Taming a Rooster, Specifically a NH Red...(hopefully)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 3rocksandme, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. 3rocksandme

    3rocksandme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2010
    Brookline, NH
    I ordered some sexed chicks, now 4 weeks old. I am without a doubt that one is rooster. His comb is twice the size as everyone else's and red already. I am fortunate enough to keep a rooster where I live, but I am a bit nervous. Some of the stories I have read on here have def. scared me and then I also understand NH Red Roosters are not the most docile of birds.

    Seeing how he is only weeks old is there anything I can do to prevent him from growing into being a jerk? We already spend a good amount of time daily with the chickens. My older barred rocks love to be held and cuddled, these new 4 week old NH Reds aren't too keen on human touch. Should we seperate him? Maybe bring him inside with some chicken diapers for a while? Hold him a bunch?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  2. Mak

    Mak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    I can tell you what I did with my rooster, tho he's a Polish and I understand they are a mellower breed to begin with. However, he is still a rooster and I wasn't about to let him get the top position over me.

    When he was a baby (weeks old), yeah, we held him and all that, but once they were outside and we were sure he was a rooster, I started letting him know I was the boss. I don't let him come toward me at all- ever, for any reason. I just walk toward him and make him back down and turn away. If he contiues to me at this point, he gets a gentle but firm boot out of the way. When I bring treats, the girls get fed first, then he gets his last. I make sure he sees me touching and petting the hens when I am out there, and if he comes near, again, he gets sent away. Once in a while, he gets a couple step chase or soft boot out of the way just "because"- even if he is not doing anything threatening. At this point, he stays out of my way when I'm out there and I haven't had one bit of threatening behavior from him.

    I know to some people, this might seem "mean." But a rooster can hurt you badly and cause nasty bleeding if he attacks with full force. He needs to learn that you are the boss of the henhouse, not him. And he needs to learn it on terms he can understand, the way another rooster would treat him if that one were alpha. Don't actually hurt him, tho rooster fights can be bloody! I don't think that's necessary. He'll get the idea if you are consistent. If he doesn't, then he needs to go, one way or another. Good luck! I hope yours turns out to be a good boy.
  3. 3rocksandme

    3rocksandme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2010
    Brookline, NH
    Oh dear, I had a sneaking suspicion I would need to do something along those lines. I was so hoping that he could become our friend and pet instead of I’m the boss and you work for me.

    Do you know approximately when a rooster starts being aggressive? Maybe aggressive isn’t the right word, when a rooster starts acting like a rooster?

    Thank you! This is very valuable advice.
  4. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Everyone has a different way of dealing with roosters. I am in the "ignore them" camp....with a few exceptions. I am not mean nor am I overly nice. I ignore them as long as they behave themselves. If they are mean to the girls they GET IT from me. If they act snotty towards me, they GET IT from me. Otherwise, if they mind their own business they are fine and dandy. I will drop kick a rooster into next week if he tries to act like a butthead towards me. But I find with the youngs ones, I just ignore them....don't do anything special to them unless they "deserve it" (nice or otherwise).
  5. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Just posted on "...roo manners thing"... thanks Bekissed and GwenDellAnno! [​IMG]

    Training a Roo Properly

    Treat them like a male animal that can inflict harm. Never assume that , since you have fed him and held him since he was a chick, that he will not harm you. It is best to treat roosters with a level of respect and keep him knowing you are boss roo or a potential predator.

    Don't let him eat while you are there, don't let him breed while you are there, don't let him get too comfortable around you. Some roos don't need too much of this type of training, some do.

    If you want a pet, get a dog or cat. If you want a flock master who is every vigilant, treat him like one.

    Some folks can get by with petting and coddling a roo and never have a moment of trouble...but most of the posts on here complaining about aggressive roos start out "he was so sweet when he was little and would let me hold him and pet him" or " I have always fed him treats out of my hand, but now...."

    These are roos that see you as a subordinate in the flock, or view you as no physical threat but something that is around his hens and must be banished.

    Try to be neither and you should have a good roo experience. I've never had to cull a roo for excessive aggressiveness towards humans after schooling one to know that I rule the roost and not he.

    A good roo calls out a warning when threats appear around the flock. A good roo attempts to protect his hens...even from you. A good roo knows that you are bigger, stronger, more aggressive and must be avoided for safety reasons. A good roo is not overly aggressive with hens and does not bully youngsters.

    They crow...this cannot be changed. You do not need one in order for the hens to lay eggs.

    Your roo is a bull, a ram, a billy buck, a stallion...only in a smaller package and with smaller horns(spurs). He can do an amazing amount of damage with those spurs if given the chance...particularly with children.

    Pet your hens but keep your roo at a distance and never let him approach you boldly and directly. I know there are exceptions to every rule but you only have to read the inordinate amount of posts regarding aggressive roo behaviour to realize that these are not cats, bunnies, dogs or any other pet animals.

    You may be petting his pwetty widdle head at 3 months and be fighting him off with a bucket at 5 mo. Respect the roo!!!

    I'll tell you what I did with a roo that I had....a very huge fellow, biggest roo I've ever seen in my life!

    He was the lesser roo to my old RIR for awhile, but one day I came home and knew instantly that things had changed. He had challenged my much smaller but older roo and had won sometime during the course of the day. How did I know this? He bred a hen right in front of my RIR and nothing happened. He was crowing more and had a more confident strut to his stride. He even walked towards me as I went to the coop.....and he suddenly attacked my egg basket.

    Up until this day I hadn't had to school this roo....he had already been schooled by the RIR and I ruled the RIR, so everything was good....until this one day.

