paul has a new video  

 



visit the thread.

see the DVDs.

  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

In defense of a Rooster  RSS feed

 
Posts: 987
Location: RRV of da Nort
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some Friday fun.  He's not Rex Harrison, but may be the next Dr. Doolittle.  In praise of defensive roosters:  
 
Posts: 8
Location: Squaw Valley, CA 93675 (zone 9a/8b)
forest garden hugelkultur wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mark Tashjian wrote:    Thank you Marcus! I really enjoyed reading this.
Although I agree they will learn from the older roosters, they must also do all these things by instinct. I have 11 chickens. All are 12 weeks old. They have no older chickens around to learn from. My top, lead rooster comes out of the coop first, then signals to the others to come on out. At the end of the day, he will literally round them up if needed to get them all back inside. Then he will enter last, and I shut the door. And he definitely spends more time on the lookout.
Thanks again.


Part of their instinct is adapting/learning.  I have some chickens and I trained some of them to come when I call "Chickies!"  They learned to come to me when I call because I always have bugs or grubs that I have come across while doing permaculture stuff.  The naturally more social chickens were more easily trained than the others.  Also, I have found that having 3-4 bugs/grubs at a time is what keeps them coming when called.  When I went for a time calling them when I had just one bug/grub they weren't as eager to come running.  But then when I went back to always waiting until I had near a hand full before calling...wow, they came instantly running as fast as they could such a sense of urgency.
 
Posts: 46
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A lot of great points are given here about the virtues of roosters. I'm currently transitioning over to ducks, though, as I don't want to have a rooster crowing where I'm at. I'm curious, do drakes have these same qualities and do they play a similar role in the flock?
 
Posts: 402
Location: Missouri Ozarks
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
James Landreth wrote:A lot of great points are given here about the virtues of roosters. I'm currently transitioning over to ducks, though, as I don't want to have a rooster crowing where I'm at. I'm curious, do drakes have these same qualities and do they play a similar role in the flock?


I would suggest starting a new thread in the Ducks & Geese forum.
 
Posts: 51
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have to say that my family has had two problematic roosters in a row in their free range flock.
The first one was a white feed store rooster, and he did do some of the protective things people had mentioned.  Once he was full grown though, he started attacking - mostly my father.  It got so that we had to keep them penned in their tiny bad weather run whenever he was using power tools.
The second once came from a local breeder, and was a breed that is supposed to be gentle.  He was ok as a juvenile, then started attacking - any adult, even when being fed.  Then he tried to attack a 2-year old, and had to go.  And let me say, for a life long vegetarian to have to sharpen a hatchet and kill a rooster is a gut wrenching experience.
Once he was gone, all the hens, who had been skittish and standoffish, relaxed and became quite friendly, and now follow us around.
The local dairy farmer had a story of his wife having to shoot a rooster that was going after one of their kids - they have a multi rooster free range system, while we've only had one at a time. Quail Springs Permaculture in California, when I took a tour, said that they keep one rooster per 8-10 hens, but kill anyone that starts showing aggression toward humans.  They are butchering for meat anyhow, so it isn't hard for them.
So, while I'm not saying all roosters are bad, I will say that it is very possible to get one that turns dangerous, especially if they are free range.  Rooster spurs will cut through jeans, and they can fly to attack the head if they are so minded.  Just be prepared to deal with it if you get a mean one, even if you aren't intending to butcher your chickens.
 
pollinator
Posts: 111
Location: South Central Indiana
17
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lina Joana wrote:I have to say that my family has had two problematic roosters in a row in their free range flock.
The first one was a white feed store rooster, and he did do some of the protective things people had mentioned.  Once he was full grown though, he started attacking - mostly my father.  It got so that we had to keep them penned in their tiny bad weather run whenever he was using power tools.
The second once came from a local breeder, and was a breed that is supposed to be gentle.  He was ok as a juvenile, then started attacking - any adult, even when being fed.  Then he tried to attack a 2-year old, and had to go.  And let me say, for a life long vegetarian to have to sharpen a hatchet and kill a rooster is a gut wrenching experience.
Once he was gone, all the hens, who had been skittish and standoffish, relaxed and became quite friendly, and now follow us around.
The local dairy farmer had a story of his wife having to shoot a rooster that was going after one of their kids - they have a multi rooster free range system, while we've only had one at a time. Quail Springs Permaculture in California, when I took a tour, said that they keep one rooster per 8-10 hens, but kill anyone that starts showing aggression toward humans.  They are butchering for meat anyhow, so it isn't hard for them.
So, while I'm not saying all roosters are bad, I will say that it is very possible to get one that turns dangerous, especially if they are free range.  Rooster spurs will cut through jeans, and they can fly to attack the head if they are so minded.  Just be prepared to deal with it if you get a mean one, even if you aren't intending to butcher your chickens.


