Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Baaad Boy Got Reformed

There was a comment on a yahoo group about chickens, and a poster had remarked, "I've never had a single rooster fly at me or get aggressive but... I have seen them get this way when a neighbor went into their territory to feed them for me. "

I started to post about Pinata and decided the story would better fit for my blog. So grab a coffee, tea, soda/pop, or such, and pull up a chair to read about my baaaaad @$$ roo from last year. Maybe you might get a chuckle out of reforming Pinata, and especially if you tried to help me with some ideas for him when my past practices weren't getting the job done.

I answered an ad asking for a very gentle rooster for an elderly couple. It became a trade for a trio of a rare, heritage breed chickens known for kindness and being calm. Favorelles are a breed that originated in France. They are beautiful and uncommon to see. After negioations with the daughte, off we went to meet up with the folks some distance away by splitting the drive with them! We met, NICE couple, and the chickens were transfered to our respective vehicles. They were very pleased with my mostly Americauna roo who was VERY mellow.

Then I found out that their roo's baaad antics were the reason they were wanting to be rid of him; and his 2 Favorelle hens could go too as they already had some new hens. Of course at that point, my roo was in their vehicle, their trio in my vehicle, I'd paid for the hens, and we were about to drive off. THEN she says she hopes I have better luck with "roo" (I can't remember his name now) than she had, as he wouldn't allow her to step out the back door without attacking her nastily. She sheepishly admitted she was scared to death of him. I was good and didn't roll my eyes, but I did say IF he goes with me, he will quit it or be a pot of roo stew. She had NO problem, as she just wanted to be rid of him ASAP.

Home we came. A ferret cage is a great transporter for chickens! I'd seen it at a garage sale and was going to resell it for more than I paid for it! Now I wouldn't part with it unless I got enough to buy another! And doesn't he just look like a nice fella? I've had a few roos over the years that wanted to test their position and a firm flip-toss with the top of my foot, a swipe-toss with a broom under their backside, or a bit of a fake chase and they were back in their place. It's not a kick or to be mean, just a lift and a toss type motion. It rarely took more than a time or two to give them a airborne boost so they lost their footing and landed unceremoniously. They didn't get hurt at all but they were embarrassed in front of thier hens, and a roo doesn't like to lose face.

This roo WAS a TERROR on his BEST days! I didn't take long to rename him a couple fowl, errr foul names which soon changed to "Roo Stew" for a bit. He was quite territorial at best and EXTREMELY protective of his hens.

My "idle threats" in his opinion were a joke. I had to treat him as I would/did a bull, untrustworthy pic or a stallion. I didn't turn my back to him at all without him noticing as he'd be pulling something! I had to have an eye on him every single moment! My stud (horse) never acted at all like that! And here I'm not turning my back on a 8# feather duster, albeit a beautiful feather duster. I really liked the 2 hens of course! Figures, huh?

Some days I was able to sneakly grab him when he was being brazen. I picked him up by the legs and carried him around a bit. He was nasty to hold and even visciously bit when held and tucked under my arm to kindly carry him around a bit. Telling him I was boss was just flinging words to the wind and I suspected he was laughing at me or threatening me under his breath! Biting earned him a firm rap on the head and then my holding his neck firmly in my hand while carrying him around and telling him about roo stew and the cooking pot. Some times I carried him around in one hand with him hanging down because I needed a hand or to just inspect hy legs that were raked. That fool could swing up onto my hand from a foot-held dangling! He was really strong and very agile. He was also very proud, as you can see in the pic below, and was humiliated in front of the other chickens. And that didn't work AT ALL either.

Eventually came the day I had shorts on and Mr. Baaad @SS Roo saw my winter-white,bare legs. I do NOT have tatto targets on my legs, however he "growled" "GAME ON". I have never seen a roo commit an attack like that and actually spin HIMSELF in somersaults as part of it. He was a feather duster mid-air, fit for an air show! NO JOKE! I did think at one point he missed out on a chance to be a fighting cock and then realized he was! I was his opponent! He was one determined and gymnastic bird. One swift motion on my part, using the top of my foot to his undercarriage and he was "punted" a few feet out of my way. And then MY "GAME ON" was a challenge thrown back in his face! I chased him around the double stall and was snatching at his tail feathers and swinging my foot at him until he tried to hide. I was sure that was the end of attacking ME! I'm not agile either, but pulled that off!

That had to of been his last attack! It was "insane"! He had to understand that I was allowed in that pen and could be left alone to do my thing. Ya, right! Again, another attack but not quite as bad.

I decided he'd not get food or water unless I hand delivered it, as suggested on a poultry group and guaranteed to work with the worst of them. So out to the buck pen, with him dangling around my knee, and I caged him up.

That didn't work either! With no hens around, when I went to open the cage door to feed and water him, he nailed me BAD! He actually shredded my hand with his spurs and had nabbed me with his beak. In that move though I had grabbed a leg with my other hand in self-defense. He landed on the ground outside of the cage (his action) and then the bachelor rooster attack was on. The buck pen houses solitary roosters along with the bucks (goats). Those roos were ready to put him in his place, giving me a chance to grab him, inspite of a searing and bloody hand. I just held his feet with him on the ground and let them beat a few feathers on him. I let him go and hoped the roos would keep him in his place.