    I fended him off temporarily with my basket and reached into the coop for my roo stick and I waited....he came back and I thwacked him across the back~these sticks are very lightweight and make more sound than fury~he ran but I could tell he was just not convinced.

    I proceeded to enter the coop and I waited...he stuck his head into the coop...and proceeded to enter the coop. THWACK!!! Stick to the tail feathers...right on the fluffy parts! An unexpected attack from nowhere~just like his earlier attempt. He couldn't get out of that coop fast enough!

    Again, the poor cocky thing stuck his head in the door....THWACK! Right against the pop door facing and right in front of his face!

    He never attempted another attack after that and I kept up my training for a few more days....but he never relapsed. Always walked a wide berth around me after that and never entered the coop when I was there. The training I followed up with in the few days after consisted of running a few steps in his direction when we were out in the yard~just enough to make him run away. Waiting around the corner for him to walk by and lofting him with my foot right under the tail feathers. He hit the ground running!

    The unexpected attack is a boss roo's MO...that is how they operate. It doesn't have to hurt, it just has to surprise and terrorize. I've never seen a lesser roo get hurt by a top roo in all the years I've kept chickens....after the first few surprises, the lesser roos know enough to run away when approached.

    Of course, I've only ever free ranged, so my birds have this luxury...to run far away and stay away. In a penned world, I'm sure they have to fight now and again because they can't escape it.

    My niece owned this roo's brother and he tried their defenses and won...was the terror of the yard. They finally had to gang up on him, get him down and cut off his head off with pruners! They hadn't called to find out what to do and they didn't have much experience with chickens.

    I finally culled this roo from my flock but not for aggression towards humans or animals....he was just so large that he was injuring my hen's when mating. Loss of feathers and wings dragging from sprains...it wasn't worth it to have the biggest roo in the land.

    When we processed him, I found the source of his libido...his testes were ginormous!!! Big as a human's! And his offspring had the same traits. Poor thing was just hormone driven to be a breeding machine.

    Hope this helps! Just always be consistent in your training...every opportunity spent with your animals is a training opportunity. Keep your eyes open...train this roo while your child is present. Show him your training techniques and let him participate. Pick up your roo and let your boy hold him and lose his fear of the roo, but not the respect. Explain to your boy about the roo's mind and why you are training him this way. Teach him to walk confidently into the coop and run at the roo if the roo doesn't leave his area...provide him with his own roo stick for confidence.

    Always monitor interaction between the child and roo, be close enough to intervene, be vigilant but not afraid, be matter of fact and be assertive. Stand your ground if the roo approaches~I know this is hard, but do it anyway~have long pants on, nice sturdy shoes....give him a full frontal kick if he gets too close. Lunge at him and chase him a few steps every time you get near him.

    I've never had to do this behaviour for more than two days to get results...lasting results. I don't have to carry a stick with me or look over my shoulder. I just KNOW where he is at all times, just like you do your children.

    Hope this helps.
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    What they all said! Treat him like a functional part of the flock. Make pets of the hens if you choose, but maintain that space between the cockerel and you. Very frequently "bad boy" behavior coincides with the onset of crowing and breeding behavior. It's all about the testosterone.
  7. ccrichard

    ccrichard Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2010
    Loxahatchee, FL
    I have 2 young roosters RIR's 6 or 7 months old. I have never really held them or cuddled them, but they had always been friendly towards me. Until about a week ago.......Fred, the dominate rooster decided he wanted to try and fight me. Jumped straight up in the air towards my face claws out, I was able to block the jab to the face but he jabbed me pretty good in the leg on the way down. Thank goodness no sharp spurs yet.
    I was in complete shock. This came out of nowhere. I have to tell you, it about broke my heart. He was my favorite, he's georgeous and good to his girls, that is the only reason he is still here.
    So now I carry a leaf rake with me. So far he's afraid of the rake and I haven't had to use it, but I will if I have to. The bad thing about once this happens is you are always looking over your sholder wondering if he is gonna come back for more. [​IMG]
  8. GwenDellAnno

    GwenDellAnno Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2009
    Water Valley, AB
    You need to make sure he's the one looking over his shoulder, not you!!
  9. Indy acres

    Indy acres Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2010
    Lebanon In.
    Oh boy I was not scared of our rooster at all until I just read your comments, Ours is just starting to crow and he seems to be real mellow so far, he is 21 weeks old so when would he start that kind of behavior? I for sure will keep a close eye on him from now on![​IMG]
  10. Naughty

    Naughty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2010
    I have 2 - which means with only 4 hens - I will need more hens or will lose a rooster sooner or later - at this time it will be whoever makes me mad enough to get rid of him first. Although I live in the country and can have more hens - i am waiting until next year when i can get some more babies like my sweeties - or if one of them decides to be a momma

    one of mine started testing me - of course i have a 3 year old and have survived a teenager - so I am the biggest baddest b in the coop - and I made sure he knew it - I also made sure he knew that the 3 year old was my kid - i stood between him and her and yelled at him a lot. Found out a tennis racket makes a heck of a weapon - gives you a little distance - and doesnt really hurt him - plus he gets mad at it and not me... ha ha

    so far - he has stopped attacking - but I also sweet talk him when he's being good. Talk him up - inflate his ego... talk all sweet to him... tell him how awesome his crow is and how gorgeous he is.... you women know what I mean... he didnt try anything for awhile until I let my brother who is a good sized man in the coop - then he went a little defensive - but i was ready for him with my racket - so he didnt go into full fledged attack mode just puffed up

    now my lil rooster only tried one attack and backed down - but since he is smaller - he seems to realize he doesnt rule the roost....

    Remember the saying.... He may rule the roost... but I rule the rooster !


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