Hi, my name is Amanda and I am terrified of my chickens. Well, maybe not the whole flock, maybe it’s just one in particular. One terrifyingly big and strong, aggressive chicken.
That chicken is in fact, my rooster. My suddenly aggressive rooster.
I wasn’t always afraid of him. We had an understanding. We respected each other’s space. I fed him, locked him and his girls in at night and he pretty much left me alone. That all changed when I had a sick hen. Ever since, I’ve also had an aggressive rooster.
As I followed the flock from the neighbour’s house back to our property, I noticed one hen stayed behind. She was sitting under the tree and acting a little odd. So I walked over to the tree and came around behind her. She got up and what I saw was pretty disgusting.
Horrified, I ran to the computer and into Google I typed: chickens, red butt, white stuff. No lie, that is exactly what I wrote. The first hit was for something called vent gleet. Gross. This isn’t what I signed up for. The rest of that story is for another day, but now back to my aggressive rooster problem.
The first step of treatment is to soak the hen’s bottom to wash and soothe the area. Simple enough right?
I have said before that I do not look at the chickens as pets. This means that rarely do I ever pick them up. I picked them up when they were chicks but pretty much stopped there. Our understanding is this, I take will take care of you but I am not going to care for you. I appreciate them. I enjoy watching them roam around the property, doing chicken things like eating bugs, scratching at the ground and running amuck. I enjoy the farm fresh eggs they provide me. But I don’t particularly like them. They are chickens. They are feathered and slightly creepy. I wouldn’t say I have full-blown Alektorophobia (like arachnophobia but with chickens), but perhaps a slight case.
So, here I am trying to catch this hen. For being sick, she sure has energy. It took a while to finally get her in an area that I could grab her and then actually catch her. The rest of the flock was occupied with food and I was able to get her in the bucket with little fuss. Then I realized I didn’t have enough water and since hubby was still at work, that meant letting her go and having to catch her all over again.
Knowing what was in store for her, the nasty butt (this is the nickname for vent gleet, no lie) was a little more vocal in her objections to capture this time. And Rooster did not like that. He did not like that one bit. First, he gave me the look. Then he puffed his feathers and started kicking his feet. And then he started to run.
So I backed away from him, he returned to eating and I locked him in the coop, grabbed the hen and soaked her yucky rear. (Apparently I did the right thing, more on this later).
Ever since the incident, he has been keeping an eye on me. If I get too close to a hen or cross paths between him and one of his ladies he does a short little dance and then comes running at me, wings up and ready to fight. It is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.
My husband thinks it’s hysterical and calls me a wimp.
I think it’s frightening. And yes, I know I’m a wimp. Sure, I outweigh the chicken by 100 pounds and am much taller than him, but he has wings and feathers and a beak. That frightening, pecking beak.
I could always put him in the freezer with what remains of the seven roosters we butchered. Many suggest this is the only way to deal with an aggressive rooster. It’s not like we need a rooster.
Despite what many people think, you don’t need a rooster to get eggs. A hen will lay with or without a rooster around. We kept one in case we wanted to hatch some chicks down the line. He was the nicest looking in the flock and one the girls seemed to like. We spared him. He’s been a good protector. That’s another reason we keep him around, to protect the girls from predators. Our chickens free range all day during the nice weather. He seems like he would give a hawk a good fight if one were to come near one of his girls.
But now he thinks he is boss. And he is getting on my nerves. I do not want to be scared to be outside at my own house.
I did a quick Google search on aggressive roosters and came across a great post from my favourite homesteading magazine Mother Earth News. The article, Help for Aggressive Roosters by Robert Plamondon, provides a few techniques for dealing with a cocky cock.
How to deal with an aggressive rooster
The next few times my aggressive rooster decided to attack, I fought back with him. I kicked at him or used a stick to shoo him away. I stood up to the terrifying creature. Apparently this was the wrong thing to do. By fighting back, I am engaging in rooster behaviour.
“In a pecking order, victory is temporary; every fight is just the warm-up act for the next fight.” — Robert Plamondon
The rooster has succeeded in bringing me down to his level. He has succeeded in making me a chicken. I am a chicken.
In all instances, my reaction has been to fight back (okay, the first time it was to run, and then the hubby laughed at me because I had just let a chicken own me). I kick at him or grab a stick and use it to shoe him away. One time I kicked my shoes right off. It wasn’t a good idea. It meant walking through mud in my white socks. Damn aggressive rooster wins again.
I am not a chicken. At least, this is what Plamondon tells me in his article. I am not a chicken and I do not have to engage in chicken activities if I do not wish to do so.
So what should I do?
First, I need to de-sensitize myself by coming to this realization:
“You’re not a chicken. Rooster rules don’t apply to you, and this means thatyou are free to act in an un-rooster-like manner.” — Robert Plamondon
I am not a chicken. Your rules do not apply to me rooster.
Perhaps I need to tell this to him as I back away from him, slowly, instead of engaging him. “I am not a chicken. I am not a chicken,” this will be my new mantra as I walk backwards, very slowly, away from the terrifyingly angry bird (which is the first of three techniques to de-sensitize an aggressive rooster suggested by Plamondon). Thankfully we don’t have neighbours within hearing distance.
I have nothing to be afraid of. The rooster is maybe a whopping 10 pounds. It’s not life or death. It’s a chicken. A very large, angry chicken.
The second way to de-sensitize an aggressive rooster is to be mindful of their space. Never scare them. Don’t walk towards them. Always approach mindfully and carefully. Try not to get in between the rooster and his flock. These are all things I try to do now, especially since Mr. Rooster has been acting up. The writer says that roosters will give a warning. They will fluff their feathers or do a little dance. He does both, though it’s usually for only a moment and then he turns to run. My focus will have to be on him when I approach the chicken zone.
The third technique is food. It’s that whole “don’t bite the hand that feeds you mentality.” He has yet to try and attack me when it’s feeding time, so perhaps I just need to carry food on me at all times. Plus, he might start to realize that I’m not a rooster, since roosters don’t double as feeders. I have been trying this for the past day and I am proud to report there have been no incidents in the past 24 hours.
I’d like to keep the rooster around. He is fiercely protective of his flock, which is a good thing should we ever have an issue with predators. But I refuse to participate in his chicken games any longer. I refuse to be made a chicken.
I am not a chicken
I am a grown woman. A strong woman. A strong woman who can stand up to an aggressive rooster and put him in his place.
If not, there’s always the soup pot.