Pickett, our current flock rooster, started life as a struggling chick hatched by the school chooks. His mother had abandoned him in the nest and he was in danger of freezing to death. I picked him up and popped him into my pocket for the day while I taught maths and science. He came home with me and was raised by himself in the humpy.
He eventually became a beautiful rooster and we decided to make him the flock rooster after Big (our previous rooster) died. He has always been a friendly rooster who takes his job seriously. Recently we have raised two more roosters who have been released into the flock, which seems to have changed the dynamic a little.
Now Pickett has begun to be really defensive of his girls, even with me. He has developed some long spurs and is not afraid to use them. He recently attacked my legs while I was feeding the animals outside and did some damage to me.
In response to this, once the blood was cleaned up, we caught him and trimmed the ends of his spurs so he can’t do so much actual damage. I am also trying what my daughter calls ‘cuddle therapy’ with him; essentially, when he approaches me in an aggressive way I simply pick him up and give him a cuddle. He sees this as me asserting my dominance over him (which is nothing but the truth) and it helps me to still see him as the appealing little fuzz ball he was as a chick. We will see if this helps to retrain his brain.
Roosters are naturally protective of the flock (after all, they have to prove their worth to the hens) and this can easily turn to aggressive behaviours towards humans. There is little that can be done to calm an angry rooster, and I have found the best strategy is to try to pick them up and hold them until the storm passes. Running away only makes them worse, as does hitting or kicking them. I have heard some really horrifying stories about roosters; from putting a bucket over them to kicking them to death, and I can’t help but feel sad for both the rooster and the human involved. The rooster is obeying an instict to protect himself and his family and the human is obeying the same instinct. Once a rooster sees you as a threat, it is very hard to win him over again, but we can at least try.
Sadly, the fact that Pickett is aggressive now means that we may not be able to allow him to breed another generation of chicks as aggression tends to run in blood lines. We try to keep only gentle souls here, but we always give everyone plenty of chances to turn their behaviour around.