Three week old chick very agressive

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by K813ZRA, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So a few weeks ago I ordered 18 buff orpington chicks and raising them has been a blast but recently one has turned rather aggressive. It has always been lively as it would jump at me and peck me but now it charges me and bites, I mean latches on and won't let go! Now, it has been marked from the hatchery as a rooster (I asked about that here in another thread) so that might explain some of the aggression as the other two that are marked may peck at me now and again while the rest of the chicks do not but not like this one. That said, it does not seem to act this way with the other chicks, only humans. Now that the background is out of the way I will get with the questions.

    I know that roo's are supposed to be on the cocky side as they protect the flock but is this a sign of being too aggressive?

    If this is a sign of being too aggressive is it something that the chick may grow out of or should I band it and write it off for the soup pot? (I say band it because the marks from the hatchery are wearing off more each day as the chicks feather out.) I really don't feel like being attacked every time I go in the coop. My mother has three roo's in her large flock and none of them act like that.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  2. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's already acting this aggressive at 3 weeks of age, it will be a terror when it's full grown. If you'd like to salvage it for meat, I'd invite it to dinner around 14 to 16 weeks of age. If it begins to terrorize the pullets and/or humans too much before then, you may want to move the invitation to lunch [​IMG] or isolate the male(s) in a grow-out pen.

    Some folks try to "rehabilitate" cockerels, but I think aggressive tendencies are hard-wired and extremely difficult to keep in check, let alone reverse.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
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  3. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, I was kind of thinking it would only get worse. I did order extra chicks so I knew that some were destined for the crock!
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    At only 3 weeks, I'd try retraining it. I'm not one for keeping aggressive birds at all, but this is just a baby. What do you do when it attacks? I'd start thumping it a good one, knock it on it's little fuzzy butt. keep your hand there and see what it does. If it comes after you repeatedly, you can escalate your discipline. If you're reaching your comfort level for how much to discipline, I'd say plan to get rid of it. But, if you've just been letting it attack with no consequences, I'd try some training first and see how things go.
     
  5. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have been picking it up and trying to socialize with it so to speak. Once I have it in my hand it does not bite or peck and once I set it down it runs away. However, when next I reach into the brooder for feeding or to pick up a chick it charges and starts again. I had never thought of disciplining a chicken. Chicks are new to me but I have a flock of Pekin ducks and have never had any behavioral issues with them. Aside from them being sassy and not wanting to go to bed at night, lol.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I copied the post below from an other thread. I had a youngster who thought he was all that and then some last summer. I dubbed him "Little Man". Every time I put my hand near him or his Mother or his siblings, he'd attack me. So I started dominance training. I held out little hope that it would work, as I'd never seen such aggression starting so young. I started by doing the football hold, and pushing his head down to submit. I also used my finger to peck him as Don Rae suggests. In addition to my below comments, be sure to add verbal reprimand. Every time he shows aggression, give him a firm "NO". My roo will be thundering across the yard to pin one of the lower gals on the pecking order. I'll step forward, and use his name, and tell him "NO." He'll immediately change direction, and decide he's got somewhere else to go. I can also get him to leave the coop by just saying, "Out." They really are capable of learning, and are much smarter than we give them credit for.

    I suggest that you do some dominance training with him. My rule of thumb with roos is that they must stay arms width away from me. If they don't respect that rule, I carry a thin stick (fiberglass fence post or driveway reflector on a post works great.) I use this to gently tap him on the hind quarters to remind him to back off. I also use it to herd him around the yard a bit. Just a light tap on the heiney, on right or left side should get him moving in the direction you want him to go. Practice herding him around, and AWAY from his girls when they are out ranging together. Keep him away from the treats, and the food. Don't let him near either until YOU say he can have some! When roos are young, I will pick them up, pin their wings, and put them in a football hold. Then, use your opposite hand to push the bird's head down below his chest. You may need to grab his hackle feathers to get the head down. Hold it there until he submits and leaves it willingly. Then, lower him to the ground while still restraining him. He'll struggle the minute his feet hit the ground. Be ready for that! Continue holding him, and again, push his head down and hold it there till he submits. Continue with this until you can slowly release your grip on him, and he will keep his head down. Repeat daily, or as often as he gives you a dirty look, or doesn't respect your space. Be sure you dress appropriately when working with a rooster. Arms and legs covered. Good foot gear on. The last thing you should ever do is take on a roo when you're not dressed well enough to be able to look him in the eye, and be ready to kick his sorry little butt into the cove if he decides to challenge you.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the advice, I will give it a try. If it works great but if it does not, someone still has to go to the soup pot as I have too many roo's for my hens. However, I have read that I should wait to make the judgement call on which roo's too keep until they are a lot older than they are now. In fact, from what I have read, having two roo's for 17 hens may be pushing it as well. But as I free range I wanted a backup just in case. My mom's flock does well with 15/2 ratio but maybe she got lucky. (They do get a lot of free range time though, 4-6 hours on week days and all day on weekends.)
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    My roo easily covered up to 24 hens without any lapse in fertility. If you are able to allow plenty of free range time, you may have 2 roos who will work out an equitable arrangement between them. Depends on your flock plans.
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    You have a number of cockrels, so focus on the nice ones, and put him on the 'invite to dinner' list. If a couple of corrections aren't enough to reform his thinking, just move on and observe the other boys. Mary
     
  10. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I gave the little guy a food flick and now he will still peck at me a bit if I try to get my hand too close but he does not come looking for trouble. Still life looks sunnier for his brothers who try to roost in the palm of my hand and or take feed from it.

    As an aside, being a first time chick parent is quite interesting. You quickly find out that all of the chicks have their own little personalities. For example: I have six of eighteen that come running every time I go out to the brooder. Even if they already have food they want to check me out. Of those six they all like a little interaction but there is one (the runt) who likes to be held and will jump in my hand every time I reach in there. Most of the other chicks are curious but cautious and hang back a little. Then there is the confrontational roo, lol.

    Thank you everyone for the advice!
     

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