A Rooster Tale

We have a nice, big Barred Rock rooster. He treats the hens well, calling them over when he finds a tasty bug or something good to eat. And most of the time, he doesn’t give us any trouble. Most of the time.

Let me digress. One of the last roosters we had was just fine too, until one day, when I was in the chicken house feeding, he flew up and flogged me hard enough to leave big bruises on my leg, for no apparent reason. When Frank asked what was wrong, he was right outside filling up the water bucket, I told him the rooster flogged me and I was throwing a bucket at him. Next thing I know, in comes Frank with a 2 x 4, and shortly thereafter, we had no more rooster. All of this happened in less than a minute’s time. Frank looked at me and said, “That will teach him to flog my wife!” I stood there for a second looking at him, then started to laugh, and said, “Thanks, Honey!”

Well, back to our current rooster. A few weeks ago I was out feeding the chickens their morning greens, and one young Barred Rock hen didn’t go out into the chicken yard when I opened up the door to the chicken house. She was the only one. So, on my way out I tried to ‘encourage’ her to go out by trying to shoo her out the door. She didn’t want to go and put

up quite a fuss. In zooms the rooster heading straight for me. I was surprised and continued on down the steps, out of the chicken house. The rooster came at me again, flying through the air, feet first. So, I whacked him with the bucket I was carrying. And then I chased him around and whacked him again. We don’t cotton to flogging roosters around here. I kinda hoped I didn’t hurt him, but I wasn’t worried about it too much. He kept his distance after that, and I left the pen. 

We didn’t have time to dispatch the rooster then because we had company coming to help us dispatch and butcher a goat. I didn’t really feel it was proper to invite the company out to the chicken pen to see the rooster’s demise. Things were busy, the rooster calmed down and didn’t show any further signs of aggression, so we let him be. For a while.

A week or so later we decided to cook up one of our young Dark Cornish hens. She constantly ran around the chicken house squawking and

causing a daily uproar, so we decided to eat her. The appointed morning arrived and I stopped by the chicken house to catch her on my way down from doing chores at the barn. It took a minute for everyone to settle into pecking at their food, so I could identify the culprit and catch her. I had not opened the door to the chicken yard yet to make this task easier. No sooner had I caught her, she set up squawking, and here comes the rooster flying through the air feet first. You know, as I write this, to me, it gets funnier and funnier.

About this time Frank calls me on the radio to see how things are going. Remember, we always keep in touch with our handheld radios around the farm. I had just picked up my bucket and commenced to convince the

rooster not to flog me while holding a squawking chicken and trying to get out the door. So, my response to him was a little louder than usual and entailed something like, “I got her and the rooster is after me!!” I wasn’t very intelligible, and he quickly asked for me to repeat my transmission, which I did, while escaping the chicken house, closing the door so the rooster could not follow me out into the chicken yard. After I dispatched the hen, got her cleaned and in the oven, I went back out and opened up the chicken house with a bucket in hand. The rooster was fine. No signs of aggression.

A few days later we cleaned out the chicken house and added some great fertilizer to the garden. While we were in there scraping and making a racket, the rooster was fine. Although we did have one young rooster that must have gotten injured sometime during that process, because the next

day he was very lethargic and obviously on a downhill slide. We knew we had to put him down before the other roosters began pecking on him. So, as I walked over to pick him up, before he started squawking, I told Frank he would have to protect me from the big rooster, and to prepare for a quick departure. As soon as I picked up the young rooster and he started to squawk, the big rooster jumped up on the roost in preparation for his attack when we left the young rooster pen. Frank made a pre-emptive strike with the bucket that reminded the rooster who was really king of the chicken house, and we escaped without anymore trouble.

The moral of this tale is twofold. Number one, always keep a bucket handy. You never know what you may need it for. And two, we have decided that as long as this rooster shows no other signs of aggression, we’ll keep him. The only time he has offered to flog us is when he was protecting his flock, and that’s not a bad thing. It could come in very handy if any predators attempt to harm our chickens. We’ll just keep a little closer eye on him than we did before this little tale began, bucket in hand.

Until next time – Fern

20 thoughts on “A Rooster Tale

  1. Hi Karin. Very interesting thought. We have approximately 12 week old roosters in a separate pen, but in the same building as with all of our chickens. And, that is a very interesting thought, because we didn't start having problems with our main rooster until just a few weeks ago. But he is now gone. Next time we have young roosters growing up, I will see if it happens again then. Thank you for the thought, I will pay more attention.Frank

  2. We had a Rhode Island rooster that had been good at guarding the girls (our hens are free range part of the day) and fertilizing the eggs, who became a lot more aggressive to any people who went out near the chickens. After several attacks, we decided to put him in the freezer with a crop of young males, but due to circumstances at the time, we ended up not killing him off. Interestingly, once we processed the group of young males, he settled right back down, making me wonder if all that competition got his testosterone up. Have you ever had an experience like that?

