Suddenly aggressive rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jsnarron, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. jsnarron

    jsnarron Hatching

    Jan 23, 2017
    So I've recently integrated some younger birds with my older birds. I put up a divider and everything worked perfect. They are getting along great. However today I walked out to the coop just to look around and when I went inside the run my friendliest rooster ran up to me which isn't unusual and started pecking the mess out of my feet ( had on flip flops by the way) and actors like he was the boss. I know this isn't unusual for the roosters but never him or any of mine for that's matter. My hens should start laying until the end of June or early July but could his temperament be changing due to getting ready for " his girls " to start laying? Maybe I was told wrong for their birthday? Any ideas.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    He's probably getting more confident and his hormones are surging. He's trying to dominate you, unfortunately it's a common occurrence with friendly roosters. It will probably escalate. Now is the time to stop him from coming towards you, and make sure he keeps his distance, and you can possibly turn it around.
  3. jsnarron

    jsnarron Hatching

    Jan 23, 2017
    I immediately went over and picked him up and he seemed fine after that. Just figured he was testing me but you think this may be a sign of the hens getting ready or just the boys being boys?
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I think he's feeling confident and is seeing what he can get away with. He's testing you to see if you will fight back and if he can possibly win against you. It's puberty.
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Agreed. When you're out with your chickens, move with confidence and don't let him intimidate you. I would not carry him around. He doesn't understand that. Instead, keep him moving. Don't let him approach. You move toward him instead and keep on moving until he gets out of your way. YOU are the boss. He needs to know that.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    x2! Also, wear shoes and jeans, not sandals and shorts, at least until you are sure that he will keep his distance. Don't get hurt! 'Friendly' cockerels often turn into human aggressive adults!!! Mary
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Here's an excellent post written by my friend Beekissed. She has decades of effective poultry management experience:

    I'm going to give you a clue on "rooster speak"....holding him down doesn't mean anything to him. If you'll watch how roosters interact between dominant ones and subordinate ones, there is rarely any, if ever, holding a bird down for a long time when there is an altercation. There is very quick flogging, gripping by the back of the head and flinging him away or getting him down and giving some savage pecking to the back of the head or neck. No holding him down and nothing else. That's a rooster on a hen maneuver, not rooster on rooster.
    Because your rooster is attacking you, you are the subordinate in this picture. You are getting dominated by your bird simply because you are walking where a subordinate isn't supposed to be walking when a dominant is in the area. What you never see is a dominant rooster getting attacked by a subordinate rooster unless there is going to be a definite shift in power, at which time the sub will challenge the dom and win...or lose. So far you are losing and not even challenging.
    If you want to win this battle, you must go on the offensive, not the defensive. He who attacks first, and is still claiming the area when the other guy leaves it, is the winner. Some people never have to go on the offensive because their movements in the coop are so decisive that they move and act like a dominant and a 2 ft. rooster is smart enough to recognize a dominant attitude and behavior...which is likely why he's never attacked your husband. Most men move more decisively than do women and children and they rarely step around a bird, but walk through them.
    Carrying him around also doesn't mean anything to just doesn't translate at all. His environment is that coop and run floor and that's where you need to speak to him, in a language he understands. Because they are quick on their feet and can evade you, you need a training tool like a long, limber, supple rod of some kind...cutting a nice switch from a shrub or tree that will lengthen your reach by 5 ft. really helps in this. Don't use a rake or broom because they are too clumsy and stiff and can put the hurts on the guy when you don't really mean to.
    When you enter your coop, walk with decisive movements and walk directly towards your rooster. Move him away from the feeder and the rest of the flock and keep a slow, determined pressure on him until he leaves the coop. The stick will help you guide him. Then...wait patiently while he gets his bird mind around what just happened. He will try to come back in the coop...let him. When he gets a good bit into that coop, take your switch and give him a good smack on the fluffy feathers under his tail if you can aim it well. If you cannot, just smack the floor near him very hard and fast until he hops and runs and keep at it until he leaves the coop once again. Repeat this process until he is too wary to come back in the coop.
    Feed your hens. When he tries to come to the feeder, you "attack" him with the switch...smack the wall by the pop door just as he tries to enter. If he makes it inside, pursue him with the stick either smacking the floor or tapping him on the back or the head until he leaves in a hurry. Make him stay outside while you sit there and enjoy watching your hens eat. Use the stick to keep him from the flock..just him. Don't worry about the hens running and getting excited when this is happening...they will get over it. This is for the future of your flock and your management of it.
    When the hens have had a good tucker....leave the coop and let him come back in. Go out later and walk through that flock and use your legs to scatter birds if they get in your roosters do not step to one side for any other bird in the flock. You shouldn't either. Take your stick and startle him with a smack on the floor next to him when he is least expecting it...make that bird jump and RUN. Make him so nervous around you that he is always looking over his shoulder and trying to get out of your way. THAT'S how he needs to be from now on in your lives together. Forget about pets or cuddles...this is a language and behavior he understands. You can hand feed him and such later...right now you need to establish that when you move, he moves...away. When you turn your back, he doesn't move towards you...ever.
    Then test him...take your stick along, move around in the coop, bend over with your back turned to him, feed, water, etc....but keep one eye on that rooster. If he even makes one tiny step in your direction or in your "zone", go on the attack and run him clear on out of the coop. Then keep him out while everyone else is eating.
    THAT'S how a dominant rooster treats a subordinate. They don't let them crow, mate or even eat in their space. If the subordinate knows his place and watches over his shoulder a lot, he may get to come and eat while the other rooster is at the feeder...but he doesn't ever relax if he knows what is good for him. At any given time the dominant will run him off of that feed and he knows it, so he eats with one eye toward the door. If he feels the need to crow, it's not usually where the dom can reach him...maybe across the yard.
    If your rooster crows while you are there, move towards him and keep on the pressure until he stops. He doesn't get to crow while you are there. He can crow later...not while you are there.
    It all sounds time consuming but it really isn't...shouldn't take more than minutes for each lesson and you can learn a lot as you go along. And it can be fun if you venture into it with the right attitude....this is rooster training that really works if you do it correctly. This can work on strange roosters, multiple roosters and even old roosters...they can all learn. You rule the act like it. Carrying is for have a full grown rooster on your hands, not a baby.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    How old is your so called rooster? Your girls are called pullets until they reach 1 year old at which point they will be called hens. And for boys it's cockerels and roosters after 1 year old. And when you say younger and older birds... what is the age difference, weeks, months, years?

