What to do about an aggressive Rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Phantom_k9, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Phantom_k9

    Phantom_k9 In the Brooder

    Oct 29, 2019
    One of our chickens, Ash, who we recently (last two months) found out was a Rooster, has begun to act far more aggressive towards us. He does this thing that we call the "side step", where he shuffles sideways towards one of us. My father said this is him wanting to spur us. I have read online that one of the better methods to curb such behavior is to "show him who's boss". We try not to look directly at him, nor directly approach him, and when he does come at us we chase him around and wave our arms until he runs off (which doesn't take long). Around ten minutes latter, we hand feed him and the flock some treats (such as pecans, bugs, or meal worms).
    However, he has now began to get between us and the rest of the flock when we go near them, and his side step has yet to stop. We have been doing this for the better half of a month, and I am beginning to think this may not be the right thing to do. We think we might have another Rooster who is growing up, so we are probably going to have to get rid of Ash. But until then, (if then), what can we do? Are we doing the right thing? Thanks in advance!
  2. Skippersnh

    Skippersnh Songster

    Oct 14, 2019
    The side step is a mating dance he's not doing any harm
    A lot of the time a rooster likes to put himself in between his flock and you so you can feed him and he can call the girls over and offer the food to them himself
    It sounds like you have a very good rooster
  3. Skippersnh

    Skippersnh Songster

    Oct 14, 2019
    Also I would stop waving your arms around and chasing him because that is challenging him and could lead to bad rooster behaviour like if you swing at your dog to shoe it off it might snap at you which I did once and only once with my bulldog she thought I was going to hit her and she snapped at my hand
    drumstick diva, VJK, breege and 8 others like this.
  4. MysteryChicken

    MysteryChicken Crowing

    May 31, 2018
    East, Tawas Michigan
    Dancing at you is a sign of him trying to be dominate towards you. You can teach who's boss to correct that behavior by picking up, & carry him a short distance, away from the ladies, then carry him back to the ladies, & put him back down. Leave him, & his ladies alone for a few minutes, & approach him like you usually do, if he doesn't dance, give him a treat. If he does dance, repeat the action again. Training may take a few days, maybe a week, or two depending on the Cockerel/Rooster.
  5. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    Your cockerel sounds pretty normal to me. The side step thing is because he is trying to 'herd' you. My rooster does that to me quite a lot. Just stand still and let him do it or slowly walk around him and go about your business.
    Your cockerel getting between the pullets/hens and you is also quite normal. It is, after all, his job to try to protect HIS flock.
    I would stop chasing him and don't stare at him.
    What works for my rooster (who has flogged me countless times due to me working extensively in his territory building a new coop and run over the course of several months) is to:
    • move slowly
    • offer food only to him (if the girls steal it while I am feeding him, he doesn't mind)
    • try to get him to lead you to the feeders when you are filling them (this is, again, tough to do when you have a flock of hens/pullets running around your legs trying to get to the food)
    • talk softly
    • don't scare or hurt him
    The last time my rooster flogged me was the day after my dog died, 3 weeks ago, and I was certainly not myself. I think he sensed it and took advantage of a perceived weakness. He got tuned up for his troubles and has not given me any trouble since. He has also since eaten gently from my hand. He's been very good but we will always be watching one another.
    As for your second cockerel coming up in the flock, if you want him and have enough girls and room for he and the senior cockerel to share, the senior guy will do the training of him for you.

    Again, I have a junior cockerel being very well trained by my rooster and hens. He is now 27 weeks old and still very, very nice with me. He's never even thought about any aggressive moves with me. I think the older generation has helped him figure out just how things work in the flock.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    drumstick diva, VJK, breege and 11 others like this.
  6. Skippersnh

    Skippersnh Songster

    Oct 14, 2019
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Raising cockerels is something that can take some experience, and we all start somewhere!
    I'm assuming that this is your first flock, all babies the same age?! If so, your youngster has hit adolescence without having any hens or roosters to teach him proper behavior (as in making him humble!), and you haven't been able to read his signals, having no previous experience with cockerels.
    You will get lots of conflicting advice here too, some from us 'old fogies' with decades of rooster experiences, and some from first time flock owners.
    I would stop hand feeding, rather throw goodies on the ground and let the birds do their thing, not go for your hands.
    Chasing and screaming are generally counterproductive!!!
    You want to walk through your flock, having them move out of your space, rather than walking around anyone (well, a broody hen). You are the giant who brings food, not a flock member. I'm not a fan of a cockerel who's dancing for me, but chasing him is still a bad idea. You can carry a stick or bucket, and happen to touch him with it as you are walking around out there, if he happens to be in your path.
    @Beekissed has a good article here about managing roosters.
    I've never had a truly nasty cockerel or rooster who behaved better because I carried him around, or did much of anything towards him; over time, the bad boys got worse, and were never safe for perhaps more than one person.
    I don't think you have a problem yet, but be careful, and have a Plan B.
  8. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Crossing the Road

    Dec 19, 2013
    Olathe Colorado
  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Your father is wrong. It is as @DobieLover mentions a herding movement. You'll know when he's trying to spur you.
    May I suggest you read this article.
    It may not solve the problems you are likely to have but it will give you an idea of what are and what are not aggressive rooster movements.
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Two more thoughts for you here...
    @Mrs. K makes the point that it's often best to have an all pullet flock as a new chicken owner, and then consider getting more chicks, and trying cockerels, the next year. You will then have mature hens, at least, to manage him as he grows, and you will have more chicken experience.
    Also, human aggression, or lack of it, is a genetic trait, separate from other (better!) rooster behaviors, and should be a major cull point when selecting breeders. It isn't always, and will crop up more often is some breeds and families, but can occur in any.
    The real jerks just aren't able to be 'reprogrammed'.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019

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