No matter how safe and well maintained a coop is – if you need a new heat lamp, we have an article for you so check it out here – there is still a chance that you have to deal with aggressive roosters. This short guide contains info on why roosters are aggressive as well as methods that you can use to tame them.
Raising chickens is an enjoyable experience. However, oftentimes owners have to deal with what the specialists call aggressive rooster behavior. The level of aggressivity shown by a rooster is influenced by its breed as well as by individual temperament. Taming an aggressive rooster can also be rather difficult if the rooster was allowed to be aggressive for a long time.
The main reason why roosters attack has to do with their sense of dominance and property. In the wild, as the leaders of the flock, roosters had to protect the chickens and prevent other males from mating with the hens.
This behavior is innate and it is still visible in roosters today. When it feels like a stranger has invaded its territory, a rooster can spur, chase and even peck him/her in an attempt to make the unwanted guest leave.
Although it is not common, some roosters also become aggressive with the hens. When this happens, it is recommended that you take immediate action by removing it from the flock.
It is easier to train a chick than an adult rooster. This happens because, as they reach maturity, roosters develop personality traits that are difficult to change. As a result, some roosters cannot be trained no matter how much time and effort you put into trying to tame them.
Be sure that you do not entice the rooster
Before it attacks, a rooster will most likely warn you by lowering its head and dancing around you.
If you do not want to entice it, you should avoid walking straight towards the rooster. You shouldn’t stare it down, as this might interpret this as a sign of aggression. Plus, the specialists also argue that you should never sneak in on a rooster as this might also make it attack you.
How to act in case of an attack
If you have an aggressive rooster, there are two ways in which you can respond. Still, before you enter the coop, it is recommended that you wear protective clothing including long pants, boots, a long-sleeved shirt, and gloves.
One response that you can try is to crutch down and feed the rooster, even when it is attacking you. In short time, it will stop perceiving you as a possible aggressor and its desire to fight you will cool down. Yet, this method only works if your body language shows that you are not afraid of it. To avoid injuries, whenever you try this trick, make sure that your face is protected.
Some farmers say that the best way to handle an aggressive rooster is by showing your power by dominating it. Because roosters fight with their feet, during the attack, you should scoop it and hold it up against the ground. You should repeat the process until it stops fighting you.
Even though many swear by this method, some farmers argue that it does not work on all roosters.
Taming young roosters
If you have small male chicks that are aggressive, it is recommended that you do not encourage this way of being. Therefore, every time the rooster pecks you, you should punish this aggressive behavior. Even though you might not think about it, the chickens in your flock should see you as the leader. Because of this, it is important that you set the ground rules early on.
Between 16 and 20 weeks, young roosters show signs of dominance. At this stage, you will notice the rooster getting more aggressive and showing the need to defend the flock. This is the moment when it will start to challenge your position as the leader as well.
To exert your dominance, you should move around the flock and make sudden movements that can frighten it. Under no circumstances should you stare at the rooster while walking straight towards it at a fast pace. To the bird, this is a sign that you are challenging it to a fight. Also, you should avoid sneaking up to him, as this might be interpreted as a sign of you being afraid of it.
If the rooster challenges you, stand your ground and only then stare it down. You should not walk away until it has surrendered.
Another mistake that you can make is by crowding the rooster. Instead, you should give it sufficient space. The only time when crowding the bird is acceptable is when it has challenged your dominance.
How to show dominance
The easiest and, at the same time, the most effective way of showing dominance is by picking up the rooster and parading it around the rest of the flock. When the rooster gets aggressive and you want to teach him respect, pick it up and carry it for at least 15 minutes for the lesson to be effective.
This is a good way to make him understand that he is not more powerful than you do. Plus, this will make it feel embarrassed around the hens. When you do so, you must wear protective clothing, including gloves. Because the rooster will feel threatened, it will most likely try to peck and scratch you.
One common mistake that novice farmers do is chasing the rooster. This reaction is not at all acceptable as it will only make the chicken more aggressive towards you.
Even though you have raised the rooster, chances are that it will not have any type of respect for you. If you want to remain in control, there are a couple of tricks you can try. For instance, you should not let him eat while you are in the coop and you should not allow it to mate with the hens when you are present.
You should always feed him treats last and you should not, in any way, cuddle or baby it. Even more so, some argue that you should avoid giving it food when you are in a crouch position as this might give it a chance to attack you. Not all farmers agree with this opinion.
If the rooster is aggressive, you can also grab onto its comb and force its head onto the ground until it stops struggling. This process should be repeated when necessary.
Make sure everybody follows the same rules
No matter how much you try to discipline your rooster, if the other people that are visiting the flock do not follow the same rules, chances are that all your efforts will be in vain. So, before you let others enter the coop, remind them that they should never stare directly at the rooster and that they should not chase or run towards it.
This is particularly important if you have children. If they do not act appropriately, there is a chance that they will enrage the rooster and make it attack. If you know that your rooster is aggressive, it is best that you remove it from the flock when children are visiting.
If possible, you should simply replace it with a less aggressive one. This way, you do not have to live in fear that your kids will be attacked.
As we have already explained, showing your dominance in the coop is essential. However, this does not mean that you have to humiliate the rooster when it behaves as expected. Through your actions, you have to show it that you respect its role as the protector of the flock.
In most cases, using aggression to fight aggression will not work in the long run. Even if the rooster fears you, this does not mean that it also respects you. Therefore, you should never hit or throw things at it, and you should never hold it upside down. If you do so, you risk suffocating it.
Besides, always remember that consistency is key. So, you have to use the taming techniques time and time again until you see signs of improvement.