My roo must go :(

sullicorbitt(z5 MA)March 15, 2007

I am so disappointed, my Welsummer roo Charles who I love dearly flogged my 5 year old daughter today. Fortunately she had long pants on and he didn't jump too high. She was helping me herd him into the coop at the time and I'm sure took her for a competing roo since she is not very tall. He has always had the best behavior with me and the kids, I have always been careful to show my dominance and believe he respected me as head roo. He is one year old and lately has had spring fever, overly mating the girls (drawing blood on the head of one of my buff orps) and crowing incessantly whenever we are out in the backyard.

Normally I coop him when the kids are playing so the neighbors don't get too annoyed but this flogging business pushed me over the edge! Fortunately I have a friend w/a farm that has a passion for roosters, so he has a home to go to. I am just really bummed out right now.

We are hatching some silkies soon so maybe we will find a nice roo out of the group that will work out.


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So sorry about Charles... He sounds nice, but I'm glad you're giving him to a friend instead of cooking him or something!! That's what I've heard a lot of people say they do when a rooster isn't as friendly as they want it or when it acts too aggressive!

I've never had a rooster or chicken, but my grandpa use to have some when he was younger. They make good pets, so I'm sure you'll really miss your little guy. I bet he'll be happy though :)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:00AM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

Yes, I hate it too when people actually eat chickens.

I don't mean to kick when you're down Sheila, but I'm sorry, I find it more difficult to be sympathetic to your situation. What did you expect would happen? Roosters, like any other male livestock, can be agressive and unpredictable during the breeding season. Do you think every beef farmer who's ever been attacked by a bull or every shepherd who's ever had a good butt in the backside by a ram has turned around and immediately gotten rid of them? Certain species have been developed into livestock, and others into pets over the millennia, mainly due to their temperaments and how they relate to man. Chickens have not been developed into a pet species for good reasons. When you treat them as such and have unpleasant consequences, the fault lies with unreasonable expectations from the owner, not because the bird is "bad". Five years old is too young to understand just yet why certain animals are approachable and others aren't, but it's plenty old enough to be taught to just stay away from them. And really, it's not all that difficult to keep the two seperate and still have some nice birds to enjoy.

The other thing I have difficulty with is the lesson that is taught the child. Animals are disposable. One step out of line, and off they go, without so much as a thought as to the reasons for what happened, whose fault it really was and how it might be prevented. JMO

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 2:11AM
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My roosters breed the hens year round with the exception of a few weeks during an extremely cold winter when the hens stop laying.

There are too many good natured roosters to fool around with one that could hurt anyone, especially a child. We don't usually eat them unless they're quite young and they aren't passed on to someone else who might get hurt. They go into a compost pile.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 6:59AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Thanks Ginny :) he will be going to a good home.

Wow Patrick! don't hold back.

Actually I've never had a pet rooster before so this is my first experience in keeping a one. I've followed advice as a guide and so far it has worked great.

The thing you may have missed in my post is my daughter was actually helping me, our chickens all need to be approachable by people. And I'm sorry to disagree but I do not think she is too young to understand or to be taught to not go near an animal for whatever reason. All our chickens are hand raised and both my kids have been a big part of the hatching and caring for our birds, we spend a lot of time with them.

I did not know that all roosters were unapproachable during "breeding season". I new this was the case with geese but not roosters. I also wasn't aware that this was considered a specific "breeding season" because they breed and lay eggs all year all the time.

My rooster is not "BAD" and I never said he was, I just can't have him attacking my daughter. He is not disposable, I don't think that is the lesson here. My friend who'll take him has a farm near by with all kinds of animals, he is not being thrown out or discarded like you imply.

So instead of finding fault with me, why not be helpful by telling me what the right set up is? should I keep my rooster away from my children all the time or only during the spring "breeding season"?

I do not have many years of poultry keeping under my belt like you which is exactly why I come here.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 7:16AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

Don't blame yourself for this situation, Sheila. If a parent can't safely include a child in caring for chickens without the child being flogged by the rooster, then something has to change. I would talk to your daughter about the reasons why Charles needs to go to a home where there are no small children. Tell her you wish he could stay, but that her safetly is MUCH more important and that he is lucky that he can have a happy life at your friend's place.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 4:37PM
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That's our Patrick. Terrific aim but blunt as round rock!

