How to Handle a Cranky Rooster
So you have a cranky rooster? First, lets be fair to the rooster. Your mature rooster is only doing his job! Sometimes, he may take this job very seriously and decide that you are infringing on his territory. He is truly an alpha chicken, and in many cases this farming stuff is not for the faint of heart. I would argue a case that this type of rooster may be just who you need looking after your hens. Should an ill intentioned raccoon, opossum, fox, mink or hawk drop by, your aggressive guy will be on the job enforcing his boundaries. First, he will gather the flock and point them to shelter. Then he will stand in front of the flock. This is preferred rooster behavior. Really, it is.
What do you do if your rooster has decided that you are not welcome in the chicken run or even you own backyard? How do you handle a cranky rooster? It may be time to take some corrective action and to learn how to prevent a problem in the first place. We have had our fair share of aggressive roosters while raising chickens. We had two barred rock roosters that split the hens into two “families.” Not only did they become very aggressive to each other, they became very aggressive to us, too. Since there were two of them, they would work together and it was hard to leave the coop without being attacked! This was too much for me and we were lucky to re-home them both to different local families who wanted a rooster for their flocks. Once they went to their new homes, the aggression stopped.
We all know that roosters are inevitable. Asking for only pullets will not be a one hundred percent guarantee that no roosters will be in the order from the hatchery. Hatching out your own chicks gives you no guarantee. And then the little sweet chick grows up to be a protective rooster. So how do you handle a rooster that sees you as a threat? What are some possible ways to handle a cranky rooster? Here are some tips that work for us. Maybe these tips will help you keep your hard working protector and keep the peace in the pen.
How to Handle a Cranky Rooster
1. When entering the chicken run or coop, don’t turn your back on the rooster. Use a rake, a stall pick or something that you can use to keep the rooster from coming too close. I call this situational awareness. I know where my aggressive roo is and I keep him in sight. This prevent those sneak attacks!
2. As I pointed out above, carry a rake or garden tool or stick. You don’t have to use it! But you may need to hold the rooster from attacking your legs while you leave the coop area. I am not condoning hurting the rooster. This is just for your protection. I carry my stick and the rooster knows to stay away. Believe me, he notices every time I forget to bring in the stick!
3. Put the rooster in time out! Usher him into a large dog crate while you are working in the coop area if he won’t leave you alone. You don’t have to be a victim to his behavior.
4. Give the rooster some treats away from where you need to be. It will distract him for a few moments.
5. And my personal motto. Don’t over react. Remember back at the beginning when I said this wasn’t for the faint of heart? It will hurt if the rooster spurs you. But its not the worst thing that can happen. And please don’t take it out on the rooster. He is just doing his job.
Important Caution– Please don’t keep an overly aggressive rooster around small children. Unlike adults, they can be hurt very badly by a rooster and it isn’t worth the risk. Of course all of this is my opinion and ways that we have been able to deal successfully with our roosters.
This post appeared on Backyard Poultry Mag.com on January 28, 2014