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 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.

aggressive-rooster-behavior

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.

aggressive-rooster-behavior

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

The Pack

Anchor
Comments
  • We have a Jersey Giant rooster named Claude. Once I learned he was a rooster I would chase him and snuggle him. I would also have my kids do it too. He pecked my son once but he quickly put him in his place. Now my husband and any other male is another story. He does. Not like men and will challenge them every time. My husband and grandfather are not afraid of him and will kick him with their boot til he surrenders. My dad… Oh my dad well he is terrified of him and Claude knows it! Claude torments him. Lol. I keep telling him to pick him up to make him surrender and he refuses to hold him. My house is very comical when my dad is here and if he had his way he would eat him. Claude is my baby and isn’t going anywhere.

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    • I always just get down to his level and hug him.. I also make time to sit on the floor with him and he will come over to sit on me. Sometimes I have to pick him up and hold him for a minute. He knows I love him and respect his need to care for his girl. He has one hen.

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  • I grew up as a young child on farm with chickens. Later in life I had my own free range chickens, that my children handled from day old. Both time in my life have numerous crazy story’s of rosters. Enjoyed your article very much, it brought back so many memories. Thanks…

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  • Thank you so much for this article! I read it a few weeks ago when my Buff Orpington rooster named Pecker (my children named him so sorry…) started attacking me right after he started crowing. I was shocked, he was my buddy. But have used all your tips and tricks and he is starting to leave me alone. I make my husband come with me if I need to turn my back to clean the coop or clean their water. I also found if I bring them some treats, he will completely ignore me. Thanks again!!

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  • I love the chicken stories. Such a good laugh for me. My mom told me when I was a kid that chickens would peck at your eyes for the black spot in them. Scared me forever to get near a chicken. Forget getting near a rooster. yikes. Thanks for sharing your stories with a city gal.

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  • When I bought my first six chicks from the local farm store, they were supposed to be all pullets. NOT. Ended up with one Buff Orpington and one Rhode Island Red roosters. They got along pretty well growing up but Nigel, the Red seemed to be dominant. They were hand raised. Nigel seemed to love me and as he matured, he started doing his “courting dance” around my feet. When I wouldn’t cooperate, he turned aggressive. Charles, the Buff became my protector, chasing Nigel away when he would go after me. He would even escort me to when I was out and about to keep Nigel away. We finally got tired of Nigel being nasty and he became soup. Later that summer, something snatched Charles and I was heartbroken. A friend gave us another rooster who we named Rufus. He is gorgeous – a cross between a Buff Orpington and a Rhode Island. Go figure. His owner has a passel of kids and would not stand for any shenanigans from any rooster so he came to me pretty people shy. I’ve been able to gain some of his confidence over the past year. He doesn’t want to be petted or held like my Charles did, but at least he doesn’t run from me anymore. He’s a good rooster to his girls too. We just had a broody hen hatch 7 eggs – all Rufus’s babies. Can’t wait to see what colors they turn out.

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  • The worst is when you buy 25 pullets from a hatchery and they throw in a couple extra, which always seem to be roosters. They’d grow up and get frustrated because we already had a rooster, so they would take it out on my youngest son. He’d get fed up and shoot em, or sic the dogs on em, but they would never learn. Finally we’d throw them outside the coop at night and the predators thinned them out.

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    • That is just

      That is one of the worst stories of animal cruelty I have ever heard. Shoot them and let them suffer, six the dogs on thin to be mauled and in pain and lastly leave him for the predators. You have an evil heart. There are far less cruel, non suffering ways to deal with a aggressive rooster. Karma. May it be served to you on a silver platter. I can only imagine how you treat your other animals and children. May God have no mercy on you evil soul. Shame on you. Karma. What you put out comes back to you. Smh……..

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      • I totally agree. People are so disgusting sometimes. I hope they get what they deserve someday.

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    • Wow. It is immoral to make them suffer. They are just acting as they are created. Why wouldn’t you just cull them and eat them? Instead their entire purpose was wasted. Terrible. That behavior is like what the cowboys did to every living creature they found in the wild. To waste their lives in such a cruel manner is inhumane.

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      • Well, it’s that or you get severely injury by your rooster. Take your pick.

