Suspected 5-6 wk old cockerel, aggression?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 6, 2011
Louisville, KY
As a fairly green chicken keeper, I have a question about seemingly aggressive behavior. This is new to me as the only other male I have owned was a bantam who did not turn into an (expletive!) until he was several months old.

One of my EE pullets is almost certainly a cockerel. At nearly 6 weeks, the comb is already reddish, and noticeably wider than the other EE of the same age. Also, the tail feathering is more upright/pointed/rooish compared to the other EE and other pullets (a BR and a BA). More than anything, though, is the behavior. This chick is always trying to spar with and jump on the others, particularly the other EE (who is on the big side, but does not look rooish at all). He crouches low, stares, and ruffles his neck feathers, sometimes lunges at me when I reach in their cage to get the feeder/waterer/another chick. Yesterday when I opened their cage, which is waist high for me - it's a 48" dog crate on a table - he came *flying* out of there at me feet first, bounced off my stomach, and fell to the floor. Once on the floor, he got scared and did the loud "I'm all alone and I don't like it" chirp, and allowed me to scoop him up. He seems fine when held, but is crazy territorial when not held.

We handled them quite a bit as younger chicks when we had the brooder indoors, but less since they have been in our detached garage for the past couple weeks. We take them treats, pick them up gently and pet them, etc. The BR loves attention, the EE pullet is flighty at approach but snuggly, the BA could take ya or leave ya, and then there's the psycho EE.

Is it normal for a young (probable) cockerel to be so uh, FEISTY? Do EEs taste good?
Rocky was squeaking out crows and chasing the girls at four weeks old, so some cockerels are just early bloomers.


But I have seen the same sparring behavior from our young pullets, too. For me, early comb development has been more of an indication of gender than behavior.

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