So far, seems like a good boy...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cyw iar, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder

    We have one rooster with 6 hens, all are about 6 months old. The rooster has been crowing for a little over a month, the hens are not yet laying. So far, he seems to be well behaved, keeping order in the flock, and a watchful eye on their surroundings. He hasn't yet been aggressive with me... that I know of. Can anyone point me to a video of what the first signs are that I should be watching for, or will it be fairly obvious? Videos on youtube seem to be more for the funny factor (like an idiot enticing a rooster to chase/attack) than actually looking at the behavior.

    Clearly, if he runs at me or tries to peck me, I'd be able to figure it out. I'm asking more about the first, more subtle signs.

    Also, I have not been overly hands on with the flock (I'm not really interested in having them as close family pets, but rest assured that they all have a home til they go to the big Coop in the Sky!) (except for the rooster, if he turns out mean). When they're roosting at night, I try to get out to touch each one, which has made them generally less skittish with me during the day. I don't hand feed any of them, and haven't picked them up since they were chicks. They don't run unless I move towards them (including the rooster), and will come when I set out feed or treats. They are all lovely, healthy birds.

    thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  2. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A clear sign is a lowered head with the neck feathers standing on end. There are other subtle clues but this is the most obvious yet unknown gesture.
     
  3. frostbite

    frostbite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just went through the same thing this summer/fall. I had hopes of a kind sweet rooster, but it was not to be. The very obvious sign is when they come at you feet first and wings flapping. My roo's first assault was from the front, and my foot met him on his way in, sending him six feet across the run, and then I chased him around a while. That kept him at bay for about two weeks.

    The next time he tried from the back. It didn't hurt, he was still young enough his spurs weren't magnificent yet, and I was well protected in denim. I spent the next 10 minutes chasing him around the run and around the yard and around the run again till I finally caught him. I held his legs and pinned him against my rib cage and carried him into the house and upstairs to my brand new dresser with a huge mirror, to show him how small and weak he looked compared to me. Then I took him downstairs and sat down at the computer and balanced my checkbook with him looking on, (or looking down at the two drooling and interested dogs that were flanking me by then) while I talked about the drought in the midwest and the resultant high cost of corn, which of course was going to result in higher prices for chicken feed. Then I took him outside to where his hens were free ranging, and showed him to them, and discussed with them the qualities of true gentlemen. Then I took him into the run, with the hens following, apparently filled with idle curiosity. I held him down on the ground on his belly for about 5 minutes while his hens came and looked down at him and clucked and cooed. When I finally let him up, he just layed there for about 10 seconds, before he came to life and got as far away from me as he could, and hid in a corner behind a hay bale trying to get his feathers and his dignity back together.

    That lesson lasted about 2 days.

    The next time he tried it, he ended up caught again, but I didn't have time to mess with him, so I shoved him into a cat carrier and left him in the run where his hens could again admire him. I relented after a while and gave him some food and water to keep him occupied while hubby and I went to town. That was when we decided he had to go. But when we got home, we decided it would be easier to store him loose with the hens till we were ready to actually do the deed, so we let him out again. It was about a month before we summoned up the starch to actually get out the axe, and that only after the final attack, when he tried to go after hubby when he was trying to put some wayward hens back in the coop. That roo knocked over one of the hens in his zeal to destroy hubby, and we decided it would be a good day to send him to rooster heaven.

    The slaughter wasn't easy, nor was the skinning (I'm sending the pelt to a nephew who ties flies) but the peace in the chicken house is worth it. I'm not taking a chance on another rooster. The hens seem quite happy without him, by the way. Their feathers are looking much less ruffled, much more sleek and decorous.

    The good news? The way to turn a bad rooster into a very good rooster is to boil him up with potatoes, carrots, onions, and all your favorite herbs for several hours, and serve with fresh cornbread!
     
  4. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder


    This is good; thanks, Smoochie. I'll keep an eye out for that. Like I said, a full on attack is always obvious, and maaaaybe I can either nip bad behavior in the bud before he comes flying at me, or at least know when to start prepping the pot. :)
     
  5. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been told (and I'm hoping that it's true) that roosters go through a period of raging hormones and will calm down a bit as they get a little older. My roo is about 7 months old (gee, it seems like it's been longer than just 7 months...) and he has started 'stalking' me. He's even jumped at me a couple of times and tried to spur me. This gets him chased, caught, and toted around by those offending feet. I'm hoping that if I continue to respond to him like this he will eventually stop challenging me. I'm giving him till the spring - or the first time he actually does any damage - to settle down.
     
  6. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had lots of roosters and have given respect and tried all sorts of training and it just never worked out and there was always trust issues. I do not eat my extra roosters but do give a mean rooster the axe...
     
  7. McGobs

    McGobs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 20+ birds in our mixed flock. Ole' Willy (yeah I named him willy) we got as an impulse buy while going to buy feed and they were having one of those poultry shows in the parking lot. We picked up him and his girlfriend for $10. She had just started to lay, and was told he was 8 months old.

    Lesson Learned #1 - Never buy a rooster in the parking lot of anywhere.

    He was timid at first...running away from everyone. Always hiding in the corner. Not wanting anything to do with his newly aquired harem. That only lasted a week.

    I'll never forget the first time he jumped me. Remember it well...the pitter patter of his feet running up behind me..getting louder and faster the closer he got. Other than that...there was no warning. It was a sneak attack right from day 1.

    Lesson Learned #2 - Never ignore the sound of feet running behind you when dealing with roosters.
     
  8. dreamcatcherarabians

    dreamcatcherarabians Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "I no longer try to school or train a roo. Either they are nice from the git go and stay nice or they're out. I went through misery with my last roo and I just won't deal with that kind of agression again. He'd square off, drop his wings, do the 'man dance' and fluff his hackles at me. I ignored him, just walked through him and made him give ground and kept an eye on him. Then he started to fly at me, so I tried some of the things suggested here. It ended up that he would charge me from whereever he was on the property and if he saw me, here he'd come! As soon as he'd get close, he'd jump at me. It was a real shame because he was a gorgeous fellow and I really liked having a nice, strong roo around with the girls."

    I posted that over a year ago, I think more like almost 2. That roo literally started coming at me every single time he saw me outside. I tried EVERYTHING anybody suggested to try to keep from killing him. He would literally run at me from 5 acres away if he saw me. I kept trying and one day he drew blood. End of story. Now, I get stink eye or a dropped wing, that's it. I wait til night and grab 'em up and they go to Freezer Camp for their final re-education.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Roosters will mellow out considerably as they get older. It's during that first year that they're hellions. It's a combination of raging hormones and inexperience. Some roosters have a real hard time with trust, and those are the hard cases. Most people insist that you need to show a problem roo who's boss, but it's been my experience that it just reinforces their mistrust of you.

    I have a roo who never flogged me, but he was a serious biter. He removed deep plugs of flesh from my hide. It was very bad during his teens, but now he's two and has come to trust me. He no longer bites and has perfect manners. He's good with the hens, too, not nearly as obnoxious as he was in his early months.

    If you have a roo that you want to keep, try to gain his trust and wait out the hormones.
     
  10. cyw iar

    cyw iar Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks, all, I really appreciate the responses. I'm going to keep an eye (and an ear!) on him, and wait and see. So far, so good...
     

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