Tips on Taming a mean 2 y.o. Rooster??

hysop

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
216
418
111
Southwest Georgia
In over 5 years on this site the best advice I EVER GOT and have taken to heart was "don't keep a mean rooster when there are so many good ones looking for a home".
Post on craigslist that you need a gentle rooster to have as a pet. There are plenty of people with nice roos waiting to answer your ad.
Thank you. Yes, one of my 4 roosters is a rescue from the streets and he’s one of the nicest of them all. I’ll keep trying a bit longer with my Black Jersey Giant (meanie one) but eventually any extra roosters we get from hatching become food so he won’t be an exception if I’m unable to tame him like before.
 

hysop

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
216
418
111
Southwest Georgia
@Shadrach

Just finished reading your article on the parts where roosters may show aggression. Thank you for that. Feeding his hens makes sense because that’s when he attacked me, because I was feeding them and walking around them. Also taking his hens’ eggs which he’s never ever liked that since day one of his flock laying eggs. Lack of hens, hmm, he started off with 9 and we’ve lost 4 in a period of 2 years so now he has 5 hens. May introduce more once I get more and they mature. I also found he was not a fan of being confined to a run after he’s been free ranging since he’s been old enough to fend for himself and his flock. I’ll make some changes and see how it goes, but I also can’t risk him spurring my kids and I like my roosters with spurs for a fighting chance against predators. I’ll give him til the end of the year and see if he is more domesticated than now. I really do think not handling him as a chick had a major impact of why he’s like that.

Thank you again.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
10,803
72,042
1,352
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
@Shadrach

Just finished reading your article on the parts where roosters may show aggression. Thank you for that. Feeding his hens makes sense because that’s when he attacked me, because I was feeding them and walking around them. Also taking his hens’ eggs which he’s never ever liked that since day one of his flock laying eggs. Lack of hens, hmm, he started off with 9 and we’ve lost 4 in a period of 2 years so now he has 5 hens. May introduce more once I get more and they mature. I also found he was not a fan of being confined to a run after he’s been free ranging since he’s been old enough to fend for himself and his flock. I’ll make some changes and see how it goes, but I also can’t risk him spurring my kids and I like my roosters with spurs for a fighting chance against predators. I’ll give him til the end of the year and see if he is more domesticated than now. I really do think not handling him as a chick had a major impact of why he’s like that.

Thank you again.
I'm pleased you found the article useful.
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,469
22,717
906
southern Michigan
I don't think that not handling him made any difference. i make a point of not making 'pets' out of my roosters, and only handle them when necessary, and haven't had a human aggressive cockerel in many years.
I do want the cockerels to move out of my way out there, and pay attention to their flockmates, and look out for predators, not including me.
If I had toddlers running and screaming out here, it would be much more difficult to have roosters, although long ago when we did have toddlers and chickens, things went fine.
Mary
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
10,803
72,042
1,352
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
@Shadrach

Just finished reading your article on the parts where roosters may show aggression. Thank you for that. Feeding his hens makes sense because that’s when he attacked me, because I was feeding them and walking around them. Also taking his hens’ eggs which he’s never ever liked that since day one of his flock laying eggs. Lack of hens, hmm, he started off with 9 and we’ve lost 4 in a period of 2 years so now he has 5 hens. May introduce more once I get more and they mature. I also found he was not a fan of being confined to a run after he’s been free ranging since he’s been old enough to fend for himself and his flock. I’ll make some changes and see how it goes, but I also can’t risk him spurring my kids and I like my roosters with spurs for a fighting chance against predators. I’ll give him til the end of the year and see if he is more domesticated than now. I really do think not handling him as a chick had a major impact of why he’s like that.

Thank you again.
You can file the points off his spurs if necessary. I've done it on a few roosters here, not for my own safety but because they were causing damage to the hens during mating. As the roosters got older they get better at foot placement during mating which helps a lot.
 

