Was this a case of rooster aggression?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Henrik Petersson, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a flock of chickens that are 22 weeks old, so still very young - the hens haven't started laying and only one rooster really crows. The flock presently consists of three hens and two roosters. It used to have two more roosters, but we slaughtered them last week. One of them had started dancing for people, so we suspected that he would get hostile. The other one sometimes did a weird, random backwards little walk, so we suspected a neural problem.

    Today I had a visit from a girlfriend. When she went into the pen, one of our remaining roosters jumped up on her shoulder and grabbed on (with his beak) to the fur lining of her coat. He jumped/fell down after a moment (fake fur still clinging to his beak). Nothing else happened.

    Now, was this a case of aggression? Or was it something else? He didn't initiate it with the usual puffing up of neck feathers, so I guess it might have been a case of him just wanting to socialize. One of the hens does this: Jumps up on our shoulders, and just sits there for a while. It cracks us up.

    This rooster isn't that tame, he eats from our hands, but walks away when we try to pick him up (unlike his sister, the shoulder-sitting hen, who loves being picked up), so it seems a bit weird that he'd turn into a shoulder-sitter all of a sudden.

    Futhermore, these chickens are all machine hatched and were extremely cuddled during their first weeks by their previous owners, so perhaps the roosters are lacking that healthy fear of humans that roosters tend to develop if they're not cuddled.

    Since they are machine hatched, and grew up without a role-model, they might not even realize that they're not people, and the rooster might have tried to mate with my friend.

    Anyway, we have a zero tolerance for rooster aggression here - especially since I have a three-year-old nephew running around from time to time - and I'm simply wondering whether I should give this rooster a chance, or sharpen the axe.

    Important note: In a few months time, the previous owner of the flock is to take over the hens and one rooster, while we keep one rooster and get new hens, so it won't be an unhealthy constellation of 2 roosters + 3 hens forever.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Based on what I understand of the description of the cockerel / rooster jumping up, I think it was either aggression or an attempt to mount your visitor. He has a species boundary issue that will complicate keeping him. I have roosters that jump up on your shoulder, but they are acting as if you are still a different species, although one they can trust. You are going to likely have to figure out how to keep this from evolving into outright attacks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I would choose rooster you want to keep and pen him up by himself until new hens acquired. He may yet be an aggression problem then.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    First, you have pullets and cockerels (not hens and cock or roosters until one year of age).
    Yes, it was aggression......I advise against cuddling male birds.
    Familiarity can breed contempt....better that the males are just a little afraid of humans.
    With tiny kids around might be better to have an all female flock.
     
  5. Henrik Petersson

    Henrik Petersson Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, sorry, I didn't know about the one-year limit.

    Okay, we will slaughter the rooster in question then. And see how it goes with the second rooster.
     

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