It feels like in an instant; I went from living across the street from Walmart out into the country with over 30 chickens and wildlife all around. Two years ago, I was scared to hold a chick. A chick! Because of their beaks.
For the past week, I have been beside myself with letting go of my first Black Australorp Rooster, with who I bonded. A rooster, which I left my three-year-old girl behind in picking raspberries and he attacked her. She held her ground and kicked him well. He was limping for a week.
What do I mean when I say attack? She bent down on the ground to get something out of her shoe, and he went up on her back, and she turned around and kicked him.
I’ve been attacked by several roosters now, and you can see it when they are going to run after you.
They are challenging you, but you can hold your ground and tell them who the boss is. Many times in the spring, they will attack your back- it’s like they think you are one of their ladies or something 😉
Yes, they are chickens. But I love having farm animals on the homestead because of my love for them. To give them a chance at a great life and to provide my family nourishment.
READ OR PIN FOR LATER 15 Inspiring Reasons Your Kids Should Raise Chicks
Giving Him a Chance
I didn’t just want to end a Rooster’s life that is stepping into the role he was created to be. I mean, look at him- he’s a stud! So I wanted to give him a fair chance. So we did.
I was the only one he didn’t attack. Why would he? I provide him and his ladies food, water, and treats.
But then it happened. Again and again. The Rooster would get this look in his eye. And when I turned my back, the Rooster would run after me. Then, finally, I would turn around and use my rod, and he would stop.
But he wanted to attack.
Then he came after me even with the pole. I knew it was unsafe for the kids. They were scared to go outside. My three-year-old didn’t stand a chance.
They are pasture-raised. But they can’t rule our yard.
He was the alpha. I tried to give him time. I googled about picking them up and holding them by their feet. We tried it. It didn’t work. He knew to come to me when I called, but that didn’t stand a chance.
Then my husband went out as he was at the top of the hill outside of the barn. He challenged him. Then when my husband turned his back, he went to attack.
You can certainly try to show the Rooster your authority. I tried all the tips out there with this one. He was wild. With our one current Rooster in the late spring, he came running for me, I thought maybe he wanted to see if I was a hen, but I turned around, looked him right in the eye, put my foot out, and he backed away.
It’s not a good idea to run away from the Rooster just because that’s what his ladies do, and if he thinks you may be his next lady, well, they run, and he runs after them- meaning you!
You can try feeding your Rooster from your hand, which is one of the many tips out there- BUT know that when you do this, and they recognize you as always having a treat, they may just be running towards you for something to eat.
We use a long PVC pipe to show the chickens, which is the boss. It works wonders. You bust that bad boy out and hold it to the side, and they go running or gather around. My husband uses it to close up the ducks in their coop every night as well.
After having over 15+ Roosters, springtime seems to be when they see who the boss is. Depending on the Rooster, it may only take one time of you not backing down to him and instead running towards him or scaring him. After that, he may never try it again.
When you put your arms up like a giant bird, think, and take a step towards him, this may be enough for him to remember who is in control. They are usually the worst when they start crowing for the first time.
That’s what you hope for. But, unfortunately, I have found, too, Roosters get out of control when there is more than one, depending on the breed, of course, and they are past their year mark.
We have gotten away with multiple Roosters, but the alpha was four years old, while the others were only a few months. Of course, things change the following year when the Roosters are more mature.
I love the forums here on this site– you can read about others’ personal stories with Roosters and get even more tips!
WHAT IS WORKING
It has been a couple of years of raising Roosters, and we have had the same Black Australop for almost two years now- names Amelio because the girls thought it was a hen and named her Amelia, so hey, it works. He is excellent about not attacking us, but he has his moments.
We let our chickens out free from sun up until sundown. He is a little wild when I leave the chickens in the coop until later. I stand firm and hold a shovel next to me.
Feeding them treats every time they see you can cause alarm. Sometimes Amelio will be running up behind the girls, and it is because he thinks they have a treat. It goes along with all animals be around them without any food, and they won’t associate you with food.
Just as I taught my chickens to come when called ( I shared the video on Instagram), I have been teaching them the word “shoo” You may laugh, but it works. “Get” Is not effective. But SHOO, it Has been working wonders.
Does a Rooster Make the Best Stew
That’s what they tell you, right? So the time has come. So here I sit typing, experiencing the emotions while my husband does the part of farm life I know to be accurate and a must.
This part of farm life still stirs my heart up and makes it feel mucky for the moment.
Yet, these moments are teachable to my little girls who ask about Mr. Malcolm teaching them food and nourishment—teaching them about why we are choosing to eat chickens from our backyard instead of commercial.
And in those moments, I am reminded of why we are doing this.
I am reminded this is only the beginning—one of many to come.
The crazy thing is, when the feathers are all out, everything you bonded to. The life that it was. It brings you back to just cooking a chicken in your kitchen.
I read this quote “Farm animals might be intelligent and they may show appreciation and acceptance, but it is a mistake to put every human emotion on an animal.”
That was it. I am raising my food. There is a purpose. Oh, emotions, how they can tangle up some many things and make a mess out of nothing. A mess was created that wasn’t even intended to be.
Let me encourage you to raise your own chickens or whatever animal it may be to feed your family. You are taking a small step toward a greater victory.
After a few years, we find it easiest to grind the meat of older Roosters and hens.
Learn how to gut and butcher your chickens in our blog post and video here.
READ OR PIN FOR LATER- The Taste of Our First Homegrown Chicken
Do You Need a Rooster?
We let our chickens roam our acreage from the sun up until sundown. We do lock them up at night. Having a rooster is crucial to our flock. He not only signals to the hens, but we know his sounds as well and can act quickly when we hear him. Having more than one Rooster at a time is never a good idea, but it happens.
We try to pick the one that doesn’t seem to take over at first. We have just one Rooster now, and he is a true gentleman. So don’t give up. If you are not free-ranging your chickens, you probably don’t need one.
READ OR PIN FOR LATER – Why We Choose to Pasture Raise Our Chickens EVEN AFTER a Racoon Attack