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Unfamiliar with Roo's behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CoolClucker, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. CoolClucker

    CoolClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello. I have 14 thirteen week chickens, one being a GL Wyandotte rooster. He has been a total sweetie pie so far, lets me hold him and sits on my lap for cuddles and pets, rushes out to greet me with the hens. Today I took a chair and sat in the run like normal, and he does this weird sideways shuffle towards me. He had his far shoulder up, his near shoulder down and he side shuffled over to me. Then walked away. He did it a couple times and did it to a hen too. What the heck does this mean? Is it aggressive or um 'romantic' behavior? If it is aggressive, please do not suggest 'culling', not an option for me. And please, don't suggest any kind of violent methods. I will not under any circumstance, kick, hit or throw things at him. Any wisdom on the topic is greatly appreciated. Thanks :)
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    His behavior will continue to escalate. Side stepping, wing dancing, pecking at the ground will be followed by hackle flaring which is generally followed by spurring/flogging. Very sadly roosters that are made into pets frequently become the most human aggressive because they view humans as their equals. The adage, "Make pets of your hens and treat your roosters like chickens.", is a good practice. You must find a way to assure him that you are dominant. Netting, forcing firmly to the ground, squirting with water pistols may help. If children are part of the equation, be very careful. An aggressive rooster can do serious harm to a child. Good luck at adjusting his behavior.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    He's telling you he's the boss. You've been telling him he's the boss by letting him on your lap and petting him. So, he's going to continue to be the boss until you tell him he's not. You don't have to be violent, but you do have to totally change the way you treat him and not consider him a pet anymore. Start by walking directly toward him and making him move away from you. Do this a LOT. Every time you go in the coop, several times. It's what an older rooster would be doing to him. Once in a while, stomp toward him or chase him briefly, just enough to make him run a little. Again, this is what the older roos do to stay dominant. Do not cuddle or pet him anymore. If he starts the sideways wing dance, chase him briefly. I'm talking a few feet, not miles, assuming he gives way and runs. If he doesn't yield to you, you've got more problems than I think you're going to be willing to deal with. Other folks have good success picking the rooster up and carrying him, or putting him to the ground, or upside down, you'll just need to check out the different threads.

    I sincerely hope you're able to manage your rooster, but I'm getting a bad feeling overall from your post. Please, please keep small children away from him and if he blatantly attacks you, get rid of him. He's a chicken, he does not think like a human or a dog and does not have the brain chemistry to be a pet.
     
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  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    First of all, Wyandotte roos tend toward being combative. I had one who wanted to have a boxing match every day where he would fling his feathery body at my legs and I would slap him. Rinse and repeat a dozen times. I hadn't handled or cuddled him especially much while he was growing up, either.

    However, growing tired, literally, of the daily boxing matches, I began to grab him up and holding him tightly under my arm, I would carry him around. During the day, I would often hold him in my lap, holding him tightly against my body. After several months of this, the daily boxing matches stopped.

    Now I have a four-month old Brahma cockerel. He's very high strung and full of the devil. Several times a day, I make it a point to call him to me, slowly reach out for him, and bring him in close. He usually squawks and complains, struggling to get away, but I hold him tightly, speaking calmly to him until he settles down and melts into my body. After several minutes of speaking calmly to him and stroking his head and cheeks, I let him go, but only after he's been calm for awhile.

    This will teach him that he can trust me, and when the hormones begin surging through his body, hopefully we won't have to re-establish trust and he won't think he's got a point to prove.

    This worked very well with his daddy who didn't flog me, but he was so mistrusting of me that he would deliver vicious bites when he felt threatened. I believe you can establish dominance over a rooster by treating him firmly instead of violently. By holding him close for extended periods, you are sending him a message than you control his mobility, but that he has nothing to fear from you, either.

    Another thing to remember as your rooster comes into his hormones like yours is doing, is to refrain from any sudden movements around him, especially with the hens. He'll be on edge for the next year, and you need to spend this time establishing that he can trust you. Go ahead and keep handling him as you used to, but do it more slowly, deliberately, and firmly. Having tight hold of him, go ahead and get right into his face with yours. Do not release him until he's very calm and limp, demonstrating that he accepts your dominance over him. After releasing him, if he approaches you in an aggressive manner, immediately repeat the exercise. Affirm this every single day without fail.

    You can have a good roo without being abusive. But it takes commitment and lots of time to achieve.
     
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  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I agree with what azygous has to say other than getting your face anywhere near to his. Given that situation there is always the possibility that he could peck at your eyes - not a good thing.
     
  6. CherishHolland

    CherishHolland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If his behavior isn't curbed now he will see you as one of his hens and that is not a good thing! He wing dances you again I would stomp at him or chase him off. My BO used to bring me bits of grass and he would try to court me,it didn't last long I put a stop to it ASAP. Also remember if you are planning on using him for breeding that his aggressiveness will be passed along. I don't keep aggressive roos I find them new homes or they go to the bachelor pin,waiting to be caponized. Best of luck and remember time and dedication is key!!
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I prefaced that with "having tight hold of him" before I suggested getting in his face. There is almost no chance of him hauling off and pecking you when he is tightly under control. Being under your firm control is actually communicating to him that he is to be submissive. If he is still straining against your hold, do NOT attempt this until his body language signals that he is calm, relaxed, and in complete submissive mode.

    By putting your face into his space, getting up close and personal, you are letting him know you command that space. At the same time, he is learning that he has nothing to fear from you and no harm can come to him when you are in his space.

    Over time, a trusting bond is established, and you won't ever have to fear aggression from this rooster after that.

    For folks who have more of a "farm animal" relationship with their chickens, the other method of cultivating a respectful truce works just fine. This method I employ is strictly for chicken keepers who look on their flock as pets and abhor treating them with anything other than a loving firmness.
     

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