Don't feel badly, Sheila. Many of us our learning, and like you, we come to this forum for good advice. Patrick does have a solid point though in that some farm animals are not suitable as pets, especially around very young children.

I know we're learning to live and work around our gander who has become quite a handful, but we accept that he's doing his job and we routinely evaluate the level of his behavior against the safety of those around us. We don't have kids which eliminates much of the hazard - but we HAVE had to warn the little guy across the street who occasionally rides his bike over to chit-chat.

On the other hand, even more seasoned farmers (I defer to Miss Maggie) have on occasion dispensed of a creature due to its aggressive nature (I refer to your "unlamented gander") regardless of whether its purpose is for table or as pet.

Your decision is probably well founded. 70 years ago when my mother grew up on a farm, she was flogged by an aggressive Tom turkey. In those days, just getting rid of a bird was not an option one would normally turn to. A farm inherently had certain levels of danger which had to be accepted - on the other hand, at 84 my mother still has a vivid memory of the attack.

Since we now have the option of eliminating some of the more dangerous aspects of farming, it would certainly be careless not to take action one way or the other, be it coming up with a better way to pen the poultry or finding a better situation for the rooster. SOunds like a good solution to me.

I think though, that Patrick's point could be translated by saying that - from the bird's point of view, your roo has a people problem.

You'll probably have to wait a few years before trying a rooster again until your daughter is a little older, but I would encourage you to try none the less.

As we have learned - overcoming the challenges some creatures bring to farm life is also part of the learning process. And we're glad we've stuck with it. Irritating as they are, these are the creatures that ultimately teach us better management skills which become real useful in times of urgency when we must figure a way to handle or move stock that are sick, injured or in difficult situations

Best of luck and all of our support! (Go visit Charlie once in a while! He's probably a handsome roo. Didn't you paint a portrait of him last year?


    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 9:16PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Thanks for your replies, Robin, Maggie and LF :)

I think my roo has been upset because I gave away a bunch of hens to my friend last weekend. In that bunch was a head hen BR who really ruled the coop and my rooster. Charles must be upset at the loss of some of his girls and assumed the position of head chicken in the flock. This is the best understanding that I can come to. I don't blame him for what he did but I would blame myself if it every happened again, especially to a child.

Maggie, I have talked to my daughter and she does understand the situation, she also knows we will be able to visit Charles like LF said, making the loss more bearable.

I have been to petting zoo's where big roosters wander about among the public/small children (just recently at the Roger Williams Park zoo in RI), how do they do it Patrick?

LF, here's Charles :)


    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 7:52AM
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Charles is SO pretty!

Oh, don't feel bad about having to give away C. You are finding him a good home to go to and that's what any good owner would do if they couldn't keep their pet anymore :)

I have a goat (Reese) and he rams into my little 3 y/o niece everytime he sees her., so I have to keep them separated or either watch them when they are together! LOL! So I truly understand how frustrating it can be for an animal to push a little kid around!
I bet going to see Charles will be good for you and your daughter.....

That painting is so beautiful; I wish I could paint like that! I love to draw, but I'm not good at it~LOL


    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 1:08AM
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How handsome he is!

I think you are doing the right thing too!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 11:28AM
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Nice painting Sulli!!

I think I remember a different one (lots of greens and blues as i recall.

Say, can you or anyone please inform me how to insert a picture in the message? I haven't been able to figure this out... can't remember the occasion for which I wanted to do this.



    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 1:58AM
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ahbee01(z5 OH)

This just happened to me also but my little guy is 4. The rooster tried to get him a few different times in the few minutes I was trying to get my son away from the rooster.
I had just let them out to free range a little and all the animals gathered around the hens, my 3 goats and 5 ducks. My son was in the middle of all this when the roo jumped up at him, he had a snow suit on so he was sort of protected. The roo has never acted aggressive before, and I was quite surprised. After assessing the situation, I felt that the rush of animals around the hens posed a threat to the roo and he was acting accordingly. On the other hand I can never trust the roo with the children,( My oldest son, 18, said the roo has done that to him also.) so I will keep my son away by means of keeping the roo in a pen when he is around. But I will keep the roo exposed to my youngest child be having him throw treats to the roo through the fence. Maybe then he will see my son as his care giver instead of a threat. I have a lot of children around here and can't possible keep an eye on everyone else's children. I try to let the kids in the area know that the animals can and will bite, to stay away. Kids will be kids. So if the roo continues to pose a threat I will have to remove him from our flock. Where we have our birds, kids gather by the stream that connects all our property. So I worry some about how brave kids try to be. Our runs are locked but not with key locks, for fear that I would need to have a quick get away in an emergency situation that I would need to remove the animals in a hurry! Flood, fire that sort of thing!So having aggressive birds is not always an option for every one. I fear a child being hurt and then being sued over it, even though it is private property you are still liable! So for now the roo will stay, but my little guy is no longer aloud to help feed the birds inside the run, and I will only free range the roo when I can watch him close!
I love my roo I would hate for him to have to go, but I love my family and property more, and I won't think twice about getting rid of an animal that can pose harm to the children around me.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 11:03AM
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>>I did not know that all roosters were unapproachable during "breeding season".

