Roosters. They can be a great addition to a farm, or a really bad one. We have had chickens for about a decade, and have had our share of roosters (male chickens) over the years. Some good, some bad.
I remember the first nasty rooster we had. We had to carry a large stick for protection every time we entered the coop. It made owning chickens an inconvenience rather than an enjoyment. One day, my mom went in the coop, and the rooster totally, full-on attacked her. The only way she could stop him was to kick him as hard as she could. She didn't kill him or injure him severely, but he did stop...
The scary thing is that my mom is a grown adult with enough strength to stop the rooster, but a child wouldn't be able to stop an attack. A mean rooster will not just attack adults, he will attack children too. And they could get injured.
|Roosters have spurs that they will stab into your skin during an attack (Photo Credit)|
Don't be too scared though. Some roosters are great. A good rooster will protect your hens, and will sort of "herd" them around, which will help keep them protected from predators.
In my opinion, if you are planning to free-range your chickens, a good rooster is essential.
But, there are some things you should know before purchasing and raising a rooster to avoid raising a mean one...
So, here are my top tips for raising a tame, friendly rooster:
1. Never, EVER chase him or run around him. This will make him feel threatened, and therefore, he will feel the need to defend himself and his hens, and will very likely start attacking you. Instead, always walk fairly slowly around him, and don't make any sudden jerking movements. Also, warn your kids that they need to be calm when they are around the chickens.
2. Never keep more than one rooster at a time. If you keep more than one rooster, they will compete for the highest spot in the flock, and will constantly fight. For some reason, this will also make them act violent towards humans as well. We bought 15 chicks this past April, all were supposed to be hens, but 4 ended up being roosters! We are in a huge rush to get rid of 3 of them before they start fighting!
3. Avoid upsetting your hens. Don't chase them or irritate them in any way. If the rooster sees one of his hens in danger, he will get ANGRY. So be careful!
4. Spend time with him daily. If you normally just throw feed into the coop and run in the coop for 30 seconds to collect the eggs, the rooster will still see you as a stranger, and won't feel comfortable when you're around. Instead, make sure you are taking a few minutes to just walk around the coop, especially when he is young, so he will see you as a friend rather than a threat.
5. Make every effort to give him a stress-free life. The calmer he is, the less likely he is to have a reason to attack you. Just make sure he always has plenty of food and water, as well as room to roam around outside to keep himself occupied.
|Charlie, a rooster we had in 2011|
Well, there you have it! My top 5 tips for raising a tame rooster. Sadly, even if you follow all these tips, you could still end up with a mean rooster. In that case, I would recommend getting rid of him as soon as possible. Once a rooster starts attacking you, it is almost impossible to train him to stop.
And possibly the worst part of having a mean rooster in your flock is never being able to trust him around your kids or guests, and always having the risk of them getting attacked. This is such an inconvenience when you have little children begging to go see your chickens.
It's just not worth keeping him around...
If you do end up having to get rid of your mean rooster, don't give up! Search around for different breeds and ages of roosters until you find the perfect one....
The reward? The possibility of naturally hatched and raised chickens, right on your own farm!