So you are new to keeping roosters.. or you are not new, and want to know where you went wrong with the rooster you have. He is aggressive, cocky and you just don’t like him.
I’ve raised my fair share of roosters. We had 15 full time boys that we used for breeding (at least). Only one of them was a little cockier than I would have liked him to be…
Gigi.. for those of you who need a visual. Maybe he was pissed at me for tying his hair back.. Maybe he just couldn’t handle the pressure.. Who knows. He chased both Susan and Dylan, and flogged our neighbour (who kicked him in the ass and was immediately given respect from Gigi).
Now.. For the most part I would suggest eating an aggressive rooster, but I took the time to train this behaviour out of Gigi. Yes it can sometimes be done.. not always, but sometimes. I would not suggest even trying with one that had no value to your breeding program, or with one that has attacked children – but Gigi was trained to respect humans after a few minutes of stick training a day for a week. (will post separately about this if requested).
To avoid even getting to that point, here is what needs to happen:
- As soon as you can tell a chick is a male, do not handle the chick other than to check it over for injuries or illnesses. If the chick puffs up it’s chest at your hand in the brooder, ping it and make it move away from your hand. The goal is to make this future man respect your presence, and to respect that YOU are boss.
- Never walk around a rooster. Walk through him. Make him move. You are the boss. You are alpha rooster! Even if you are a woman, you are still the head of this flock!
- Do not let the roosters breed in your close proximity. Yes that is what you have a rooster for, but if he mates a hen right at your feet, that is blatant disrespect. Remember, you are the head rooster! Try to think like one.. If you see your underling mate your woman right in front of you, what are you going to do? Let him? No! Push him off of her. Chase the boy away after he is kicked off. Just like a real alpha rooster would!
- Don’t hand feed your cockerels. This teaches them (like handling does) that you are not to be respected.
The hens are the only ones I care to be friendly with. Roosters need to be timid of you, otherwise they are very likely to attack when you are trying to catch a hen, when you come too close to the hens, or are invading their space.
Think of yourself as the ALPHA. If your beta rooster is coming too close, you peck them. You don’t let them with your girls when you are present.
If you ever get one that needs correcting – I love using twigs. I don’t hit them with it or anything. I poke them and make them move away from it. They don’t like to be touched. This makes them give me a wide bubble of personal space.
I know it’s hard to abstain from handling the boys. You can if you want, but it did not work out well for Gigi, who was always handled as a chick (he was funny and everyone liked him).
You want keeping roosters to be a pleasurable experience and it will be if you take the time to understand them and what they need. They are not created to be pets. Their instincts tell them to guard and protect and to make others submit. Your job is to be the head rooster, and to make sure they submit to you. By handling them you are showing them you are not worthy of respect and space.