They aren't. We have three roosters, three toms and seven or eight drakes. They're all non-threatening. We can't have school kids and customers in here with dangerous birds, and I don't have time or enough insurance to fool with them.

My husband did chores over the weekend. My Americauna rooster jumped at him and scratched his leg. DH kicked back quickly. I hope that's all it takes. He's rumpless (the roo, not DH!) and beautiful. I'd like to be able to pen him with my only Americauna hen if she starts laying again. If he does it again he'll be in the compost pile. =(

Sheila, Charles is beautiful and you're very talented!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 6:26AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Thanks for the responses. Robin I agree, if you have your birds free ranging w/people coming and going on your property it's just asking for trouble having an aggressive bird. But it would be a different story if you always had your birds penned or separated so they they can be viewed w/out threat. I guess it depends on what kind of set up you want w/your birds.

I love letting my chickens out to free range in our backyard, I enjoy them so much! How did you get your rumpless roo? they are quite rare and yes very beautiful!

I visited a breeder this weekend that had a backyard full of birds, I was totally amazed at how sweet natured and docile her roosters were (quiet too!). She handles her birds a lot and wouldn't dream of keeping an aggressive bird.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 7:52AM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

Sheila, you're right, sometimes I forget that what is second nature to me is not to everyone else. Apparently I did a poor job of explaining my point. I never meant to imply that all roosters are aggressive, just that all male livestock can be unpredictable and should be treated as such, even those that have never shown any aggression. That's a basic tenet of livestock keeping that I need to remember that not everyone today knows about, especially those trying to keep livestock species as pets. You mention geese. Even more people misunderstand their behavior. If raised with a basic understanding of their nature, few are unapproachable, even in the breeding season, but that's a whole other subject. If it were 50 years ago we would not be having this discussion, as most people back then had at least some connection to farm life, and at least a general understanding of animal behavior.
I guess that I have a hard time understanding how someone could so easily get rid of a valued animal in those circumstances, because if it happened to me, I would consider it it my fault, not the bird's, and take appropriate action to see that it didn't happen again.
The "breeding season" I referred to is the fact that hormones in both sexes are at a peak at this time of year due to the increased daylight. Yes, chickens will breed throughout the spring, summer and fall, and some even in winter, but in general, now is when you get peak fertility and breeding behavior. Your rooster did not just turn this way all of a sudden. Welsummers mature slowly anyway, but as he became fully grown last fall, the daylight decrease subdued the production of hormones in his body, until now when they are present and bringing out his true temperament.

LF, I take your comments as a compliment, and I acknowledge them as fairly descriptive of my no nonsense style, although I know it's not for everyone. There have been times in the past when I wish someone had said to me "Wake up, Bozo", and there were times when they did, and I did not want to hear it that way, but I know now that they were right, and that they did have my best interests at heart.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 11:53AM
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Awe Patrick, You're the best! Brash tacks and all.

I generally pay attention when I see your posts because you seem to be a wealthspring of information on birds and I learn a lot from you. (There are a few others out there, V.Sparrow, fancifowl etc).

Your management advice often collides with those whose interests are more towards pets I've observed, but I must admit I find your "INCOMING" remarks amusing... and even when they sting, I try to remember that you're probably shooting from a platform of practicality, and note that you usually pad with "IMO".

