Roosters are hard-wired to protect their flock of hens against threats. An untrained rooster will attack people and make aggressive displays toward anything deemed as threatening. They can be a safety threat to children and anyone who collects eggs and interacts with the flock of chickens. Raising a nice rooster is possible through careful breed selection and training at a young age.
Some breeds are more mild mannered than others although all roosters have different personalities and aggression is always a possibility. Rhode Island red and Catalana breeds are often aggressive and best avoided. Silkies, Ameraucana, Buckeye and Delaware breeds are calm and less prone to aggression. Numerous breeds are available and most roosters have the protective instinct. Training from a young age is the best method of raising a nice rooster.
Training the Young Rooster
As your chickens grow and mature, you are likely to find one or more roosters in your flock. Immediately determine the number of roosters you want to keep and give away any extras. Socialize with your rooster or roosters on a daily basis. Handle and hold them regularly. Feed them by hand and pet his head while handling to reduce aggression. They will learn that humans are not a threat from a young age. Capture and hold the rooster when it shows any sign of aggressive behavior. Hold his legs to prevent kicking and hold the wings and body under your arm. Do not let go until the rooster calms down and submits.
Reset the Pecking Order
Remove an aggressive rooster from the flock and place in quarantine. The rooster will lose status in the pecking order and become susceptible to training. Hold and pet the rooster daily until aggression subsides and the rooster calms down. Reintroduce the rooster when the behavior is kind and does not pose a threat to humans.
Culling from the Flock
Some roosters are too stubborn and instinct driven to train. They will attack people, pressure the flock and make feeding and egg collecting a challenge. Cull these roosters from the flock and either butcher them or give them away. Young roosters have hope for training but a mature adult that attacks and spurs at people is dangerous.
Use several people to corner and capture an aggressive rooster. They will charge and spur at approaching individuals. Multiple people make capturing possible from a safe angle. Wear gloves for safety and use jeans and a long sleeve shirt to protect skin from the spurs.
Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.