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  • We have a Black Australorp roo that has recently begun to stalk me. He has come at me, flying shoulder high! I carry a broom when I am out, but will surely try the suggestions you outlined in your article. Thank you for this timely information!

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  • Its interesting reading snd informative as well.Thanks a lot.I had a problem with three different roosters at different points of time,one being an Ancona,Rhode and the other being Aseel.By the by can you you arrange with some breeder for supply of a clutch of Black Minorca and Rhode of show qualuty?I live in India.

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  • I have had chickens growing up and turkeys for the last few years. We just lost our very old Tom this year so we decided to go with chickens. I purchased 6 pullet chicks and 5 assorted bantams. At 5 weeks old we knew one of the bantams was a rooster so he started holding him and cuddling him. He is the sweetest boy ever! He is so content if your arms he falls asleep. Well, another bantam ended up being a rooster. It’s fine, he’s skiddish, but tolerable. However, one of our pullets, our buff orpington, ended up being a rooster. Of all the chicks, he was always the sweetest and easiest to catch. Well, that didn’t last long and now he lunges, pecks, and bites! All of the chicks grew up together but it is constantly going after the others. We are definitely going to try your tactics for our sake. However, our poor bantams are going to need their own place away from him.

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  • I’m at my witts end ! First I have a big red rooster that was hatched two days after Christmas in the snow. He goes after my granddaughters he will litterly watch for them and sneekup just to attack them some thing with two redspeckled bantam roosters . the girls have never done anything to these guys. I ended up locking them up. In cages so the girls can play outside.

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  • Pretty funny. I was raised around all kinds of farm animals. Years ago we had a rooster that attacked everyone. One day when I was home alone I went to the chicken run wearing shorts and he attacked me. Needless to say I was angry… So I put on long pants, went to the pen and caught him and hacked off one of his spurs with a dull hacksaw blade. Sorry people it was the only thing I could find. Because it was dull I only did the one side but he never attacked anyone again. Just walked funny for awhile. Moral of the story… don’t mess the farm girl.

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  • I taught my kids to just “walk through” the rooster. Focus on a point on the other side of the roo and just walk purposefully and forcefully in that direction, forcing the roo to get out of the way. It’s all about attitude with roosters – “you are nothing, I am your master. You get out of my way!”

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    • If you had a nice rooster, you wouldn’t have to go to through such tactics to walk across your yard. Take it from me, get rid of your mean rooster and get a nice one.

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      • My rooster was nice when I first got him (he was from one of my friends who could not take him), but then he matured, and he just turned on me one day. I was never mean to him or anything. He just snapped

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      • My roo. The living definition of birdbrain. I will definitely be trying these out!

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  • Great info…my Aussies are always with me so they have helped keep his attention away from me. They are fast and have never hurt any of my fowl (chickens, ducks, guineas, & geese) They are my protectors but this information has made me aware that I can and will try this on my own, just because! Rudy is a beautiful 6 month old creasted cream leghbar and I have many others but purchased 2 creasted cream legbars to breed. I really want to make this work with him!

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  • I got 9 baby chicks from a hatchery. one of the 2 speckled sussix turned out to be a rooster. We hand raised them and wiped their pasty butts, but I guess that doesn’t matter once a rooster matures. Larry started charging me every chance he got. He was big and very scary. I was determined to put him in his place so when he started after me I would grab him by the neck and push him down on the ground and hold him there for a while. when I let go, he would run away. but this tactic would not last long and he would start attacking me again. He would even try to attack me when he was contained in the run!. we eventually gave up and got rid of him. But I wanted a rooster for protection so we got a bantam mix from someone advertising on backyard chickens blog. We love N’Waffles. He is such a gentleman. He takes good care of his girls but he has the utmost respect for me and my husband. I have never felt nervous or scared around him. The only problem we have had with him is he won’t accept a new hen we tried to incorportate into the flock (I know you should do more than one but she was found running around in a parking lot and a friend caught her and asked if I would rescue her). He is always attacking her and pecking her and making her bleed. So we had to build a new coop with two sides to separate her from them. We put the two Easter Eggers with her because they have never hurt her. So she now has her own flock and N’Waffles’ flock is now 6 girls instead of 8. Oh well, he should have been nice to her, he could have had a harem of 9

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  • My “red” rooster was very aggressive. I would hit him on the head with the plastic grain scoop to keep him at bay. It didn’t help. So one day i just yelled at the top of my lungs ” I feed you and these eggs are mine”…believe it or not he backed off and Ive only had to yell at him one more time. I did not think chickens could understand what was said to them. My mistake

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    • Haha! I’ll try this tomorrow. The neighbors will think I’m crazy, but It’s worth it!

