Coexisting With A Rooster


Living with a rooster can be difficult, stressful, and wonderful ... all at the same time.

A rooster's number one role is to protect "his girls." When you have a young rooster, he is learning his role and acting on instinct.

My rooster Storm, is a perfect example. He is 6 months old at the time I'm writing this. He is with 2 Deathlayer pullets, and 3 Wyandotte hens. The Wyandottes are laying, the Deathlayers could start at any time.

Storm was fine until the Wyandottes started laying. I would not call it aggressive but very protective ... and he needed to figure out where I fit in. He postured a lot ... flapped his wings and stamped his feet. He charged at me a few times. Once I really made him mad. He was in the coop and everyone was in but one. I grabbed her (to put her in) she yelled, and he came running to her defense.

So, I don't turn my back on him and I don't trust him but we are developing an understanding that I think we can both live with.

I know if I upset one of his girls, he will get protective. I am prepared.

If anyone could saw me from a distance, I might look "insane" but when he "postured" I did it back ... flapped my arms (wings) and stamped my feet. He backed off.

Sophia holding Storm

I hatched Storm, so all he knows is me. He has always been sweet. He was 1 of 2 roosters that I hatched from that group. His brother Beast was the dominant rooster. Beast went to another home and storm stepped up.

I don't have a lot of experience with roosters but I am learning too.

When I let the flock out of the coop in the morning, I stand with them. At first, Storm was nervous and paced and wouldn't eat. He'd just watch me. I would stand there until he was comfortable enough to put his back to me and/or start eating. What used to take 10 minutes now takes less than one.

When I am outside the run, he follows me ... not out of fondness. I started giving him treats when I go to his run. I have a variety of herbs planted around the runs and they all love when I pick some and give it to them. Storm knows I have treats and will now take them from my hand when I'm inside the run. That is progress!

Today when I was cleaning his coop, he popped up in the door to see what I was doing. I talked to him and just kept cleaning. He watched for a few minutes then walked away.

I don't fully trust him, but I'm good with that. I wear my muck boots (no flip flops), long pants (no shorts) and my arms are covered ... just as precautions ... covered up, I know I'm okay and not afraid ... he knows I'm not afraid ... he's learning I am not a threat ... and we are reaching an understanding.

Lesson learned: Don't misunderstand protectiveness vs aggression. My techniques would likely not work with an aggressive rooster (and some are) but distinguish the behaviors  and respond accordingly.