    The way he is acting has nothing to do with whether or not your girls are getting close to lay. As they reach point of lay he will focus on mating them... chasing, dancing, serenading, treat calling, and mounting. You are little more than a meal ticket as far as he is concerned. And maybe a little competition for the ladies attention. And their attitude will change several times as they reach different maturing point. Him becoming more protective of the ladies has more to do with hitting his points than them hitting theirs. Spring is a great time to try and overthrow keepers. If he is still young, his temperament is changing because he has all the raging hormones of a teenager. If you've ever raised kids, you know this is a challenging time. If not, I will say that all species seem to reach a point where they must challenge the status quo and find their place in the worlds pecking order if you will. Seeing it happen all across nature sure helps my heart to stay more tender when I see so many "rotten" teens these days to realize they are mostly doing what comes natural. And nature is brutal. [​IMG]

    The girls actually change several times throughout maturing as well. Their teen phase, if you will.. they seem the least friendly. But after they have been laying for a good little while they start to friendly up all the sudden in my experience... relative of course to their breed and individual personalities. But my mature hens are just so cool! [​IMG]

    By the time I learned my friendliest lap cockerel ever might pose unfriendly future challenges and tried to change the interaction between us, it was too late and he has tried to pull hens off my lap even and attacks the back of my leg now if I let my guard down. I have tried many different techniques to live peacefully with that boy, but he is on the menu currently. His legs are bright red displaying his current hormonal state. And he is very beautiful. But life is too short and will soon be relaxing in a nice hot bath with some aromatic veggies. [​IMG] That was my first cockerel raising experience and it has been a great teacher, I wish I had known things before this boy, who I liked so much. [​IMG] But, now I can share with other BYC'ers. [​IMG]

    To tell when your girls are approaching lay they will have their own indicators... combs will get brighter, they may start to "squawk, awk, awk" loudly as if to say hey, the eggs are coming. They may start to pace around the lay boxes or suddenly disappear for a couple hours to a hidden nest. If you reach down rapidly and put your hand over their back, they may squat... in the same manner they will when the rooster tries to mount. I usually see many of these indicators about 1 month before laying onset. They may even practice sitting in the box a few times before you get an actual egg. And many times if I have a bunch of girls approaching lay, I may find a random soft shelled egg here, there, or on my poo board... which is completely normal as the reproductive system is ramping up and working out its' kinks. Sometimes my girls will practice an egg song all day before the first one comes. And the girls will not go lay together. So when you notice a girl missing from the group... she may be gone laying. If you're lucky, they will sing afterwards and you will know you have a lovely egg waiting for you. Most of my girls sing, but there are a few who never do. And some of my layers will never squat when I put my hand over their back. Anyways, hope ypou have some good ideas what to be on the look out for. And hope your boy straightens his attitude up! [​IMG]

    ETA: Roosters are territorial. And my boy knows he isn't welcome in my space. He high tails it over to the gate to be let into the stag pen when I enter where he shouldn't be but came over the fence. He knows I rule, but doesn't care! He will stand on the other side and look at me while I'm not paying attention. When he sees me look at him, he IMMEDIATELY starts doing busy work! [​IMG] When I look away he stands there and stares again. It is quite entertaining. And stuff always rolls down hill... when he is upset that I just put him back in the stag pen... he deliberately charges the lower guys in the pen. [​IMG]

    Feel free to post pics of your girls. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  9. This advice from Beekissed really helped me when my pubescent buff orpington cockrel decided he'd like me to be one of his submissive hens. twice he ran at me and jumped at me feet first when I was carrying the food out to the flock, I read up on what Beekissed says and followed the advice and since then he is paying me much more respect. He will try it on every now and again, but I carry my trusty leaf rake with me and hold it between him and me, bang the floor with it a few times and shake it at him, walk straight through him and he soon scatters out of the way. It's funny to note he never 'charges' at my husband. He has learned not to enter the coop while I'm inside collecting eggs or checking on my broodies. He waits patiently outside till I've finished. But he still gets rather overzealous when I bring the food.
  10. snow5164

    snow5164 Songster

    May 16, 2015

    Agreed, flip flops are not allowed with chickens, mine think my little piggies look delicious [​IMG]... especially if I have on nail polish,

    It could be his hormones or he's just starting to protect his girls from you! Picking him up or stamping you feet might be enough.

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