      Reply
  • I have a very aggressive red rooster. He tries to attack me everytime I go in the pen. He is mean to the girls too. He always eats first and runs the girls away from any treats I give them. I thought roosters were supposed to take care of the hens. They are leaving the pen just to get away from him all of the time. I will try your idea.

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    • Take my advice, and get rid of that rooster. There are so many nice roosters available. Why should you put up with a mean rooster. Do you really have time to train him to be nice, when you could find a nice rooster very easily?

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  • We have one of those aggressive guys. I only have 10 hens and him. He has yet to get me, but yesterday I heard a noise behind me and there he was. Thankfully I had the leaf rake with me. Smacked it down on top of him three times before he decided to leave. Chased him with it for a bit. Have to do that ever so often as he will try his best to get me. First time he does his life is over.

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  • Thank you for the information. I was challenged by our rooster today when I was checking on one of the hens laying. He ran from the other side of the yard after me. At first I thought he was just coming to the coop but when he turned and came after me when I was walking back to the house I turned and faced him. I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do but I did remember that I should not turn my back on him. We had a face off for a few minutes and I must confess I did kick him when he came at me. Thank you for the information so I know going forward to stand my ground, wave my hands and yell. By the way he is a Rhode Island Red and he does watch over his 6 hens very well. He is beautiful and I love his singing but I will not allow him to be aggressive to me or anyone else.

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  • This is the best advice I have read on handling aggressive roosters. Thank you! I get disgusted when I read about people who “beat” their roosters into submission. All animals have their own rules and we just need to learn how to follow them. I have four roosters and only one has been aggressive and he is the smallest. He also doesn’t hesitate to challenge very large hawks so I value him. He got me twice with his spurs and I used similar strategies when he snuck up behind me. I turned around , flapped my arms and said loudly and firmly “Tom NO” I also carried a rake in my hand but never had to use it. It just seemed to signal to him to back off. I would also occasionally take a handful of treats out with me when I first entered the chicken yard and fed them to him by hand. He hasn’t shown any aggression in months, but will still occasionally sneak up behind me. I turn around, bend over so my face is close to him and say “Toooommm what are you doing?” Then he starts dancing back and forth like. “Awwhhh I wasn’t going to do nothing” reminds me of some men I have known! Now I think it’s a game he likes to play with me but no spurs in months! He is a funny but brave guy and I love him!

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  • I have had much success of introducing roosters to an established flock. No one has ever died, what a silly statement. Yes they fight, no they dont die. This is what happens when you have to open the door to an animal in need, who are often roosters. I would assume you don’t have much experience with that seeing how much you value life. If a rooster attacks a human, it shouldn’t be a death sentence. Some people shouldn’t have animals if they don’t value life.

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  • I have a young 9 month old creasted cream legbar rooster who at first I thought was going to become a problem. He is not, we had a few mornings that I let him know that I was in charge by swing my arms and going toward him. He surrendered and since then he follows me but keeps his distance. I have 2 Aussies that will help me if I call them in to help intimate him so he is always aware of them. Don’t try this unless your dogs a very well trained and will stop and leave on command. Rudi our rooster is a great protector of our girls and seems to enjoy our free ranging life style. When I go in for eggs and they are all roosted he even enjoys an pat on the back!!!

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  • HERE IS A CURE FOR A BAD ROOSTER, AT NIGHT PICK HIM UP OFF THE ROOST, TURN HIM OVER IN YOUR ARMS, HOLD BOTH LEGS, AND TAKE A PAIR OF PLIERS AND TWIST THE BASE OF THE SPUR BACK AND FORTH, IT WILL CLICK AND SLIDE RIGHT OFF,, IT DOES NOT HURT THE ROOSTER! DONT CUT IT OFF!!, DONT BREAK IT OFF!! IT MAKES IT BLEED, BUT SLIDING IT OFF MAKES A INSTANT CALM ROOSTER, IF YOU WANT POLISH THE SPURS MAKE EAR RINGS OR SOME THING fine..,

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  • When I was a kid, we had a white crested Polish rooster. He would attack me from behind whenever he could. One day I had a stick in my hand when he spurred me in the leg. I turned around and swung on him. Hit him solid in the head and he fell over and kicked a couple of times. I started thinking of how to hide the body (I was a kid, remember). After a few minutes, he slowly rolled over and eventually stood up and wobbled away. He never attacked me again.