Chicken101-07

Chirping
Aug 18, 2019
81
92
61
I had success with one mean rooster,don't expect him to not attack you at first,yes it does hurt really bad when he gets you with a spur just have patience,first thing I did was carry a stick large enough,then I let him get used to me,I was the only person that went inside to give the coop water and food,that's the only way for him to gain your trust,if there is different faces every day he won't get used to someone,did it for around a few weeks,I got to the point where I didn't have to carry the stick,he still attacked me if I gave him my back so I carried treats,drop them in the ground if you see him about to charge you,if that doesn't work,hit him softly in the comb to show him who is in charge,it will happen a few times,don't expect it to work in like 1 week,it takes time just have patience and you will gain his trust,it took me around 2 months to gain the trust of mine,he is now comfortable around me,tips:if the hens are comfortable around you it will get easier since he will know that they trust you,if they are not, there is a high chance he will see you as a threat,try to handle him every fay if you want it to work faster.and no I did not change how the rooster sees people,he trusts me and I know he won't attack me,yes he still sees people that he doesn't know as threats and yes,he will attack them.look at it like a relationship,your partner is the rooster and trusts you with things like handling a hen in front of him.he will not trust other people he has never met before.if you have kids let the rooster get used to you,then bring out the kids but make sure stay close to you,as timegoes he will get used to them too.
 

hysop

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
216
418
111
Southwest Georgia
I had success with one mean rooster,don't expect him to not attack you at first,yes it does hurt really bad when he gets you with a spur just have patience,first thing I did was carry a stick large enough,then I let him get used to me,I was the only person that went inside to give the coop water and food,that's the only way for him to gain your trust,if there is different faces every day he won't get used to someone,did it for around a few weeks,I got to the point where I didn't have to carry the stick,he still attacked me if I gave him my back so I carried treats,drop them in the ground if you see him about to charge you,if that doesn't work,hit him softly in the comb to show him who is in charge,it will happen a few times,don't expect it to work in like 1 week,it takes time just have patience and you will gain his trust,it took me around 2 months to gain the trust of mine,he is now comfortable around me,tips:if the hens are comfortable around you it will get easier since he will know that they trust you,if they are not, there is a high chance he will see you as a threat,try to handle him every fay if you want it to work faster.and no I did not change how the rooster sees people,he trusts me and I know he won't attack me,yes he still sees people that he doesn't know as threats and yes,he will attack them.look at it like a relationship,your partner is the rooster and trusts you with things like handling a hen in front of him.he will not trust other people he has never met before.if you have kids let the rooster get used to you,then bring out the kids but make sure stay close to you,as timegoes he will get used to them too.
Thank you so much!! I’ll try to work with him daily then. I’ve had him for two years so a few more months of working with him won’t be too long for me. That would be awesome if he does. I’ll still give him til the end of the year since I think 10 months is decent amount of time to work with him.
 

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
23,884
13,361
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
I have a good number of roosters, more than a lot of people have in terms of hens. Some the roosters are pets by every measure. The pet birds can be hen raised (imprinted on mother), brooder-raised (not imprinted on anyone), and hand-raised (imprinted on me). Pitfalls leading to aggressiveness towards humans in part related in text below. Most are hen-raised (American Games) or brooder-raised (American Dominiques and a cross involving them). I have smallish kids that were smaller in the near past. Some of my roosters are used to educate public where many have zero chicken experience when they meet my birds. I have to dispel a lot of not so correct assumptions every time I take the birds out. Most of the assumptions are promoted by people with some, yet limited experience with roosters.

Below are aggression categories as I recognize them. I also think maturation process needs to introduced to discussion where the term ”rooster” is avoided. Also, many of the forms of aggression below are not exclusively the realm of males.

1) Is he just running over, pecking / flogging then running to a safe distance to deny your counter attack and simply watching you?

Bird has associated such behavior with a reward, FEED BUCKET AGGRESSION. In most instances I have seen the bird has obtained food faster or in larger amounts by engaging in some behavior directed at you. This is frequently realized with brooder reared birds interacting with you as feeders are armed or eats otherwise become more evident with you present. Another situation is where birds work their basic tendency to try and get at the most attractive food which to them often involves it appearing fresh within their field of view. For me that can involve putting feed out from a bucket as feeding a flock of hungry birds. They rush after you pushing each and sometimes in the excitement the bucket or even you. Many people see such behavior and promptly put feed out for the apparently famished bird. It takes very little for bird to associate intense response with getting more or faster.

