So, you find yourself with a rooster and you’re starting to wonder if you better brush up on your sprint or if you can figure out how to live in harmony with this majestic, and sometimes temperamental, alarm clock.
While I can’t guarantee that you can tame any terrorizing rooster, there are some ways to help improve your relationship and avoid the dreaded spurs.
Making Friends with Your Rooster
1. Start Young
The best advice that I have for you, and probably the most effective, is to start them young. Like any animal, human even, the more exposure you have with them and the more time you spend with them, the stronger the bond between you will be. There is even a possibility, if ever so slight, that you could hatch a chick and be there right when it blinks in the light and have it imprint on you.
Ok, that may just be for ducks but it couldn’t hurt to try it with your chicks.
If you are purposefully planning on owning a rooster and you would like to make friends with him as opposed to having to have a handy yard stick when you travel out to the coop, or around your yard in general, the best bet is to get yourself a chick, we have amazing chicks and you can absolutely select a rooster.
Not only are chicks adorable and fluffy and full of Instagram influencer potential, they are easy to handle and adorable to dote on. The more time you spend with your chicks the more acclimated they will be with you and the family thus increasing your odds of raising a friendly roo.
2. Go Small … Don’t Go Big … Go Small
You may remember my mentioning of our beloved Colonel Sanders, he is a pint sized prince and he is perfect for our flock and our family.
Being small in stature you might assume that he would come with a big attitude, little man syndrome if you will, but he is a mild mannered man, easy to handle, and a bit of a snuggle bug once you catch him.
Smaller roosters may not always be meek but even if they have a big personality they hardly pack the same punch as a standard rooster and are therefore much more manageable.
If you do find yourself inclined to a larger rooster … here are a few tricks to build a barnyard bond that avoids the rooster run.
3. Manage Your Rooster-Hen Ratio Well
While you may find yourself tender hearted, with more roosters than your flock can support, or you love the plumage of the feathered friends, there is a good ratio of males to females to keep in harmony when considering how many roosters you can accommodate.
Chickens are not monogamous, they aren’t looking for just one chick. The ideal ratio is 10 hens per rooster. This will help avoid over exposure … if you will … and feather loss and injury, and will keep your rooster happy as a clam.
A happy rooster has little time to fight.
4. One Rooster is Often Enough
Again, I completely understand the intricacies of chicken math. And roosters are stunning. But having more than one rooster in a backyard flock is a recipe for disaster.
Roosters are highly territorial and can become aggressive with one another as they enter puberty. That aggression can be misdirected to tiny humans and even seasoned chicken tenders resulting in the dreaded rooster run.
Even if you have a sizeable flock because you fell prey to chicken math (tell me you’ve heard the joke if I wanted 10 chickens but God wanted me to have 20, then 40 it is!) one rooster is best.
When in doubt, bring treats! Being the source of food is always a good way to gain the allegiance of the head chickens and roosters.
At the end of the day, you may do all things you can think of to help foster a friendship with your feathered protector and he may decide that he is the ultimate pecker head of the chicken world and he just doesn’t like you.
At that point you have a choice.
If you are without young children and you don’t mind a daily running partner, I would say hold onto your spunky rooster. The spunkier they are the better they will be at defending the flock and keeping predators at bay.
If you have kiddos you can try to submit your rooster (hanging them upside down, sitting on them, walking them around your yard under your arm) and manage the aggression that way.
You can clip his flight wings and confine him to the chicken run as opposed to having a free range guard chicken.
You can re-home him or send him to freezer camp.
Roosters are great in a flock but family and safety always come first, in my opinion, sometimes you can do everything right and you find yourself with a rooster that was born to defend his flock, he may be amazing at the job but unsafe in the backyard. It’s a tough choice but a necessary one. And this, my chicken enthusiasts, is a judgement-free zone, we know the drill on the farm.