I've raised chickens off and on for about 8 years. It has been my experience that even the sweetest, most hand-held roo will grow up to be the foulest cock-of-the-walk around. I am thinking it has to do with the number of hens available for him. Am I right?

I was so excited the year we had chicks, but you could not walk into the yard without a stick. I have given away (to Farmer's Feed) too many mean roosters that we have raised from chick. I know a lot of people on here are pleading to give their pet rooster a good home, but I would like to have some answers before I take one more chance.

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I am not an expert by any means but my understanding is that a rooster is designed, if you will, to be territorial and aggressive in protecting his hens. I am not sure if having two or twenty hens for him would make much of a difference. I have wondered if space makes a difference. Our mean rooster lived with four hens but in a chicken run and I always thought if he had more space maybe he wouldn't have been such a jerk. He had to go.
Our roosters had plenty of space and I wondered if that was the problem. Just the opposite of yours LOL. Our flock had the run of a large area so entering it to get to food, water, eggs, etc. which was ALL the way on the other end of the area may have been part of the problem. Still would like more input. I think some roosters are just mean.

As far as the number of hens goes, poor hens, it does make a difference to them.
I think that's right: some roosters are mean. I used to teach at the Children's Campus at UNM and at the time there were two hens and a rooster in the animal yard. Those birds always wandered around with the children ages infant to 8 years or so, and the rooster never chased or pecked anyone. None of them ran away from the children other than moving out of the way if someone was running at them. The three were hand raised and they were not raising chicks. They also weren't being kept for the eggs either because of University regulations. Some times the hens would lay eggs, but just wherever they happened to be standing, no in a special area. The three were all Rhode Island Reds. They were all so nice, in fact, that they didn't mind a bit if a toddler was patting them rather heavily on the back. When they were let out during the day to wander the school, the rooster would spend a long time looking through the window of the front door of our classroom, watching the children play. So I don't think roosters have to be mean. I don't know how this rooster came to be nice. I wasn't there when the school first got the birds.
I've had years of experience (approx 25) and I have also come across this in other literature. Hens are lovely when hand raised, but at some point, when the testosterone kicks in, a hand raised rooster, gander, or peacock will often become extremely human aggressive - particularily to the person that so lovingly raised him. I now do not try to handle chicks so that should they turn out to be male, they will not become so aggressive to me. Some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others, and individuals have varing degrees of agression. Now, I also have bantam D' Uccle chickens, and as a breed they are extremely docile. The roosters, no matter how much they have been handled are calm and sweet.
I concur with Marta about hand-raising chicks if you are keeping roosters. I have had a sweet-as-can-be hand-raised RIR rooster (Big Red, RIP) who would tend his flock and also sit on my lap to be hand fed cukes. He was awesome. Some roosters are just like that. I don't know if it's the breed necessarily. I just butchered an aggressive RIR roo.

Roosters have their pecking order just like hens, so if you have more than one roo then one will be the dominant and the other will, in my experience, spend its time challenging the dominant roo or getting his own flock. So when we humans hand raise chicks, when they're older, we start to mirror the role of a rooster, feeding them, calling to them, protecting them (maybe). If the rooster is at all threatened, then he is going to challenge you for position of top roo.

This is one of the reasons why I let hens raise the chicks when possible. If I hand raise, I let them be after a few months so that I don't interfere with the flock dynamics. I still give them snacks, but I toss them into the pen then the rooster calls the chicks and feeds them, not me.

So if you want a rooster, try again, but if someone is trying to give you an aggressive rooster, you're not going to befriend him. Stew pot time. Aggressive roos are not acceptable. The size of your pen shouldn't matter (though the number of roosters to hens will).

Good luck!
Hi, also a new urban home steader here,
we recently just butchered our rooster (with friends who also had an agressive rooster) he was so sweet untill puberty, I have had other roosters who were gentle and sweet to me, my friends and his brood of ladies...
hard to say why he was so mean, but the stew we made was delicious!
amanda
There have been some very helpful comments, and I have read every one. Thank you so much.
Hi I have been raising chickens for about 10yrs and out of very many roosters (alot) I have had only 2 that were mean. I don't know what made them mean but they sure were. I really don't think it has anything to do with how many hens each one has. I currently have 2 old secluded roosters and 2 young roosters and about 10 hens and 8 chicks. They are all free range.
Out of 10 roosters for 100 hens, I had one turn mean about the age of 2 months old. I raised them all from day old. This one rooster started even attacking the hens. None of the other boys were at all aggressive.

I put him in an animal cage, by himself, with his own food and water and set the cage in the midst of the chicken run during the day. At night, he had to go into the garage. It drove everybody crazy. The others were trying to get into his cage for his food and he was bouncing off the walls to get out.

I did this for about a week and then let him go in with the others. It was amazing. He straightened right up. A couple days later, he was back to attacking so I did it again. The second time around, did the trick.

I think he caught on. :)

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