Prevention: Avoid rewarding exploratory behavior such as pecking and jumping up for food. Make so food reward is delayed relative to your activity around birds. My favorite technique is apply feed either when birds are asleep or foraging elsewhere. With latter you just call birds in after feed is applied.

Correction: Move about flock / bird even with feed but do not give feed out until bird looses interest.
Benefits of Behavior to You or Bird: I manipulate this behavior train birds for experiments and interacting positively with the public. Behavior promoted simply does not involve what a person would see as aggression. Smart birds are really prone to this.


2) Is he standing his ground and flaring his hackles and interspersing this with outright attacks with spurs, wings and bill?

He is outright fighting you for rank and treats you as a conspecific. Based on most discussions this the assumed by keepers of man-fighters. Something is or has gone on that got him into mindset that you need to be and can be defeated so as to be a subordinate. Somewhere along the line you got too familiar with him and / or he learned through exploratory pecking he can make you retreat. This is particularly prevalent with folks that are uncomfortable around their birds. Even many experienced keepers are afraid of their birds for one reason or another and sometimes these people are prone to act aggressively against the birds and even bully them. This situation is more frequent than you might suspect and denial is often a part of the problem. Folks like this may need to visit with the equivalent of Alcohol Anonymous to work problem out. I have even seen people into gamefowl that are scared of their birds and they would be ready to fight you if you said they were such. Males in particular will take advantage of activities that make them feel tough. This is where genetics can also impact predisposition for man-fighting.

Prevention: Do not retreat from him when exploratory pecking or even flogging occurs. Do not attack him in response to an attack as it is very difficult to do so with appearing to alternate between bouts of attack and retreat like which occurs when birds fight.

Correction: Make so aggressive bird can engage you by fighting you but do nothing that would be interpreted as fighting back or retreating. Let him wail away (flog) which may last several minutes. If he breaks off attack, then move towards him but do not even give him the respect of eye contact. Do not strike or push him. Repeat until he stops. Process may need to be repeated in subsequent days with hardheaded birds. You want him to start thinking of you as something that is very much not another chicken. This may mean a flannel shirt or sweat shirt and jeans. Ideally you will appear the same as you do on other days so he does not test you for days when you are weak. If spurs are an issue which they can be with birds more than 18 months old, then they can be neutralized by removal, trimming or covering with the equivalent of boxing gloves (most laymen will not have last option owing to legal restrictions). An alternative to this approach can involve the restraint / time-out sessions where bird does not get the release associated with combat but does get a penalty he will learn to avoid. This technique does appear to work although it takes more time and is hard on birds that are flighty and prone to panic when restrained which is a form of stress.

Benefits of Behavior to You or Bird: Can be used to help sell a gamerooster to a fool. In a competitive breeding setting such as in a commercial flock more aggressive birds garner more fertilizations of eggs therefore tend to be more prolific. This not directly related to what is referred to as gameness in gamefowl.


3) Is he attacking while fluffed up like a hen making lots of noises and moving about in a very fussy manner? This if often associated with roosters where members of his harem (hen(s) or offspring) are scared. Many roosters, especially games will attack whatever they see as the threat and sometimes, real or not, that can be you. His response will be in trying to repel you. Rooster may also get touchy when new feathers are coming in during molt.

Prevention: Be careful around birds, especially when hens or chicks are involved. Avoid grabbing birds during daylight. Get birds to move voluntarily. Any rooster is easier to work with when his charges are calmer so always having all birds tame helps immensely. One crazy hen can stir up a male. I always manage for calm birds and that means starting from before hatch of an individual. Be careful when handling birds, especially during molt.

Correction: Frequent low intensity interactions without stirring anyone up reduces sensitivity to your activities.

Benefits of Behavior to You or Bird: Such behavior can increase survival of males offspring which can benefit you. This especially with small predators a male can repel or distract.
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,469
22,717
906
southern Michigan
Good article, except that there's no way I'm going to passively allow a bird to attack me! Or a dog, or a horse, or whoever. Making it totally clear that chickens, dogs, cats, and horses, all have different minds and behaviors.
Mary
 
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