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  • Honestly? Why keep a mean rooster? Life is too short. The best way to tame a mean rooster is to turn him into chicken soup. Then raise yourself another nice rooster. Nothing can substitute for a nice rooster. I have a wonderful rooster now. He is a crossbreed. He never bothers me or anyone else, and he is a big improvement over my nasty Rhode Island Red rooster who attacked me every time my back was turned. I finally got tired of tap dancing around him every time I went outside. Honestly, my peace of mind is worth more than trying to finagle a myriad of ways to tame a mean rooster, when nice roosters are available.

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  • First, let me say that to comment on what another wrote and offer a varying opinion can be done in a way that is considerate. The best way to teach another is not to attack them. Human nature being what it is, that is a surest way to harden them in their error. Education is needed here, not more cruelty. Some people attack and try to bully others just like the mean roosters we are discussing. Never the right solution to a problem.
    Now, about roosters….I think each case is individual. Some can slaughter animals; some are kinda wimpy about it. I am such a nurturer that I have trouble with the killing part. But, I will eat YOUR bird! Just not mine.
    I have had that rooster that just had to go because he was attacking my young children, but I couldn’t kill him. I wasn’t able to place him, so I sent him off to go to slaughter as a last resort hoping someone would adopt him along the way. He was a gorgeous animal, was spotted by someone, and was claimed. A happy ending for all.
    As for the person who claimed that it was cruel to let a rooster outside the coop, that is the way of all animals that live wild. Nature can be cruel. But, an animal that has learned to depend on human care should not just be dumped out, I agree. But, I have heard of people who release an aggressive roo to wander a large yard, preferably with acreage (if neighbors are not close and won’t be bothered) and give it a dog house, access to a shed, whatever. They live out their lives, hopefully wary enough to avoid predators, and can have a good life while it lasts. I knew a guy who kept just roosters. He let them roam his fenced 5 acres, scratch all day, and roost in a building at night. He fed them, but there was plenty of space to discourage fights, so the man could just enjoy their beauty. We gave him 2 roosters that fought all the time in our small area with too many roos. One was a frizzled cochin and he had always wanted one! Worked out great for all!
    Culling is not wrong. Keeping is not wrong. It’s what you have time and tolerance for, what your goals are, etc. Cruelty often comes to roosters as retaliation for their attacks. We are thinking humans who should never act like the animals we house. A rooster is not just ‘mean’. He is doing what he does for a reason. It’s part of his nature. Remember: WE are the ones who force him to live in OUR world, in our small coop yard, in too close proximity or possibly with other roosters that frustrate or stress him. He may not be free to just run off like he could in the wild. If you have to do away with him, do so with calm deliberation and never cruelty or retaliation. It really is not his fault, and he does not possess your powers of reason, decision-making, or compassion. He’s just a bird.

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  • Am sonia Walker, took this forum to share my testimony because i never believed in mystical powers until i met Baba ubeji i was happily married for 15yrs, everything was going smoothly, all of a sudden my man became a monster, moved out of the House and disconnected from all means of communication. At this time my life was a wreck, misery was my only companion, could not reach him for 10months. On 7th November last year, I stumbled upon a testimony claiming baba ubeji helped restore a broken marriage, I finally decided to contact him via the email provided, that was how I started my path to happiness again. First contact was receptive, I explained my challenges, he said my husband was under a spell and he will take care of it and I will be happy again. I received the best surprise of my life, when my man came back home on Christmas eve. All thanks goes to God for using Baba ubeji to restore my marriage.I advice whoever is having relationship challenges or any other physical or spiritual challenges should contact him via email: greatbabaubeji@gmail.com

    Reply
  • hey. i think if you get good armor like a bike helm and boots and pillow legs and that stuff you’ll look huge.Also remember to bring a metal bar or pole.my roosters name is Stephano and he is one of the meanest roosters ever btw.

