The Inevitable

February 15, 2011

When is a rooster mean?  I am not sure that it is entirely easy to draw a line in black and white.  How much does nature and hormones play in their actions?  Can a rooster suddenly turn mean?

I guess I have been thinking about these things lately because Chocolate, for better or worse, is starting to really get more aggressive over these past two weeks.  I can still grab him and hold him. He sits quietly and seems to enjoy my affection.  However, he is really becoming very territorial with his girls.

I can say that all the girls respect me.  They understand that I am the human leader of the flock.  They are curious to see me, giddy almost, and the conversations that ensue as I make my way over to the coop are priceless.  On the other hand, Chocolate does not appear to be so thrilled.

About a week ago, I was going into the nesting boxes to collect the eggs.  All of a sudden Chocolate came storming into the coop.  He had has wings extended outward and fire in his eyes.  I felt like I was going to be dealt with by the rooster.  I was entering his house.  I narrowly escaped his fury by quickly closing the nesting box.

These past few weeks, he has been asserting his dominance with me; dancing his rooster dance trying to let me know that he is the boss.  I was truly nervous when I had to go into the run myself.  I thought that if I bent over for a second, he would surely have his rooster feet implanted into my backside.  His need for humpty love is becoming insatiable. I feel bad for the girls. Finally, today as I was retrieving the waterers for cleaning and refilling, I was pecked. 

My heart is heavy.  Chocolate is just being a rooster.  In my heart of hearts, I feel as if we may have to rehome him soon.  I know that his fate may not be nice and that saddens me.  I am still dealing emotionally with rehoming Peanut. I would love for Chocolate to live a long full life.  Unfortunately, it does not come easy for me.  I am not a farmer.  These chickens are our pets.

I have to come to terms with the reality of the issue at hand.  I think it is now safe to say that I’m pretty sure the answer is not if the time comes, but when.


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10 thoughts on “The Inevitable”

  1. After a lot of consideration, we are rehoming a 14 week-old cockeral, Leonard, kindly given to us from a suburb of Canberra, where roosters are not welcome. And for the moment, we find him a delight; a real young gentleman. There was a quick fight with each of our four 15 month-old Isa Brown rescues when they met for the first time (the girls all started the fights, by the way). He won each one. And since then he hasn't been rough with any of the silly girls. Well, he has tried to mount a few as his hormones are beginning to flow. He follows the girls around the paddocks, crows occasionally and puts up with their frenetic feeding at 'treats' time. We trust that as he matures, he'll be a rock-steady guardian and we hope he'll help curb the girls' bullying. A few photos at
    PS Love your blog…well done.

  2. GraGra, Thank you for sharing your story. Parting with them is never easy. We just need to give them the best quality of life we can for the time when they are in our lives. They are great fun to watch and very entertaining. You are right. He will interfere and stop the girls from bickering. Thanks for stopping in. By the way, your website is great and Leonard is a very handsome boy!

  3. My rooster is now 8 months and has to go too. Until the last month or so he was good as gold but now he likes to attack me when my back is turned and our dog when she's walking away – it's too worrying for our dog's eyes. Sad but it seems they do get aggressive.

  4. I too am returning a roo to the farm where I got my chicks. I recently introduced three chicks to my hens. I lost two of my flock over the past year (they were six years old). I was a nervous wreck, but no blood was drawn and after a few weeks, the five were beginning to co-habitat albeit in separate groups. Recently I noticed Dorothy was becoming much more aggressive – jumping on the hens and causing them to cry out and was throwing out a scratchy crow. Dorothy or Donny Roo as I now call him is very skittish around me and gets wild eyed when I try to pick him up. I am also in the city so the crowing will eventually become louder and will be an issue. The funny thing is – there aren't any saddle feathers, so the chicken grower who I got my chicks from thinks that perhaps it really is a hen that has damaged an ovary and testosterone has caused this change. He/She is about five months old now, so I'm pretty sure it is really a rooster. I'll be interested to see what this chicken grower thinks when she has a look in person. She has agreed to take Dorothy/Donny Roo back to live on the farm, so he/she will hopefully have a wonderful life and my flock can get back to their all girl routine.

    • Thanks for sharing your story with me. So interesting isn't it. I have seen a bunch of roos "hide" their true identities from the dominant roo. I have also heard of hens changing sexes when the flock is roosterless. I am glad you are able to have the farm take them back if need be. What a blessing!

  5. As an expert chicken behaviorist with hundreds of hours of field research – please do not get rid of your roosters. They are very loving and sweet. Cockerels begin to reach sexually maturity at 4 1/2 to 5 months. Like any other animal in your family, they need to be trained. The BEST step you can take to bond and work with your cockerel is to love on them and cuddle them. They do become energetic. This phase passes, but it sure is fun to play with young roos! I love them. The dance is a love dance – it is the cockerel collecting you into his flock. He will nip and hold you – he is trying to "love" on you. They have an incredibly powerful CARING bond (refer to Dr. Jaak Panksepp).

    I run a chicken rescue (home to the internationally famous "Cicely" – the hen with the 3-D prosthetic leg). Roosters are nearly impossible to rehome. And they are so beautiful, intelligent and kind.

    You can keep your your roo. Do NOT give up on them – they have too much to give and are a crucial member of a healthy flock. The provide balance, social structure, cultural information and security. When you choose to not keep a rooster you are going against this species natural social structure. When you go against biology and behavior, you create an imbalance. Crowing is easily mitigated and pre-puberty castration is a solution in extreme cases.

    If you are in a roo crisis (and need help) please contact Black Thistle Farm: 978-303-7577. We can SAVE them ALL.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.