How to Tame Aggressive Rooster Behavior
Stopping a Rooster Attack Before It Happens
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, 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.
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.
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