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  • I have an ameraucana rooster that is almost a year old and started attacking the children about 3 months ago . The first time it happend my 7yrs old was geting eggs out of the coup with me and he fluged and jumped at her. My chickens are free range so when the weather was right for it I started to let them out. And that’s when he attacked her again she was nowhere near him or the flock and was playing quittly in the sand box when he sought her out. I have sense armed her with a pall of small rocks and told her not to run from him ,to yell at him and wave her arms crazy in the air and run at him throwing rocks. He is geting better with her but the other day he deliberately skirted around all the adult and waited till my almost 2 yr old grand daughter wondered just out of sight to attack ….. He got booted hard ohhh but if my husband could have grabbed him he would have rung his neck and we would have had fresh chicken on the grill that night . He has chased one of the older girls too and friends kids ..I started throwing rocks and chasing him at random times in the day. If I can’t fix this roo then he is going in the pot which really isn’t what I want I have rased him from a chick and he is beautiful. The Pot is kinds my last resort..

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  • I had a buff Polish who started getting really mean, particularly around my 4 year old child. I found him a good home, via Craig’s List, with a buff Polish hen. Then did some research and looked for a Golden
    Alpenzeller. Found a five month old who had been just wonderful! He sleeps inside in the basement at night because even with a crow collar, he still has amazing volume but he is a sweet bird. I carry him in and out of the house, he is very protective of the hens when hawks or unfamiliar dogs are around but he is so sweet to the young chicks and to the hens. Finds then food and clucks to call them over, keeps a good watch out, and has never been aggressive toward any human. He earned his name: Prince Eric.

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  • Our rooster is on constant patrol in our yard. He hides in the tall weeds and attacks my husband when he mows the lawn on the riding lawn mower. He spurred my husband at shoulder level last week. I’ve been carrying around my water bottle and use the “stream” setting. The roo hates to get squirted and runs away every-time. My husband purchased a super soaker squirt gun with a shoulder strap for mowing the lawn. I realize he’s got a job to do, so we won’t be killing anything. Good luck out there!

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  • Our rooster, well tasted real good. We have had a few rough birds/real bad.

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  • I have four Buckeye chicks hatched in March 2017 and one Seven year old Brahma. My Son purchased 3 Sebright Bantams and they all turned out to be Males. I took one and added him to my flock in late June. He was accepted and became number one behind the Brahma. He would charge me and do the other dances to show me he was in charge, he followed me into the coop whenever I entered it and jump on the roost at eye level. After a couple weeks of this I tried to get him on my hand, he would peck my hand, dance and jump around. After a few days of this I pushed him enough that he had to step onto my hand where he continued pecking, he did not break the skin but did stretch it a bit. While he pecked and flapped his wings I shook my hand just enough for him to lose his balance but not fall off. At that point he sat down on my arm. After a bit I put him next to the roost and he got off. We became buddies after this and he never pecked me again.

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  • Gail B.

    Our rooster turned mean at about 5 months old. But just with myself and my daughter in law, the caretakers! He was given to us by a school class that raised him but couldn’t keep him as he grew up. He was the most beautiful, huge, white with red and black tail feathers. Loved him a lot but was still mean. He disappeared one night and we never saw him again. Since then we have lost two hens to we don’t know what so have had to step up surveillance in other areas. He really did his job of looking after the flock. I would put up with his temper any day!

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  • I have a 9-mos old Ameraucana rooster who attacks me at times. I discovered that if I raise my knee and show him the sole of my shoe that he has no clue what to do and walks away. A couple of times he tried to attack me with my leg in that position, but he realized it was fruitless because there is no base to kick. You just got to be able to keep your balance if you don’t have anything to hold on to!

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  • We have 8 roosters..YES you can have several!! I never allowed aggressive behavior by the suggested measures of direct challenge and stance..along with my trusted butterfly net!! any continued challenge gets them netted, pinned doen, then PICKED UP and carried around until calm, or turned on their backs like a baby in my arms until submission. Once I release..challenge over..lol. 4 roosters have their own bachelor pad and never access to tje hens. 2 roosters have 20 hens and have established order with occasional squabble ( net also applies), and 2 bantam roosters their own small pad, whom are handled daily. Free ranging is rotated. Peace is possible!

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