How to Tame Aggressive Rooster Behavior

Stopping a Rooster Attack Before It Happens

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you have a rooster, chances are you’ve been spurred or chased. Some breeds are more prone to aggressive rooster behavior than others. I’ve never had a problem with Chief, my Speckled Sussex rooster, or with Red, my Rhode Island Red rooster. Stopping aggressive rooster behavior is not impossible. Differences in breed, individual temperament and the length of time he has been allowed to exhibit aggressive rooster behavior all play a part in the difficulty of stopping rooster attacks, but you can do it!

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My friend, Patti, in Mississippi has bantams and they were very aggressive. I shared the wisdom I learned from my grandmother with her. She was brave and put it into action, now she rules her chicken runs and coops instead of the roosters.

I don’t know what it is about an aggressive rooster that I find so scary. I know that I’m bigger and stronger than he is, but when he sneaks up behind me and starts running at me, my first instinct is to scream and run! My eldest son has always said, “Mom! They are like little velociraptors. If they were big enough, they would eat me!”

About 12 years ago, I had a rooster named Cogburn. Yep, a rooster Cogburn – get it? If you’re old enough or like westerns, you know who he was named after. He was a great rooster for the girls, but he loved to run up behind to spur you. During his last rooster attack, I had a basket of eggs and a pail of milk in my hands. “Thump, thump, thump,” then screaming and anger ensued … There was a very large chicken pot pie at our church lunch on Sunday.

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The next week I shared my story with my grandmother. Once she was able to stop laughing at me, she reminded me of what I had forgotten. I was disappointed that I had not remembered before.

Why Roosters Attack

It’s just a fact about chickens, in the flock, there is a strict pecking order. If you keep more than one rooster in the same flock, they will challenge each other to establish dominance. These challenges can escalate even to death if there is no intervention.

With the pecking order established, you become a trespasser when you enter the flock. He feels the need to let you know he’s the boss and challenge you to establish the fact.

Even if you hand raise them, like I do, some breeds will still show aggressive behavior. I was taught and had experienced to be true, that roosters who were raised together would not fight because they had long ago established their order. A few years ago, I had a couple of roosters from the same hatching and the same hen. They decided to fight it out. I was shocked. Just know that while it’s not the norm, it is something to keep in mind.

In the rooster world, he who runs away, walks away, or hides is the loser, these are his acts of surrender. I want to warn you: Never introduce a second rooster to a flock that already has one. They will most always fight to the death or until you can intervene.

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Taming Aggressive Rooster Behavior

Teaching your aggressive rooster you don’t want his job, but you are the boss of him is the goal. When the rooster attacks by charging you, raise your arms and move them around, I flap mine. This makes you look fierce and even larger to him. Take a few steps or even run toward him. DO NOT walk away from him or turn your back to him until he has surrendered to you. The process may take a little while, but be patient.

Be prepared to stand and stare at him, but don’t walk away. You may even have to chase him. You’ll know when he submits to you by his behaviors. He may start pecking the ground, avoiding eye contact with you by looking around or even walk away. Once you see these behaviors you can walk away and join your other backyard chickens.

Depending on the level of his aggression, age, and breed, you may have to repeat the challenge several times until he stops challenging you. You may have a rooster who’s learned to use his spurs. In this case, you may have to strike him with your boot, bucket, or a branch. We’ve only had one rooster we had to do this with in 30+ years.

Tame Aggressive Roosters

Protecting Yourself From A Rooster Attack

Until your aggressive rooster is tame, you should keep yourself safe. Even if he hasn’t hurt you, just being prepared will relax you and make your energy more confident. When you’re out, wearing knee high rubber boots will help protect your legs. I also keep the handle of an old post hole digger in the tongue of the chicken tractor. It’s handy for snakes, roosters, or anything like that. I must say that I haven’t used it for a rooster attack in years.

Once your dominance is established, he’ll respect you. It may be that every once in a while you have to remind him of your place in the backyard chicken flock, but it’s easily done with a stomp and a stare. He’s the one taking care of the girls all day and he just wants you to know they’re his. He will learn you’re not after his job and quit bothering about you.

Do you have an aggressive rooster? These are tried and true tactics that will work. You just have to be consistent and patient.

Share your stories, experience, and advice with us in the comments below. I love hearing the unique and often humorous stories of people with aggressive roosters. You can always reach me personally by using the Contact Me page.

Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack

The Pack

5 thoughts on “How to Tame Aggressive Rooster Behavior”
  1. THANK YOU!!!
    This afternoon I had coop-checking duty to collect eggs. My husband and daughter (who usually care for our crew) are out of town. Four females, two males, together since they hatched. They are yard birds, but they tend to go back into the coop to sleep.
    My 14 year old daughter can just scoop them up and carry them around the yard, and I have never before had a problem with any of them reacting with anything except interest in me when I have a handful of mealworms. Today, however, I gathered the eggs while they were all roaming the yard, turned around and found a rooster on a hen. He finished, hopped off, turned around and saw me having only just noticed him.
    I started to walk away, felt a large presence behind me, turned back and found him coming at me. Charging, actually. And he kept at it.
    I am disabled and struggle to walk, so running is NOT an option. Or I would have (thank your son for the velociraptor reminder, though; that will stick with me!). I repeatedly screamed “NO!” and waved my hands at him, but he just got bigger and charging at me over and over again. I finally kicked him in the chest (side note: I NEVER realized how big a rooster can be, so I was actually just trying to put a foot in front of his face, figuring he’d scurry backward to avoid running into my foot), but that made it worse, not better.
    Finally, I happened to hold my phone down in his face, hoping the reflection would throw him off. I continued to stare at him (calling him some colorful words), and he finally gave in and started to look like a shamed puppy. I continued to stare at him as he and the others walked off behind me.

    Scared me SO MUCH, and as an 8th grade Science teacher, that’s saying something. Yours was the first article I encountered when I searched “agressive yard rooster,” and I am so glad. This was VERY helpful!

  2. My rooster got worse as he got older. I don’t trust him anymore, but, I finally found something that works. A couple of years ago, I tried to get the chickens in the house but they wouldn’t cooperate, so, I thought I would stun them by putting a towel over their heads. While the idea was good, the rooster fell into the pool because he was so terrified of the towel. Last year, the rooster became more aggressive than the year before and I was very discouraged. I would wear a jacket when I was out there, but you can’t wear a thick jacket in the summer! I got some rubber gloves that covered my arms, but they were too hot and bulky. Reasoning with the rooster didn’t work anymore. But, I remembered the big yellow towel they were terrified of. So, all I do now is put the towel around my neck. It scared the chickens at first, but they got used to it. When the rooster starts his act, I show him the towel, and he backs off. I open it up and sometimes, I will even chase after him. It really works well and if he does attack (which he could), I would just throw the towel over his head and create another unforgettable experience for him!

  3. I had one Speckled Sussex rooster out of 3 that came from the same batch… They never fought each other but every dang time I wasn’t paying attention he would come after me. I would turn on him often had to fight back. I am not one for animal violence but after multiple attacks I had no problem drop kicking him every time he came at me. Even chased him around the yard once with a pitch fork… Ultimately karma bit him in the backside and he became a fox dinner… Would have been my dinner but I could never catch the bugger. Rocky the last of the three was always well mannered until recently… Been have fox issues and have lost 6 of his girls to it over the last 5 months or so…anywho the last time he came after me I had the feed Tupperware in my hand and I threw it at him hit him square in the head then chased him around the yard a couple of times till he started acting submissive to me. I don’t turn my back on him anymore and regularly scold him with shaking finger when he looks like he might be thinking about it…he keeps it up he will be chicken dinner but for now he still rules the flock.

  4. I would love to show you a picture of Tiny, but alas that is not to be with this communication platform. Tiny was the runt and to be honest he’s still not quite right. His comb is fairly minimalistic, he has no tail feathers, and hasn’t bodily grown into his legs. Being a first time chicken Mom I made the mistake of getting 20 straight run chicks not really thinking about what to do with the inevitable 8 roosters I received. Because they are so hard to re-home I ended up having them all together way too long and Tiny was picked on constantly making him terrified of everyone (you can see him start shaking whenever you get close) and then he does all of these things that seem to me to be defensive behaviors as he doesn’t come at anyone. He bites, hard enough to draw blood half the time, anytime you tried to reach for him or for a chicken next to him. He goes into a challenge stance when someone comes near and sometimes will put himself in front of me in order to do this. He would attack my shoes if I moved too quickly to get by him, though I’ve since stopped doing this. Now, any time I do get him to stand down he does this thing I’ve been calling “angry eating.” He pulls at the grass with his beak all the while making very perturbed noises. We have managed to pare down the number of roosters in the yard to 3. We decided to keep Tiny because we really felt like he needed a chance to be a different chicken. My question is, would the same methods you outlined here work for Tiny since he doesn’t seem to show active aggression? Are there any other suggestions to help rehabilitate Tiny?

  5. So this morning I flogged my rooster . I feel bad for doing it but his behaviour is getting worse not better even after reading this article. Last night when I was about to close the door on the coop he went me again and I thought we had worked thew our problems and I was the boss. So this morning I went with a new approach as soon as I opened the door of the coop I chased him down and walked him a couple of times with the poly pipe he hates so much then stood over him in the corner of the coop he would not even look at me . This is the first time I’ve hit him and hopefully the last . He’s a big boy and I don’t have a pot big enough for him but I am willing to buy one if he comes at me again

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