him up, too. He doesn't struggle or even fuss about it and he's never shown any aggression when we're handling his girls.

    He hasn't come at either of us since the first two days we had him integrated with the girls. He hasn't crowed at us or when he sees us since his 4th day out. His daily, multi-event hackle raisings have gone down to maybe once every other day...and only for the few seconds before we reach out and touch him or offer him some snacks. He more often runs up to us seeking snacks and then calling the girls to join. So we're planning to keep being us and letting him be him, and hopefully it'll come down to a live and let live policy.

    So all of that said, if you've got someone purposefully going in and riling everyone up like you said has happened before, stop it! It's going to impress upon everyone in the flock that the 2-leggers are potentially tormentors and going to make everyone's life hard. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  4. CailetTempest

    CailetTempest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today was much better. Hubby talked to the 34 yr old teenager so will see what happens with that. Guess I offended the 34 yo because he wanted to really make a big deal of how sick he is.. he has a cold... and so he was in the house really playing it up. I told him to get over it since he was no sicker than anyone else in the house and we are able to get up and get chores done. He got offended and left the house back to his little house... The rooster rared up a bit at me today but i turned and faced him and said in a loud voice oh really... and i kept walking into the pen to get stuff done. All my hens flock around me when I go in there and want pets.... I am thinking maybe i need to work with the rooster a little bit.... I just hate getting attacked. My friend came over and showed me how she is with her roosters when they get aggressive. She goes and picks them up whether they like it or not. Holding them so they can't hurt her or themselves. she then pets the rooster and talks to him... When he calms down she pets a little more then puts him down gently. My poor rooster didn't know what to do. lol. Funny thing is the rooster will not attack my husband at all.
     
  5. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is really excellent advice. I like reading detailed, reasonable descriptions about how to interact with roosters successfully. It seems to me that being aggressive towards any animal is an absolutely sure-fired way to create an aggressive animal. If we teach them to expect physical harm from us then they'll always be on the defensive and ready to attack.

    I was curious that you mentioned "he hasn't crowed at us". Can you explain more about that? My rooster crows all the time but now that you mention this I can connect incidences of crowing with the arrival of people. In fact, as I'm typing this my son just got off the bus and the rooster has crowed three times. What does this mean?

    FYI--we took the non-aggressive approach with our rooster from the beginning and he has never become aggressive. In mid-winter when he started to test us I let him peck at my boots or gloves and he lost interest very quickly when there was no reaction from me. He started and then quit this behavior within one week.

     
  6. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    Sure, I can explain that. I mean that for the first few days that he was out in the run and with the girls full time, if he saw my DH or I, he'd watch for a bit and then launch into a crowing fit...always aiming right at us. And we tested it because we'd walk around the run and he'd follow and crow. He'd do it every time, and even when we go out of sight, he'd keep going another 5-10 minutes. After the first week, he gave that up. He doesn't care at all any more. At this point, he only crows from dawn through mid-morning and whenever he can hear children yelling/screaming. In lieu of crowing, he will often just stand up a bit taller and flap, which I've been told in another way they use to communicate that they're the flock lord. We just talk to him, walk over and give him a scratch on the back or comb and everyone goes about their business.

    So far as I've read and observed, while roosters crowing is like other birds singing, anything they perceive as a threat or a rival they are going to crow at. It's their way of giving warning to said threat/rival that they are there and they need to back off/acknowledge that they're on HIS turf. With regards to the bus and your son; if he's anything like ours, he may even be mistaking the voices of children as crows from rivals. When the neighbor's children are out playing in their yard, ours will go NUTS crowing...and he struts and flaps all through his fit.

    Our fellow is something of a rescue bird who came from a flock that had too many roos and too many children. He's got a nasty streak for shoes/feet...like will get tunnel vision and rush your feet if you don't break line of sight (which is easily done by just squatting down). He'll also start to lose it if you try to knee your way past him or otherwise physically push him aside. He flogged me once and my husband once within the first week. He hasn't since because we've been paying a lot of attention to what sets him off and taking great care to demonstrate that we're not chickens, we don't care about his rulership; we're just feed dispensers who want to hang out with them and be able to touch them whenever we want. It seems to be working, he occasionally starts to raise the feathers on the back of his head for the above-mentioned reasons, but hasn't done a full on hackle fluff, peck, or otherwise in about a week. He's also very easy to pick up and handle. He doesn't struggle or make a sound about it and you can hang onto him as long as you want, whether the rest of the flock is around or not.
     
  7. Dancingfire

    Dancingfire Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a Buff O Rooster that is picking on the hens big time...Not to breed but just being mean to them...He brought blood on one of them,I took her out and when she was heald and clean put her back.Can anyone tell me why he is acting this way with them?
     
  8. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    If he's genuinely attacking them and not just making clumsy attempts at grabbing them to mount them, then I'd say you've got a bad roo. That is unless the girls he's after are perhaps new additions to the flock? Anyway, if he were mine and was hurting my hens, he'd be dinner. One of their basic functions is to take care of their ladies, not rough them up.
     
  9. Dancingfire

    Dancingfire Out Of The Brooder

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    No the girls arent new...He is just a little over a year old and so are the hens all except for one who is older.He doesnt seem to bother her.He mounts and breeds them all.But can be mean as well especially to one more than the others and she seems to be acting a little broody or maybe beginning a molt and she does test him.In the beginning he was doing his job well but I have noticed in the last few days he is being mean.If he doesnt come out of it in a day or two...Believe me,he will be outta there...Thanks for your comment...
     
  10. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

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    West Virginia
    My Coop
    It actually sounds like a pecking order issue. If a hen keeps pressing her case, he's going to put her in her place; it's the roo's nature to be at the top of the pecking order. Before putting him in the pot, take a weekend or some other cluster of 2-3 days and really watch your flock. Just get a favorite beverage and sit out and observe them for several hours; see what's going on. If you've got a stubborn hen testing your roo, then it makes sense that he's going to give it back (especially if she's persistent about it). So watch them and see. If his attacks usually follow her pecking someone else in the flock, or pecking him, then it's definitely pecking order and normal and he's just keeping the flock organized. If you do have a bully hen, you may want to try removing her for a few days to see if he settles and is good with everyone else without her around, because her attitude may be the problem and not the roo at all.

    We've got one girl who was beating on another (out of the blue, for reasons we still don't understand) and occasionally pecking the roo too, and it drove him nuts. He was running all over, crowing and trying to keep himself between them to put a lid on the fighting. He was a bit rougher on the instigator at times and it did seem to stress him out at times. We removed the bully for a week and then reintroduced. He settled right away and everyone was good that whole week. When we brought her back, she worked her way back up the pecking order ladder and does still pick on the one girl, but not nearly as bad or persistently.
     

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