Pets

Making your world a better place

Learn more

Ask Bondi Vet

How to calm an aggressive rooster?

Dear Bondi Vet Team,

I've had my rooster Rodney for about a year now. He lives with 10 other female chickens in our backyard, and lately has had a really bad anger problem. He charges at me and tries to jump up and claw me. I'm not sure what the cause is, but some theories are that he is protective of the females, or he just wants to be left alone.

Is there any way to calm him down?

Thanks, Lucas

bannolucas21

1 Answer

Melissa

Hi Lucas,

Thanks for this interesting question and great work keeping chickens – they make fantastic pets! There are many advantages to keeping a rooster the main one being that a flock is usually safer with one around! An adult rooster is fearless and will fight any predator to the death to protect his hens. They will crow to alert the flock of threats and take their job very seriously.

Poor Rodney thinks that he is doing a good job and has unfortunately decided that you pose a threat to your 10 hens. Roosters attack when they feel stressed through flogging (jumping up), biting, spurring (scratching you with the sharp spur on the back of their foot which is designed for fighting) or pecking. These behaviours are commonly exhibited but can usually be resolved in most cases by applying a few basic changes. Firstly don’t do anything to stress Rodney as this is a common trigger for aggression. Always act calm and gentle around him. Don’t wave your arms, move abruptly or aggressively, don’t be loud and don’t carry large objects when he’s nearby. Definitely don’t try to fight him. This will only reinforce his perception that you are a threat! Conversely Rodney will also be more likely to attack you if he thinks you’re afraid so just walk around normally with confident (not threatening) body language. Don’t walk straight up to him, if he comes towards you to attack don’t run away just stand still and ignore him. It helps to wear boots and jeans when doing this but he most likely won’t attack you if you remain still and turn your body and gaze away from him.

Lastly, you can try to separate Rodney from his hens for a period of time (a month usually works quite well). This should be used a final method.

Just be patient and remember that all retraining takes time and persistence but it will pay off the end! You may need to reapply these methods from time to time in the future but make sure you act now to prevent his behaviour from escalating.

Melissa

You must be a Bondi Vet member to answer questions