How to Tame an Aggressive Rooster

Stopping a Rooster Attack Before It Happens

Reading Time: 4 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!

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.


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, as 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.


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 walking 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 branch. We’ve only had one rooster we had to do this within 30+ years.

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

26 thoughts on “How to Tame an Aggressive Rooster”
  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!

    1. Carry a spray bottle with 3/4 water and 1/3 vinegar, spray those rooster in the face, it will sting a little but not harm them. They don’t understant where the water is coming from.

  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!

    1. Smart!!! Yellow towel. I may try something similar.
      Our roosters are usuallt good, but they like to try out their dominance here and there. This morning our bug guy flew outnof the coop and at my face. Hes never ever done that before, and is usually the more docile one of the two, so i am hoping he was simply flying out of the coop, and not at me. They are always more aggresive in the morning, but this was odd. I chased him with the rake, and he ran off all “what’s with that chick?!”
      I find first thing in the am i have to remind them who’s boss, but throughout the day they are fine. They’ve never attacked my kids. So i assume they are not threatened by them … only me, or any man that comes over (interesting, isnt i!?)
      Anyway. I love roosters. Our main guy is my favourite chicken of our flock, even if he is a jerk sometimes.

  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.

    1. The fork thing, killing him “softly” is the most horrible and cruel thing I’ve read for a while, it’s worse than animal violence. I have no problem in slapping animals to impose dominance when it’s the only solution, but I never injury them or really hurt them.

  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?

    1. There are things to do with him, it’s doable, but hard to explain in a short message. Try to find help in forums where people take care of animals with heart. Poor Tiny! Of course he can learn, with your help and intelligent acts, how to not be so scared by everyone. Poor little Tiny! He need compassion.

  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

    1. No, don’t kill him. Try again, it’s not one time and all is fine. Don’t do it if “he does it again”. Learn to be patient. For a dog, it would be the same, it’s not one time, and everything is fine. It requires patience. And you will learn, you will gain experience.

  6. We have a Silkie Rooster, Chickytita, who is 3rd in ranking with his 3 other brothers. We raised them since they were a week old. Chickytita and his brothers are now 7 months old.However, he has increasingly had delusions of grandeur and has begun to bully his brothers, and all of the hens. We had to segregate him from the rest of the flock and other pets. Chickytita is now in a spacious single level Condo on the front porch. He gets to come into the house for socialization and enrichment but now he bullies the dog, cats, and one of my Daughters. We tried the Blinders but they don’t work with his Cushion Comb. The rest of the flock are not missing him at all and are very happy.

    Unfortunately, now Chickytita is a guard chicken and crows at the slightest sound day and night… Next option is to re-home him.

  7. I got a batch of chicks from a popular hatchery 5 months Ago- Sept 1 2020. I bought a dozen Wellsummer pullets and 1 rooster. Well I kept saying No at the online check out for the free rare breed bird and for a reason. Well they sent the rare breed anyway.
    I didn’t want the free bird is because I just knew they would unload another rooster on me and they did.
    Now I’m stuck with 2. The rare breed is a Silver bearded Polish, he’s beautiful, calm and timid. Well now the birds are 6 months old and yesterday evening I caught the Wellsummer Rooster attacking the Polish Roo who of course can’t see well even though I trimmed the feathers around his eyes. So I put the polish in a crate for over night so he could rest after being stressed from the attack. I don’t know what I’m going to do with these 2 roosters?! This situation is exactly what I didn’t want. I’m so Angry this hatchery forced this helpless polish on me when they knew full well these 2 would not get along with only a dozen hens. Anyone have any ideas on how to stop the attacks ? I don’t have space for 2 coups & shelters. I don’t want to cull either bird. Also I live in an extremely rural area so finding the Polish another home is near impossible.
    Imo, these hatchery’s should not push their rare breed Free birds on customers who say No. There’s usually good reason why customers do not want 2 roosters.
    Thank you all for any tips on how I can handle this rooster situation.

    1. I see where you put the submissive rooster in a crate for a bit of a rest. I have had some success with putting my aggressive rooster in a crate and letting the other birds Prance about him. I can’t say that this worked 100% of the time but I have found that to be very doable and all but one time has been all that was needed. The other time was with a big Barred Rock Rooster, I had to do a bunch of chasing around with blankets and towels to catch him and hold him. Then I carried him around like a baby doll… That worked also!

    2. In my own experience, the best thing to do is to either A) try to interveen and stop the fighting(May be hard when your at work, lol) or B) Put the Wellsummer in the crate with food and water and bedding for maybe a week( maybe longer) so he can have some time of not having any way to attack or be dominant. Idk how well this will work, but I used to have a runty little hen that the other hens picked on, so I put the main bully(An ancient Plymoth Rock hen named Peach) in a crate with food and water for a little bit, and I’ve had fewer problems sense. AT least, with Peach. Now I have 3 roosters to deal with, so I’m not to focused on the old hen.