Of course, I thought we were done for sure then. My hand swelled badly and got infected! It took months to get healed up. Those are some nasty and painful cuts with those dirty feet!

Then, I needed his hens to have a conjugal visit so put him back in the stall with his 2 hens and added a few others to keep him even more busy on his last chance at a fling with a flock of "hungry" hens ready for a group orgy. At that point I just wanted some fertile eggs to hatch to get a replacement roo and then my BAAAAD @$$ boy was done for. There's NO reason to keep a confirmed rogue or nasty attitude critter. And I sure told him so!

He was sure estatic to be back with the girls and was really nice about feeding them, gently breeding them, and scratching for juicy tidbits for them. What a gentleman he was - for his hens! Yuppers, I thought we were done competing for top bird award! He was keeping some distance from me in the stall and it was peaceful on the farm and going well. HA! His new hens I added to his harem were use to coming around me! A few days later he slunk around in wait and I had the feed bucket (3 1/2 gallon size and short and same diameter as the 5 gallons) in hand. I took my eye off him for a brief second! This time, Pinata, the now renamed roo, decided to scale it down and just go for my foot with a hit and run attack. But, true to form, and a bad move on his part as the feed was strewn all over as I was ready to go to "battle" AGAIN! I got him cornered and slapped the bucket down over him! He managed to have his head tucked so he survived. Then, out of breath, I sat on the bucket to give him something to think on. I informed him that I only needed some fertile eggs and I'd hatch me a replacement. I was DONE tangling with a feather duster with a nasty attitude who didn't appreciate my giving him extra hens and a home where he had a chance to live.

Then, I think he DID get the message - FINALLY! I've not had a bit of trouble with him since. I guess it was just a LOT to cram into one tiny little bird brain!

Disclaimer: Please don't get extreme with a roo unless there's no other chance. Once he really hurt me, then it was time to step it up or put him down. I didn't hurt him, but I did use some "tuff love" without removing any feathers. The best method is teach them from the time they are chicks that they are not to challenge humans - it's totally unacceptable. Then you can get them "trained" quickly, easily and without having to use "tuff love" on them. This boy was a rogue for a while because he got away with it. I'm sure if Dr. Phil asked him how things are working for him he'd say he's one happy roo and working it the right way!

It's been close to a year now and he's been good as gold. He generally kept way out of my reach and just looked at me alertly to see which way he should run. When I needed to catch him (he's an escape artist with a clipped wing), it's got to be in the evening when he's on his roost or I don't have a chance. He still takes excellent care of his hens. But he's one reformed rooster!

In fact, the other day when I walked into the pen, he was by the gate. He stayed put and my leg even brushed his tail feathers without a problem. He followed me closely to the feeders like the gentleman roo he should be.

He HAS reformed! Hallelujah! Being of a rare breed, I've not been able to find more hens. The shipped chicks are $5+ each! Finding a replacement wouldn't be easy at all, if at all! Unfortunately, I didn't end up with any hatched chicks from the hens. I have a few young roos who are crossbreeds of his and the pullet I posted the other day with the naked legs who is laying a green egg instead of a pale tan egg. He was just a very "spoiled brat" after all! Now he's a pleasure to have around - FINALLY!

His name of Pinata has stuck though. Handsome bird, isn't he?


  1. WOW! I've heard of nasty roosters but never encountered one. I'm afraid if that boy had been mine, I probably would have committed chicken murder.
    Way to hang in there and handle the problem with patience and intelligence! (at least more than a chicken!)


  2. Thanks, Nancy!

    I WON! He now respects humans so he didn't have to be elminated from chicken society.

  3. Whoa, your post gave me flashbacks to last summer, when I was battling my own rooster troubles. I was so incensed...I'd hatched this guy out of my previous flock and had high hopes. His dad was a gentle Black Australorp (so huge) and his mom was an Easter Egger. The parents were dreamy...this guy was from Hell. I tried several of the tactics you mentioned and learned to watch my back (and sides)...he'd crane his neck up and cock his head just a little, ogling me with that orange eyball, and then ATTACK! The final straw was when he flew up in my face (while I was on the cell phone with my mom...I'm sure she'd never heard such language from me!). He was swiftly traded, stewpot roo for "nice" roo, and I didn't look back. I now have a nice, young Rhode Island Red/Buff Orpington cross. Not that I don't still act cautiously around him, though!

  4. Yes, a face attack from a roo we raised and tried to instill the right manners has had the last chance. I'm glad he didn't get you. My infected knuckle joint and rake scars on my legs are bad enough, but a face injury would have been REALLY bad if infected. And those are some dirty feet too! I have betadine and paper towels (for milking) in the barn so was able to immediately clean my hand up, so I was thankful for that. It could have been worse had I finished what I was doing and then headed to the house.