Hi Lina,

I can sympathize with your experiences!  My situation may be a little different than many people's.  Because my chickens range over a fairly large area, I prefer a little fight in them.  I have a host of wildlife and stray dogs to deal with on a routine basis.   I'd rather have one or two that think fight first and run second.  Roosters will test you because they see you as part of the flock and want to establish their dominance.  If I have a rooster that is making it difficult to work in and around the coop, I'll keep a broom with me as I feed and water, and if he attacks or starts to, I knock him down to the ground with the broom.  Usually after picking himself up two or three times, he steers clear and won't try it again for about two months.  If he's really aggressive and keep coming at me, I start knocking him down a little harder and chase him a little when he runs and give him a couple more whacks as he's trying to get away.  At this point he'll start giving the "I give up" cry. Not sure how to describe it, similar to a hen that's getting impatient waiting for her favorite nesting box, except a little more sad.  If you whack him till he makes that sound, he probably won't go near you for a year or more.  He won't lose his place in the pecking order, he'll just know that he shouldn't mess with you.  I know this might sound a little cruel, but I can assure you that they are tough animals and there is no such thing as "rooster whispering".  There is no positive feedback you can give him to not attack you if he feels you are a competitor.  They have very simplistic brains and only understand whose the boss through conflict.  If he is the dominant rooster, he will still run the flock and as I said, his standing with the other chickens will remain the same.  That's the paradox of their intelligence, they know individuals on sight, but don't know that you don't present a threat.  Give him the broom and he will know you are the one not to mess with. 

Granted, this is more work than many folks would like to do with a rooster, I know.  But killing him because he's really good at his job has always seemed counter intuitive to me. And I wholeheartedly believe that roosters help the flock in so many ways.

On a side note.  I really believe that chickens should be considered livestock just like sheep, cattle, etc., not pets.  You wouldn't let your two year old daughter run in the pen with the 1,800lb bull and his harem. I don't let kids chase my chickens, even though they all want to. It's bad for the hens in terms of egg production and stress.  By having a "mean" rooster, it keeps the random chasing down.     Chickens are basically dinosaurs with feathers, they are not nostalgic or sentimental.  The same loving hen that tends her eggs so carefully, will eat that same egg if it cracks, and not blink an eye.  Chickens live by certain rules.  And one of those rules is that roosters sometimes need to be shown who's boss.
 
Wes Hunter
Posts: 402
Location: Missouri Ozarks
34
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Marcus Billings wrote:Granted, this is more work than many folks would like to do with a rooster, I know.  But killing him because he's really good at his job has always seemed counter intuitive to me. And I wholeheartedly believe that roosters help the flock in so many ways.


You make some good points here.  I've never been too bothered by an aggressive rooster.  I can kick with the best of them.  But the one that I felt I had to end up killing was just way too consistently aggressive toward my kids.  I tried training him to respect them by getting behind them and pushing them toward him, causing him to associate them with me.  This worked temporarily. 

Finally my oldest got up the courage to start chasing him with sticks.  I had a pile of 1x4 slats that the kids started referring to as "rooster sticks," as they would grab one each time they walked by in case they had a run-in with The Meanie.  This was fine, and worked for a while really.  But when my youngest, then about 2, was starting to venture out further by himself, I realized, after seeing the rooster challenge him a couple times, how easily he could put out an eyeball.

He made good coq au vin.
 
Marcus Billings
pollinator
Posts: 111
Location: South Central Indiana
17
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
[quote=

He made good coq au vin.

I agree with this whole-heartedly Wes.  You can't take any chances with small children!  This guy had it coming.  I haven't had too many roos go after small kids, but I know they're out there. 
P.S. I have a "rooster stick" too!
 
Posts: 176
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
25
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I always keep too many roosters because I find their posturing entirely too entertaining. Plus, with my semi-feral flock, the roosters definitely cut down on the frequency of my hens being eaten by predators!
 
Posts: 1038
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like roosters, and usually have three or four (I think I'm down to two now, but we are moving across country in a couple of months so they will all be going to new homes soon anyway).  I even like their middle-of-the-night crowing.  Unfortunately, my youngest daughter, who still lives with me and always will until I can't take care of her, is autistic and a light sleeper, and very often I'm awakened to her shrieking at the crowing roosters to "BE QUIET!!!"  I can sleep through the crowing, but not through her shrieking, LOL!  The chickens have been free-range here for the last couple of years, but I think I'm going to have to keep them at least semi-confined and farther from the house after we move and replace this flock.

Kathleen
 
Posts: 32
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can sleep through the crowing, but not through her shrieking, LOL

Isn't that the truth! I can sleep thru' roosters crowing, coyotes howling , high winds and trains hooting but the sound of a voice, even my husband's walkman (and he uses the earbuds) will keep me awake. (Actually, I like the outdoor sounds at night.)
 
please buy my thing and then I'll have more money:
Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!