Thoughts on over protective roo?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by basicliving, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
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    My alpha roo, Duke, is a great protector of his girls and the yard. He is a Silver Gray Dorking and quite large, although his is not quite a year old.

    But he seems to have a problem with anyone or anything that gets too close to me, except my husband. A couple of months ago I had a friend over and she and I were in the yard watching the chickens and feeding them BOSS. Everything was fine until she sat down next to me on the front porch steps. Duke got all upset and tried to flog her. When I intervened (by standing up and putting my hand down to shoo him) he flogged me. I picked him up, carried him around and chatted with him, and when I put him down he was fine and did not try it again for the rest of her visit - although we didn't sit down together again, either.

    Well, two weeks ago we got two 8 week old puppies. The first time we took the puppies into the yard (the backyard, because the chickens were out front), Duke heard us and came around the house with his head down and bawking. We picked the pups up and I handed mine to my husband and walked towards Duke to shoo him. Duke flogged me - several times until I caught him. I picked him up and went throught the whole carrying around thing and my husband took the pups inside. When I put Duke down, he came at me again. I picked him up, cradled him upside down and carried some more. He's been fine after that for the past two weeks, even when the pups have been within a few feet of him.

    Until yesterday. Again, we were in the backyard. Duke was in the front yard, a full 150 feet away, in his chicken run. Out of no where, he showed up, coming with his head down.

    I know many of you would say he should be in the freezer, but please, I'm not here to debate that.

    I would like to know if anyone has dealt with a roo that is aggressive to pups and if it was resolved to the point that the roo finally accepted the pups? Did you do anything specific to encourage it? Or do you have a roo that is overly protective of YOU? How do you handle it?

    My real concern is that these pups will be much larger than Duke in the near future (they are German Shepherd mixed with other things). They will certainly end up eventually killing him if he keeps this up.

    My thought is to hold a pup and just walk around Duke so that he will accept that the puppies are ok. If he comes at me, hand the pup off to my husband and carry Duke around a while. Then repeat.

    Anyone dealt with this type of thing? Any advice?

    Thanks in advance,
    Penny
     
  2. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Truthfully, I don't think it's totally that he's protective of you, more so that he sees you and your pups as a theat. He wouldn't be going after you if he was protecting you. He would only go after the trouble.

    His age, however, says quite alot about him. When rooster are a few weeks old, owners tend to get attached to them and they are extremely friendly to people, with people. Been there, done that! [​IMG] Sadly, when the roos turn a few monts old, hormones rear their ugly heads and the males become very aggressive. The attitude is: 'Nothing comes near me or my girls or I'm going to have to show them who rules the roost! Even if that means getting in their face!'

    This is why one must be VERY careful when bringing around 'new additons' (ex: pups and friend) into the yard. In his mind, that would be his territory and he has to go make sure everything is okay. When threatetend, he'll do what all over-protective males would do: attack. This is what I'd consider normal for his age.

    As far as what to dowith the dogs, protect them. When they grow up and become more assertive (seeing that chickens may be fun to chase) you'll have to keep both them and your rooster at bay. He may seem strong now, and he probably WILL hurt the puppies, but when they get bigger he'll be the one to protect. Intervine when necessary. Keep them on a leash when they get older.

    As for you, well, there are a few way to handle this situation. Seeing that carrying him around hasn't worked, as it has NEVER worked for any of my meanies, you might wish to try and set up some boundaries. I'm not sure how you feel about going back at him, but sometimes what you need to do is prove that you aren't scared. That means no running away. I also don't know if you wish for him to be your cuddly buddy again. I'm not sure how to make that happen. With my past roos, I've had a few sparring times with them myself, and I've NEVER let them have the satisfaction of winning. You could try a spray bottle and fill it wih water, spraying every time he comes near. He'll learn to keep his distance fast.

    In his mind, you are becoming a threat. I totally understand that you don't want to make him dinner, trust me on this, I've only had one roo what was friendly towards me and he recently passed away. The other three I have are horrible and I still keep them because I can't bare to say goodbye.

    There are truely a few ways you can handle this situation, but you'd have to go digging up for some remidies or hear from others on the forum.
     
  3. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Thanks for your response, ThePolishPrincess. I understand what you are saying. I am not afraid of him and I have never run from him. I have always snatched him up immediately, and it has always worked for a while. I am their care taker and am in the coop, run and yard everyday. I have brought him in the house to doctor him several times (long story). He is typically very respectful of me, and it only changes when "others" are around. It very well may be that he sees "them" as a threat, but I always intervene and then he sees ME as the threat at that point. I can handle him when it's just me - it's a little more difficult with the pups in tow. I've been very careful to take them in the complete opposite area that he is in - it's HIM that comes to where we are. The last two weeks, (since the first attack) he just gets to where he can see them and leaves them alone. But yesterday he was coming at them again and he and I tangled.

    I was so worried when I first got the pups about training them to accept the chickens and leave them alone - I never considered my rooster would be the one that required the most work!

    Right now I make sure to go quickly up to Duke when I feed the chickens or go into the coop and he runs each time. It's when he DOESN'T run that we tangle - and that typically only happens when these pups are around or when my friend was here.

    I like the spray bottle idea. I am going to fill a spray bottle and take it outside when the pups go potty. When/if Duke heads over, I'll spray him good and see if that works.

    I do understand that he feels threatened and is protecting his flock and yard. I was hoping someone would weigh in and let me know if they've successfully taught a rooster to accept puppies or other new members of the family and the methods they used. At this point, my plan is to do what I mentioned and bring the puppies (in my arms) around him and then assert my dominance over him when/if he challenges me. If anyone has tried other methods that worked, please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Penny
     
  4. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Texas
    From the BYC Rules :

    Do's
    * Be friendly and courteous to all members at all times.

    Please stick to constructive advice that will help the OP solve the problem. Thank you! ~Lisa~
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2009
  5. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    I hope you find someone with such experience, Penny. There has to be someone who has successfully chicken-trained a dog and dog-trained a chicken. You'll find them. [​IMG]

    If I find any other methods that have seemed to work for others, or at least helped without harming the male, you'll be the first to know.


    G'luck,
    Haley
     
  6. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Thanks, Haley. My husband never wanted roosters. He finally agreed when I promised that we would be eating rooster stew if either of them was mean. My parents had a mean roo and I will not tolerate one that constantly attacks.

    Duke is doing his job, but he's got to learn to live with the pups - and vise versa. If he just can't deal with it, I'm afraid he will end up in the freezer. Which just breaks my heart. I'm willing to work with him for a while longer. I really pray it works out.

    He will probably be a little humble the next day or so - I'm trimming his nails and spurs this afternoon [​IMG] He's tearing up the girls' backs. Something he can't help, but I'm hoping the trimming session helps a little.

    Thanks again,
    Penny
     
  7. Poohbear

    Poohbear On a Time Out

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    Nov 12, 2008
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    My bad! My apologizes to anyone that was offended by my post. Thank you mods for deleting it.
     

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