How to Break an Attacking Rooster

on April 22, 2015
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This is a post from September of last year. I’ve received several inquires about this so I thought I would re-post this to help anyone else who may be dealing with this in your flock. Hope it helps, or at least you enjoy it! 🙂
 
An attacking rooster is something you will experience if you keep chickens, unless you don’t have roosters. I don’t know about you, but even though I’m bigger than him, there is something so intimidating about a rooster who comes out of nowhere and spurs me or even tries to.  My oldest son explains it this way, “They are like little velociraptors. If they were big enough, they would eat me!” If you have had chickens for any length of time, you have probably had this experience. 
 
Red Watches 
My first experience with this was with a rooster named Cogburn (that’s him in the title photo). Yes, I named him after John Wayne’s character in Rooster Cogburn. He was beautiful and a very good watcher for his girls. He would fake you out like he wasn’t paying any attention to you, then bam! He would run up behind you and spur you. One day, I was about half-way between the barn and the house, with an egg basket and milk pail in my hands, I heard, “Thump, thump, thump,” then he got me. This time he actually broke the skin. I was scared, in pain, and just plain mad! So, needless to say, I took a very large chicken pot pie to the church lunch on Sunday! 
 
A funny note to this story
We were in the living room one day, shortly after I had butchered Cogburn, when out on the porch we heard a rooster crow. I jumped, we heard it again and went to the porch to see where this strange rooster had come from. To our surprise, Bertha, the biggest Light Brahma hen I had ever had, was crowing. She wasn’t a young Bertha after all, it was a young Burt. He had never demonstrated rooster behavior and did not appear to be one. He was the most gentle chicken I had ever seen. Cogburn had been so dominant in the flock, we never knew about Burt.
 
How Not to Break a Rooster
Now, killing and eating him is not how you break a rooster. A few days later, I told my grandmother about the experience. After laughing a while, she reminded me of how to break a one. *Sigh…wish I had remembered that, Cogburn was a great rooster.
 
Why roosters attack
When roosters are establishing who will be dominant, they will challenge each other in varying degrees. You are seen as in interloper in their flock and he will feel the need to challenge you, even if you hand raise them like me. If they have been raised together, the rooster who runs away, walks away, or hides is the looser, he surrenders. As a note of warning, never try to introduce a new rooster into a flock that already has a head rooster, this will usually result in a fight to the death. This also applies to reintroducing roosters who were raised together, but were separated for a time. Cock fighting is illegal in most states and that is not what we want on the farm. 🙂
 Hoss in Snow
 
Getting your rooster to surrender
So, getting your rooster to surrender to you is the key. When he runs at you, raise your arms to look even larger, run or take steps towards him. It may take several minutes, but do not walk away from him until he surrenders. He may stand still and stare you down, don’t walk away, stand there and stare at him until he surrenders. When a rooster surrenders to you or another rooster, he may start pecking the ground; looking around; or walk away. If he continues to stand his ground, you will have to repeat the challenge until you get your bluff over on him. You may have a tough one like my Sambo, we had to chase him around the yard several times challenging us. It may be hard to accept, but you may even have to strike him with your foot or a stick, if he is super aggressive. We have only had one we had to do this with in all these years.
 
Protect yourself until you break your rooster, wearing knee high rubber boots whenever you are around him will help protect your legs. I keep the handle off of an old post hole digger inside the gate so that if I need it for roosters, snakes, anything like that, it is handy. I must say that I haven’t used it for roosters in years. Once you establish dominance, he will respect you. You may have to remind him every now and then because he is the one taking care of them all day, but it won’t be that often. He will learn that you’re not after his job and will quit bothering about you.
 
If you are getting ready to add new hens to your flock, see our article for some helpful insights.
 
If you have a rooster who is challenging you, let me know how this works for you. I’m sure your story is unique and maybe even humorous, once you get past it any way. 🙂 Share your experiences and tricks in the comments. Remember you can always use the Contact Me page to get in touch.
 
Black Australorp Rooster

 

Safe and Happy Journey, 

Rhonda and the Pack 

 This post is shared on Simple Life Sunday, From The Farm Blog Hop, and Homestead Blog Hop

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16 Comments

  • Amanda

    Thanks for the tip! Our rooster Frank has attacked me a few times in the past few days, a new thing for him. I will definitely be trying this! They can’t smell fear like dogs, can they?

    January 18, 2015 at 12:16 am Reply
    • Rhonda

      Amanda, Thanks so much for the comment. I can tell you from experience, this works. My Black Australorp, “Sambo” is young so he still tries to boss me about once a week. You have to be consistent until they get the idea, but the attacking will stop completely by the second or third “battle”. Sambo just tries to do the “I’m the rooster” dance around me like he does his girls and all I do is raise my arms and step towards him then he runs off. You’re right, they don’t smell fear. It’s about them being dominate in their yard, which is a good thing in itself, it’s just not good to attack humans or you become Sunday dinner! 🙂 I have to apologize to you because I had not posted the updated version of this post. I thought I had, but when I went to it this morning it wasn’t so I switched them out. The info is the same just some “cleaning” up and such. Thanks again and Good Luck. Let me know how it goes.

      January 18, 2015 at 6:44 am Reply
  • Kate

    My friend hatched out a couple dozen eggs for me,out of the fifteen that hatched, nine were roosters which became obvious as they matured. I loved them anyway because they were my babies, however, the girls were outnumbered and my husband dispatched all but one which we named ‘LUCKY’ for obvious reasons. He had charged me a few times but nothing serious until one dayI was working in a corner with no escape and he didn’t just charge at me — he attacked repeatedly. I am handicapped and cannot move very fast , however, As I happened to be holding my gardening shovel and he didn’t back off, I swung the shovel and sent him to that great rooster heaven in the sky. I was very distressed and trembling from the experience so I went to tll my husband what had happened…He quickly retorted that I had changed his name to “UN-LUCKY” which got me to laughing and calmed my jitters. Poor “UN” has become infamous as his story has been retold many times since!