  8. I have raised chickens for 30 years. If you keep sparing with the roosters they will always see you as a challenge! The easiest thing to do is pick them up! I have tamed so many roosters by doing this simple thing! They know you’re not a foe because that’s not what another rooster would do so they just quit seeing you as a challenge. If you can’t corner them during the day then pick them up when they go to roost. I just walk around with them and talk to them. Some of my roosters have become such sweet pets. Follow me around until I pick them up! Ha! Please don’t mistreat an animal! They don’t understand. They are protecting the flock. It’s their job. Ours is to show them we are not after their job but to take care of them.

    1. LOVE THIS!!! I pick mine up on the roost. He coos and chuckles. I don’t think he particularly likes it, but I feel better and more comfortable having pursued this type of relationship

    2. I’ve heard that works. We’re about to try the cuddle method with our new rooster since he has attacked us a couple of times. We didn’t raise him from a hatchling and he’s in that hormonal adolescent stage, so that’s probably part of the problem. None of our other roosters have ever attacked me. If people attack them back, I’m sure it solidifies in the rooster’s mind that they are a threat. It makes sense. It wouldn’t be effective to beat a dog who attacks people either. It only makes them more aggressive.

  9. We have a neighborhood rooster who goes around from about four houses in crows on their porches well he likes me and follows me around and runs over whenever I’m outside which is all the time but he’s attacked me several times. I’ve been reading your comments, he’s not protecting any chickens because he doesn’t have any so I don’t know what to do with him now. I don’t want to be outside and be scared to turn my back on him he’s definitely not scared of me because I took a board after him and he never even left the yard. I am going to try turn around screaming and flapping my arms I’ll let you know how it goes. I have picked him up once and I used to pet him but now since he attacked me I don’t pet him anymore maybe I’ll try and pick him up. Nobody else likes him they will try to run him off the owner has another booster so I’m sure he got kicked out of the pen and now he’s just on his own.

  10. I always thought it was common knowledge to fill a squirt bottle (have the nozzle set on stream not spray) with water and when they come at you, you turn around and keep squirting them in the face and moving toward them until they run away. Chickens don’t like being wet! Or if you had a bucket of water you could pour it on him (or throw it at him) just in case you’re not good enough aim with the squirt bottle. If you kick or hit them you are basically fighting them like another rooster would and eventually they will try you again later. By using water it is not normal to them.

    1. Hi there. I am so glad not only do I have problems with a Rooster I got a week ago. Was really shocked at the violance on the first morning I let them out at 6am. He just didn’t stop and all I saw was feathers until I grabbed the garden hosepipe. I was so in shock. I got him on Friday evening. After the problems on Saturday morning last night just before bedtime he jumped on a very young Hen. I think it’s one!!! She didn’t stop screaming. At night they go to be without any guidance. I also got a male( I think) from the same batch as the young Hen he humped while she screamed. He has this nerve illness. Sometimes lies on his side or even climbs the fence uncontrolled and then lies a few seconds and then is normal again until the next fit. Anyway he is on his own but my partner left the gate open and the cock nearly ripped him apart. Especially when he has a fit the cock tries to get to him which is not possible because of the fence between them. This cock actually doesn’t acknowledge me at all especially when he is on a mission. The one hen lays flat on the ground for him. The 2 hens(Amahli & Thandi came together which are the same size as the Cock. Grace & Kelly I got together. Kelly(think male) is very fond of Grace. The 2 bigger hens really cover her up at times. Nelson the Cock came last Friday. Does anybody know if Kelly can still infect other family members after having the illness over 2 months already. Grace didn’t show any signs but Pepper died 3 days later. She came from the same batch as Grace and Kelly. So sad about her. Thanks for all the info. I think the spray bottle is the best option especially early morning. Most of the day he is ok. Hardly crows. Have a nice evening

  11. I have a BIG Red Rooster named (guess what?) “COGBURN” !
    And he IS “Ornery”. He never bothered me until he attacked my Wife one day.
    (She vowed to make him a “fried-chicken dinner”) !
    Now lately, he keeps coming at me when I’m feeding, or watering, or gathering eggs.
    And I mean, he don’t stop !! He attacked me yesterday and I whirled around just as he jumped at me,
    spurs first – and I blocked him with my foot….Not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 times !
    The last “boot” I literally ‘bounced’ his big-ass off of the fence before he decided he’d had enough !
    He does NOT like kids, or women. He jumped at me a few weeks ago, and I booted him back and stopped doing that….(so I thought). I know he’s doing his job, but he’d better watch his rooster a** ! LOL !

  12. My rooster Foghorn has been attacking me lately. I saw a video that recommended taking a bucket to the coop with me and keeping it between us. Tonight I cleaned their waterer and feeders. As I was putting the feeders back in full of food Foghorn stayed back. But as I set the second one down he jumped accross and grabbed the side of my hand with his beak amd twisted. It hurt! I yelled at him and pushed him away with my foot. He continued to charge at me. I kept pushing him back. I finally yelled that I was done with his games.He finally backed off. Sometimes I dread going out there. I am about 4ft8 and he is pretty big. It has always been my dream to have a white leghorn rooster and hen (which I have) but it is more like a nightmare lately. He is getting very aggressive with me. I had s make friend come to help on some coop repairs last week and I warned him about Foghorn. That rooster never went hear him! He kept himself and the hen’s away from him..had I been in the coop like he was, Foghorn would have attacked me! It was so weird!