All the best!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:18PM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

Hear hear! We have a millenia long history of domestication with dogs and cats, and it's easy to generalize the kind of anthropomorphizing we do with them to other animals. I appreciate Patrick's no-nonsense approach too and his gentle :-) reminders that chicken 'culture' is a bit different!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:01AM
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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

Thanks guys. You both seem to understand where I'm coming from, and my intent, very well.
LF, that's the nicest way that anyone has ever told me that I'm full of it!
Mark, right on. I'm no rocket scientist, in fact probably more of a dope than many people I know, but if I can figure that out, why can't the rest of the world?
I'm not a "pet" kind of guy with many of my typically non-pet animals, and I hate seeing the charlatans, wives' tale promoters, and drug pushers. My dogs, however, are my pets, and one of my greatest joys. I still lean more toward the practical with them than does the average pet owner, it's my nature, but they were and are developed by us for that purpose.

I hope that Sheila does well with her birds, and I'm glad that she didn't get scared away by my gruff sarcasm. I've learned a few things too.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:06PM
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Hello All,

Im new to this forum. I found it while I was frantically searching for answers to the reason why my Leghorn rooster would suddenly attack me this morning. This is my first rooster and I am also new to raising chickens. I have had this rooster for almost a year now and he is usually a good boy. But this morning I got a surprise as I opened up the door to the chicken coop. He flew out and went right for my legs. I gave him a really good drop kick and he came back for more. I did notice today that one of my year old Black Jersy Giant hens is acting broody. She has been spending a lot of time in the coop on her nest and when I come around she growls at me and all of her feathers on her neck stand up on end. Could he be trying to protect the coop because I have a broody hen nesting? I actually went as far as calling a local vets office to see if they could casterate him. I dont want to have to get rid of him or eat him for dinner. I really like him and enjoy watching him free range with his hens. He has only challenged me a couple of time in the last year. Do you think I have a problem Roo on my hands? Or do you think there might be an answer to why he woke up on the wrong side of the coop this morning.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 1:24AM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

You didn't mention that he 'spurred' you but I expect that is when you will get serious about the problem. Those spurs can do lots of damage!

He probably is protecting the coop, but if he doesn't know by now you are not a danger, he probably will attack you again (and again!) In my short experience, once there is an attack, they don't get any better. We started out with 8 roosters (and 70 hens). We are now down to four and so far they seem nice. I am starting to think the nice ones are few and far between.

I feel roosters are important to a flock, but I am the head rooster and don't want to be tested.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 9:20AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

I seem to recall that this came up in past years, and that Velvet Sparrow (who doesn't seem to be posting much these days) has a web page with a good procedure/training method to use on aggressive roosters. While it may not work on your particular roo', it's worth looking up (try the search function at the bottom of the Farm Forum page for Velvet Sparrow), and following her advice.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 9:06AM
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When I was a little shaver, maybe 4 or so, my folks rooster cornered me in an A frame hog hut. If the little old neighbor lady hadn't come out due to my yelling there is no telling how bad it would have been. I did learn my lesson though, until I got a lot bigger I didn't go alone to the hen house to see my pet chickens and gather eggs.

Personally, I see both sides of the issue. Animal behavior is just what comes to them naturally. Man can modify this by selective breeding and training, but when left to thier own devices an animal will do whatever comes to it by instinct. I, for one, would not tolerate an attacking rooster IF my great nephew or other small children were around my place. The first attack would result in immediate euthanasia! But, as I am a single man, with no kids and no children or other people who visit me on a regular basis I am more likely to tolerate some aggressiveness, but only to a point. If kicking the holy snot out of him or an application of a one by two doesn't get his attention he can look forward to meeting a 47 grain lead pill from my revolver!

As to the probability of a rooster being onery, some of it has to do with genetics. Some breeds are much more docile than others. A neighbor of mine used to have seasonal produce stand/pumpkin patch and kept a huge Buff Orpington rooster. That fellow was as large as a domestic turkey! He never caused a problem though, he was as docile as a lamb, a very well behaved bird. Some of it also has to do with territory and hormones. Any alpha male animal will be more apt to be aggressive at anytime the females are in the breeding cycle. (Take a look at the dumb jocks in High School. The minute a pretty cheerleader winks at them, they become Superman and are ready to take on the world.)

Anyway, Heidi, if your vet is willing to convert him into being a capon it might not solve the problem entirely. If he is also being aggressive due to territorial issues, and he has made you back down a time or two he will continue to challenge you until you get the upper hand on him. Good luck in doing that.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 8:46AM
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That was 2 years ago. How has the rooster situation worked out?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 1:35AM
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