Backyard Farm Stories
Help! My Rooster is
Trying to Kill Me!
Last April I brought six tiny Dark Cornish hen-chicks home to my farm. Two months later one of my hen-chicks turned into a rooster.
I named him Randy because he is.
Now Randy grew into a fine, handsome rooster and I was very fond of him. And then one day I was minding my own business and suddenly… BAM! It felt like someone had thrown a sack of sand at my legs. I whirled around and discovered that is was Randy who’d rammed me. “Bad Rooster,” I said.
Over the next few months the sand-bag attacks persisted but were more irritating than harmful. But then Randy grew these evil-looking spurs on his legs and suddenly I was dealing with a weaponized rooster. Clearly the situation required some sort of intervention.
I tried negative reinforcement. I got a big stick and when he came at me I went at him. This made him more aggressive.
I tried positive reinforcement. Every day for three weeks I gave him treats which he gently took from my fingers. Every day for three weeks he rammed me when I walked away.
I tried intimidation. I warned him that if he did not change his ways I would turn him into soup. He didn’t care.
I was at a loss; I’d run out of ideas. What was I to do? My rooster was trying to kill me. And it was not just my life at risk. I was also concerned for the safety of my neighbors’ children who like to visit the chickens and also afraid that my friends would stop stopping by. (One of them told me I should either get a gun or google “Mean Rooster, WTF” and take care of business).
Well, guns scare me and Google is somewhat impersonal so I decided to check in with real people at backyardchickens.com which is a wonderful place where chicken folks gather. There I found out that the fault was mine. I’d made the rookie mistake of expecting Randy to understand human behavior and intentions when I should have taken the time to learn Rooster-speak. So I set out to study Randy and determine how, exactly, this cocky little four-pound bird had managed to take over my farm and make me afraid to go in it. Here is what I observed.
Randy always looks directly at me with a diabolical, evil-eye stare. He never breaks eye contact.
He stands tall and flaps his wings at me.
He never turns his back or walks away from me.
When I turn my back or walk away from him, he slams into my legs.
When I am facing him, he rushes me with a great flapping of wings, flips his feet up and rakes me with his spurs.
He yells at me: "COCKADOODLE-DOOOOOOO!!!!!"
And that’s all there was to it! I could not believe that the secret of his success was so simple and the solution to my dilemma was now clear:
I must become a rooster. A Very Big Rooster. A rooster BIGGER and MEANER than Randy.
So, this is what I did:
I made myself wings out of some old plastic fencing. They weren’t very pretty but they were BIG. (My wing-span was six feet, easy).
I don't have spurs or a sharp beak but I found a long pole that would serve.
Then I fashioned a cock-comb and clamped it onto the top of my head, put on my best rooster face and my new wings and went out to do battle.
Randy was strutting his stuff in the yard as was his custom. I walked right up to him (which was not my custom) and poked him (hard) with my pole. He responded with a volley of angry, staccato clucks, stood tall and flapped his wings at me. I drew myself up to maximum height, gave him the evil-eye-stare I'd been practicing in the mirror and, very, very slowly...
I FLAPPED MY WINGS.
Randy gave a squawk and took off running. When he reached safety on the far side of the yard he turned toward me and expressed his outrage in a lengthy, flapping, crowing extravaganza.
I continued my campaign every day. I poked him with my Long Pole as needed. I stared him down, never turned my back and made him get out of my way. And I FLAPPED. And while I never managed a proper, intimidating cockadoodle-doo, I did a whole lot of growling.
And guess what? One week later Randy was cured of his evil ways. I am pleased to report that I am now The Biggest, Meanest, Baddest Rooster on the farm and I can make Randy turn and walk away from me just by staring hard at him.
Sweet, cuddly Randy
Fine, Handsome Randy
The Evil Eye
The only cloud in the blue sky of my success is that my new Alpha Status did not extend to anyone else. Roosters adhere to pecking-order rules and he now defers to me; but anyone else who comes on the farm is fair game. Some of my friends have become Extreme Roosters like me and they are now safe from his aggression. But I still must herd Randy into a small fenced enclosure whenever children and non-roosters visit. However, now that I’ve become King, it’s easy to do.
New King in Town
Oh, and as an added precaution, I've posted my farm so now there’s a big sign at the gate which warns of the dangers within…..