  13. I had 8 roosters between 3 coops that shared a common pen for about 2 years until I found my oldest, a 5 year old RIR dead in Nov, and then my 2 beautiful nearly identical father (4) and son (8 months) roosters were also found dead in Jan & Feb, 2 weeks apart. I later discovered who the true aggressors were. That left me with 2 RIR and an Easter Egger who were all raised together in one coop with about 30 or so ladies, the main coop was a slightly docile Cuckoo Marans and an extremely timid buff Brahma with also 30 or so ladies. Two of the roosters that died were also in main coop, the youngest had his own coop with 6 pullets (raised together). Plus 15 ducks that bedded where they pleased in coops or pen. The trio of roosters are about 2 years old now (the aggressors) and the CM is 5, the BB is 4 (rarely problems between those 2). The Easter Egger at times also was aggressive towards me when collecting eggs but I’d chase him all over the pen (and have booted him too) when he’s attacked me then I snatch his butt up to show him I’m boss. That lasted a few months usually until he got me good, resulting in rooster jail for him with daily training. Alone he’s almost perfect, loves attention and will do things on command but put him back in general population and he turns aggressive again especially towards my buff Brahma. About 6 weeks ago I took the rooster trio and put all 3 into their own coop/pen away from the ladies. They were mad at first pacing constantly but soon calmed down. A couple days ago I managed to rehome both RIR through the help of a friend, leaving the Easter Egger with a pad of his own. He’s a one rooster per flock guy so I can’t rehome him and we have a long love/hate relationship. I can still scoop him up quite easily but he still shows his aggressive side if the Cuckoo Marans walks near his area (7ft high fence separates them). Things are calm in the pen, the duo 99% of the time get along. Now I worry about which ones could be roosters in the new batch of chicks (a hen snuck an egg in my duck nest and it hatched). I couldn’t have a lonely chick so got a companion, a week later got 8 $1 bin chicks, all 9 were marked pullets so we’ll see in a couple months – 2 are already sporting noticeable combs.

    Currently Duece, the Easter Egger has his own pen alone for now, I kept him because he’s great in sounding the alarm faster than the guineas of any potential danger and he’s gorgeous.
    The Cuckoo Marans and buff Brahma still share the main coop, my other coop is roosterless, I have 3 guineas and a momma duck with 8 ducklings sharing a coop and pen. Guineas actually protect the ducklings and lay only a foot or two from them when in the pen. There’s a total of 4 drakes, 9 ducks and 14 juvenile ducklings in 2 pens. There’s 43 hens, aged 18 months to 5 years and the 10 chicks who are about 5 weeks old – still in brooder.

    1. UPDATE:
      The aggressive Easter Egger rooster met his demise after he tried killing my extremely timid, shy, gentle and sweet buff Brahma rooster. I snapped when I saw him standing on him attempting to peck his head as he screamed. I couldn’t get there fast enough but the Easter Egger rooster saw me coming and took off. I quickly checked the Brahma, put him in the ducks coop and took after him. When I finally caught him, I was yelling at him about having given him several chances but I’d had enough and culled him.

  14. I have way too many roosters, but they mostly get along and I only have one that comes after me. Victor is a Lavender Orpington and if he was not so gorgeous he would have been dinner by now. He never challenges though. He will only sneak up on his victims, so I tell every one not to turn their back on him and they will be safe.

  15. I’ve read this before and read comments. I have a Rhode island red rooster. I used to have 2, but the coyote got one. They both were in a fight with a coyote before and lost their tails. Long story short, the coyote took the nice one. So I still have Rudy. I tried everything suggested here. Nothing worked. I can’t kill the protector of the flock. My brother in law gave me a huge fish net. Most be for salmon or something. Real big and light. So now the net goes with me in the yard. If Rudy even looks like he’s going to attack I show him the net. I have put the net over him several times. I net him and then make him stay for about 30 seconds. Then release. He walks away then and leaves me alone. One time he got all tangled because he attacked while I was trailing it behind me. I’m going oh no now what. I had to pick him up with the net entangled. I just held him like a hen while I untangled his feet. I decided to just hold him for awhile. I petted him and talked gently. For about 5 minutes. Then I put him down and he dashed away. Ignored me the rest of the day. I do have a new rooster in the flock from one of the hens brooding eggs. He’s about 6 months and is not mean. I walk all around him no problem. Rudy doesn’t seem to care that he’s there and mating with the hens. He’s still dominant, but no fighting so far. Keeping my fingers crossed. By the way, kicking and hitting him doesn’t work. He just keeps attacking. Just have to be aware around him. I tell him to shoo and he does. I don’t like to hit animals.

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