  3. I agree, Ivy Mae, the flock does do better with a rooster around. Frank and I were talking yesterday and the first rooster to flog me that Frank took care of was a Barred Rock, too. You just never know which ones will work out and which ones won't. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  4. I like to keep a rooster with my flock too. And have had maybe one or two I would liked to have lived longer. The rest either caused their own death by harassing me or one of my grandkids 🙂 Nancy

  5. We finally have a wonderful rooster–a barred rock–who won't even eat until all the hens have found the treat. He is a good lookout but has never been mean to us. We're really thankful since we went through several roosters who decided to attack our 5 year old. All those ended up resting in peace with dumplings pretty quick. But we find the flock runs better with a good rooster at the head.–Ivy Mae

  6. Vickie, some breeds of birds are a little more gentle than others, by nature, but you can still get a cantankerous rooster, no matter what the breed. You can always cut off the spurs if you are concerned. Or, you can just get a new rooster every year before his spurs become too long. If you hatch some babies, keep a new rooster. Every few years, get a batch of mixed heavy males, keep the new rooster you want, and you're good for a few more years. By buying a batch of mixed heavies every few years, you will be bringing in new blood. But every year, rotate your rooster out of the ones you hatch. Thank you for reading.Frank

  7. Kathi, this may sound a little odd or strange, but I believe if you know the bird you're eating, it seems to have a more delicate taste. The same goes for other livestock, also. No, here at our house, we have to all play together well. Thank you for sharing.Frank

  8. Our first batch of chickens, Sandra, were half Buff Orpington and half Rhode Island Red. We trimmed the spurs off of the Rhode Island Red after a handful of attacks, then we finally just got rid of him. We kept the Buff Orpington rooster for a good while. And we might do that again, too. Thank you for reading.Frank

  9. Well, if you like funny stories, Bellen, you'll like this one. We didn't hatch out any baby chicks last spring because we didn't have a rooster. That was the rooster that was dispatched with a 2 x 4. If I had given a little more thought to that situation, it probably would have had a different outcome. This spring I have every intention of hatching baby chickens. Thank you for reading.Frank

  10. We like to have a rooster around, Tewshooz, because for years we have raised our own baby chickens. And without going into any secret science projects, we all know that to raise baby chickens, we need a baby chicken daddy. Some roosters are just a little more protective than others. And some roosters are just irritating, kind of like people. We cut the spurs off of a rooster once. It was a long time ago, and neither Fern or I can remember the outcome. I'm pretty sure we used a pair of side cutters. You always have to watch a rooster, because he is a rooster. Thank you for your comment.Frank

  11. Holy cow! We will be getting our first flock this next spring, and I think I am going to look for a breed specifically with gentle roosters – or maybe have no rooster at all! I have heard about getting \”spurred\” by roosters in the shins before, and this terrifies me! If I happen to get a mean rooster, I might just have to invest in a good pair of knee high boots – or have a tasty chicken dinner!

  12. Good for Frank for dispatching that first flogging rooster. The only one I've had come after me was our black Australorp roo. I overlooked the first attack, but when he went after one of my children he was quickly taken care of. Sure tasted good.

  13. I am not a fan of roosters. The only one we ever had that was a gentleman at all times was our Buff. The rest have been rascals and they didn't last long.

  14. We had an Auracana rooster that attacked my husband while he was holding the lid of the trash can while scooping some grain from it. Of course the rooster got smacked with the lid. I had the misfortune to get between him and one of his hens one day and he dug his spurs into my shin so deeply that I wound up in the ER. Then he came after my husband again and DH kicked him, after which the rooster was addlepated and looked the other way when he saw us. The happiest day in my life (well, it seemed that way) was when my DH told me that the rooster had died in the night. Now we have a black cochine rooster who is the sweetest, gentlest boy. He protects his hens, but has never made a move towards us. My dad clubbed his barred rock rooster to death years ago after it jumped him from behind and dad fell face first down in the muddy chicken yard. He never kept a rooster after that.

  15. I am a firm believer that keeping roosters in line takes a firm hand and a big stick. You don't want to kill him, just remind him that you are the king of the barnyard. I have a big blue orphington that started making my life h.ll, one day he attacked and earned a good hearty whack from me, enough that he ran around the yard crying for a half-hour or so but he left me alone after that. If he forgets (which he does every couple of months) one good whack does the trick. We are all happy, especially the hens that he looks after.

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