    March 6, 2015 at 10:45 am Reply
    • Rhonda

      Kate, Oh my! What a story! It sounds like your husband knew just what to say to ease your nerves. If someone has never had a rooster truly attack them, they don’t understand how terrifying it can be. I’m sorry you had that experience, but I’m glad you had your shovel. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing with me.

      March 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm Reply
  • Brittany

    I have only had one rooster that tried to get aggressive with me, and it was only once, I was taking eggs away from one of his hens that was broody and she growled at me and next thing I know my roo came at me, I reached up out of instinct and grabbed the first thing I could which happened to be his neck and I flung that bird over my shoulder and out the people door into the barn hallway. He was positively freaked out by being thrown like that. He never again tried to jump anyone and became the sweetest bird ever after that.

    May 10, 2015 at 10:19 am Reply
    • Rhonda

      Brittany, Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. You instinctively dominated him, Good for you. I’m glad he became sweet for you. What a great story.

      May 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm Reply
  • Debra D.

    I’M NOT WORRIED ABOUT THE ROOSTER ATTACKING ME IT’S THE DARN TOM TURKEY THAT’S DOING IT IF HE KEEPS THAT UP HE’S GOING TO MAKE A GIANT POT OF NOODLE’S!! 🙂 WE HAVE A WONDERFUL RHODE ISLAND RED ROOSTER THAT WAS GIVEN TO US HE IS AS GENTLE AS THE COME NO PROBLEMS WITH HIM AT ALL!!!

    May 30, 2015 at 6:24 pm Reply
    • Rhonda

      Debra, We’re just adding turkeys to the farm this summer so I’m not sure about how to handle them. I’ll try these same tactics and see if they work. My RIR rooster, “Red”, is the same way. He like you to pick him up and rub his comb. Thanks for stopping by to share with me.

      June 1, 2015 at 11:29 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Hi, I found your post a little late but it’s nice to know this happens to others! 🙂 I’m a new chick momma, we rescued a Roo & hen from the animal shelter. Both have been absolutely wonderful, which was surprising considering they were rescues. My little boy who’s 4 loves to get the eggs in the morning, however one day I didn’t notice that he was wearing shiny red basketball shorts (big mistake). Our Roo raced across the coop & went after my little guy! Needless to say he learned very quickly that my son was part of MY flock! LoL! He hasn’t attacked since then but just a word of warning to everyone – avoid wearing red in the coop!.

    October 21, 2015 at 12:28 am Reply
    • Rhonda

      Lisa, I Lol at your story. Thanks so much for sharing it with me. That Roo didn’t take Mama instincts into account did he? I’m glad to know you handled it like a pro. Be sure to teach your son so he won’t be afraid and so the Roo will know your son’s the boss too. Thanks again for the great story.

      October 21, 2015 at 6:20 am Reply
  • SHIRLEY

    I’m going to try this. We have a great protective rooster (captain jack). He loves everyone except me. So I will try this. He’s very sneaky.

    December 5, 2015 at 3:18 pm Reply
    • Rhonda Crank

      It works! Be sure to come back and share your experience with us.

      December 6, 2015 at 2:34 pm Reply
  • Monica in Florida

    We started out with four older hens and a black orphington rooster. He’s a pretty fellow, but he’s about to end up in a stew pot. About the time that my oldest daughter finally named him (NOT by my choice… when they’re named, they’ve become pets…. especially since this is our first experience with chickens.) Anyway, he has now attacked me three times. Once he scratched my legs, and twice he’s punctured my leg with his one spur and bruised me deeply around the puncture. The first time I actually fell in the coop and bruised my back as well. He seems to do this only in the morning, right after being let out. I’ve taken to wearing jeans to let them out…. and he’s got me through them.

    It probably doesn’t help that we’ve lost two of the four hens in the last few months. But we have chicks growing now… they’re about a month and a half old; five biddies and one roo.

    I’ll watch him carefully and try your method. Thank you!

    May 26, 2016 at 11:12 pm Reply
    • Rhonda Crank

      Wow Monica, You’ve had an extreme experience like I had with Cogburn. These methods will work. If he’s older it will take some persistence. Please let me know if I can help and how it turns out for you.

      May 27, 2016 at 9:28 am Reply
  • Myrna

    Hi, my name is Myrna. I bougth a little chick that turns out to be a Rooster, for my 11 year old girl. He was living in her room for 7 weeks until we got him a coop. He is been ataccking me three times when I open his coop. SHe loves him and every afternoon she tooks him to her room and cuddles him like we used to when he was smaller. She puts him in her breast and kiss him on the face. The rooster gots sleeped on there. She is not afraid of him bit I am. Do you think he can attack her while she is cuddle him?

    May 22, 2017 at 8:18 pm Reply
    • Rhonda Crank

      Myrna, First let me say your 7 week old rooster isn’t attacking you. He’s just beginning to know he’s a male and he’s only posturing. Most breeds don’t begin to show dominant behavior until they first start practicing their crowing which is at around 12-16 weeks of age. They only begin to be aggressive once they are mature and know their place in the flock which is usually around 4-6 months of age depending on breed and personality. Once they have their spurs they can become dangerous if allowed to continue in their aggressive behavior.

      I’ve never recommended having chickens as pets but some people do. There is no way to predict if the rooster will ever become aggressive towards your daughter. There are many factors such as breed, personality, and environment which come into play. If you teach your daughter and yourself the techniques in the article so that you can establish your dominance from an early age, he may be fine. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance to you.

      May 23, 2017 at 6:52 am Reply

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