Sometimes Aggressive Cockerel

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KatharinetheGr8, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. KatharinetheGr8

    KatharinetheGr8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
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    I have a barred Plymouth rock cockerel (named Spike) who is 6 months old and who recently has become selectively aggressive. The first time he was aggressive with me was when I was giving my hens an inspection just to ensure they were all healthy and sound. I have a mixed flock and he didn't seem to care when I was handling the Buff Orpingtons, took a little interest when I was handling the Black Australorps and flogged me when I picked up one of the Barred Plymouth Rock girls. I didn't fault him too much for this behavior because I figured he was doing his cockerel job of protecting his pullets.

    Fast forward a few days and he has taken to charging me when I'm doing various activities in the coop. Today he charged me as I was bringing food to the coop. I've noticed that he seems to only do it when my legs are bare or when I'm wearing my "summer crocs," the ubiquitous ones with the holes in them. I can easily wear pants and boots when doing my chicken-related chores but would rather wear clothing appropriate to the season.

    My chickens are for eggs and are pets. I don't want a mean, ornery rooster but at the same time I'm not really keen on culling him. It's just me and my husband here so there are no kids to consider. I do most of the chicken caretaking though my husband only tends to them when I am away or otherwise unable.

    In your expert opinions, can a cockerel really be trained out of this aggressive behavior? What is the best way to teach him I'm at the very top of the pecking order? I have tried carrying him around the yard and this seems to calm him down for the day, but it doesn't carry over to the following day. Will he potentially grow out of his aggressive tendencies? He is basically a chicken teenager... What's a girl to do?

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  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    There are only two sure-fire cures I've ever found for a shin flogger - either a good butt kicking or a trip to freezer camp. The next time he comes at you, punt him. He needs to relearn a fear of you and know that you can and will hurt him if he tries to hurt you. I've never had a cockerel who didn't learn his lesson after a couple real hard kicks. I've seen people try every other method, carrying them around, force-cuddling them, etc., and I've also never once seen it work.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    He needs that dinner invitation, very soon. It's highly unlikely that he'll ever be safe, either for you, or especially children or strangers. It's being stupid; why attack the giant who brings food? He's not looking out for his flock when he's attacking you, either. Also, you won't want his offspring. Lots of nice cockrels out there, so either find one or raise some new chicks this spring, and try again. Mary
     
  4. KatharinetheGr8

    KatharinetheGr8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your wisdom on this chicken behavior issue. I will try to mend his ways because I really don't want to cull him. But I will take all these suggestions under advisement.
     
  5. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Just gonna mention that Folly's place does have a point with breeding him. While I personally believe they can rehabilitated via making them scared of you, even a cockerel who will no longer attack you still has the genetics to want to. Aggression is almost always genetic; so if you were interested in breeding, it is unwise to use this rooster, since his sons are likely to exhibit the same behavior.
     
  6. KatharinetheGr8

    KatharinetheGr8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you again for your advice.

    I'm definitely a little saddened at the prospect of culling my first cockerel. You're right about the inheritance of aggression from the sire, and I am not interested in hatching potentially aggressive males. The thought of culling something I've raised since they were chicks makes me more than a little queasy. I'm the type of person who carries spiders and bugs outside rather than killing them. I don't doubt that Spike would be the most delicious chicken I've ever prepared. All while crying, I'm sure.
     

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