What should I do about rooster attacking my small child (poultry general)

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I have a New Hampsire Red rooster and he is aggressive towards my 2 1/2 year old son Ben. He jumps on Ben, I think this mostly scares Ben and of cause Ben cries. I've checked Ben over and a couple of times he's had little scratches on him but that's it.

I would like to add that the rooster is not entirely to blame. Ben keeps going up to him which the rooster takes as a threat or a signal to fight. I tell Ben to just stay away from the rooster but he doesn't listen to me (so he doesn't get that much sympathy from me). Of cause Ben is still little and either he does comprehend what I'm telling him or knowing him as I do he's just being stubborn. He loves the chickens and just wants to go near them and try to get a hold of one. If only he'd stay away from that one rooster!

When my 5 year old son was scared of Big Red he would just carry a squirt bottle around with him or I told him to just give that rooster a swift kick.

Any suggestions please. I would prefer not to have to kill the rooster and eat him as he is my only New Hampshire Red rooster - however that would be an option. Any others?

Also, if I end up changing breeds eventually what breed of chickens have docile, gentle roosters? Is there such a thing? Maybe Buff Orpingtons?

I also have an Easter Egg Rooster and a couple of juvenile blue silkie roosters. How are their temperments as a rule?

-- Anita in NC (anitaholton@mindspring.com), February 22, 2002


Anita, can you pen the rooster up? Does he have to have free run of the place like the hens do? If he's going to be snot to your boy than I can't see any other choice. If you can't do this, at the very least, I'd take his spurs off, and even then not let the boy out around the rooster. One of the two has to be either watched or penned up. :>

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (jlance@nospammail.com), February 22, 2002.

You could get either a very docile or a very aggressive rooster from almost any breed of chicken. We had a Buff Orpington rooster that would go after our son who was about 2 1/2 when we had that particular rooster. The rooster has since "gone to live in the woods" if you get what I mean! We have a blue heeler who is pretty protective of family members and she would get between our son and the rooster and let him know in no uncertain terms not to mess with the child. Do you have a dog you could train to do this or something similar? My husband is a pretty good throw with small rocks and often carries a pocketful. When he'd see the rooster go after our son, he'd peg the rooster on the side with a small rock. It got his attention. Anyone in your household a good shot with a rock? One time, the dog was not close enough to get between the rooster and the child and my husband was out of rocks. It took a pair of plyers being thrown at the rooster to stop him. I really didn't want to see anyone get hurt, including the rooster, so that was the day the rooster "went to live in the woods". Our son is going to be 5 this spring and we now have another rooster, a Rhode Island Red, who will be out in the yard with him this spring and summer. Unfortunately, the dog is now old and almost blind, so we're not counting on her to do much other than enjoy what days she's got left. The two younger dogs haven't yet shown they can do this. We'll have to work on training one of them, probably the German Shepard this time. And, I will have to carry a broom or something with me and try to stay within reach of our son. My husband will have his pocket of small rocks and will give our son some self-protection, throwing lessons right away. Long answer, but that's how we're going to work with a similar problem. Good Luck!

-- rose marie wild (wintersongfarm@yahoo.com), February 22, 2002.

give the rooster a PUNT

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), February 22, 2002.

The rooster is penned up till about 1 pm and then I let him and the hens out for the afternoon in the fenced in yard area. My boys are only aloud to play in the fenced yard as we are surrounded by woods and have a main road in front of the house. I can't catch the rooster once I have let everyone out to put him back in the pen. I will try to get my hands on him though and check if he needs his spurs snipped off.

-- Anita in NC (anitaholton@mindspring.com), February 22, 2002.

My youngest son is always getting attacked by roosters. But then again he asks for it. He'll chase them and shoo them away with grate falpping motions. The roosters never bother me but then again I feed them. When they have attacked me I grab them by the neck and toss them.

My Cochin (standard) roosters were always gentle and never attacked. The silky banties seemed to be the worse but too small to worry with. Those spurs can do a lot of damage.

-- Susan in Minnesota (nanaboo@paulbunyan.net), February 22, 2002.

I vote stew pot....When roosters get agressive like that it's only a matter of time until the spurs are three inches long and causing injury to your son or to you. I have some great chicken recipes if ya need them.

-- Harmony (harmonyfarm57@hotmail.com), February 22, 2002.

We had a real nasty rooster (really haven't seen a pleasant one), anyhow we had to take a broom with us when we went to get the eggs. And they can really cause some damage. The rooster got our dog once and he had to have stitches. Then he went to the stew pot. They are mean and this rooster can hurt your little boy. I would get rid of the rooster. We never had any change in the egg supply after his demise but of course we couldn't get any fertilized eggs.


-- Irene Burt (renienorm@aol.com), February 22, 2002.

I'd eat it, before it takes your son's eye out or otherwise injures him. Get a gentle rooster, why perpetuate a mean one? The Buff Orpingtons I once had were VERY gentle and nice to have around.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), February 22, 2002.

A friend has a cousin who lost an eye to a rooster's spur when he was a toddler. I don't think there is any question at all to what should be done with an agressive rooster when you have small children around...lose it, and lose it quick.

-- Julia (charmer24@juno.com), February 22, 2002.

Harmony: Thanks, I have lots of chicken recipes as we eat our chickens on a regular basis. Won't be able to breed my own though if we eat our rooster.

Rose-marie: We have 4 dogs. One dog is out in the yard but she's almost 13 and just sleeps all the time. The other 3 are chicken chasers and have to be locked up while the chickens are out.

Stan: I don't know what a PUNT is.

Susan: I wonder how much my son really minds being attacked if he just goes right back and does the same thing again 2 mintues later.

-- anita in NC (anitaholton@mindspring.com), February 22, 2002.

My son says "Spank the child. Eat the rooster." Seriously rooster spurs could easily tear a gash that a doctor would have a hard time suturing. Have you ever seen two roosters fight? There is only one place an agressive rooster goes to on my place, right into the pot.

Little bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@farm.com), February 22, 2002.

Little Bit Farm: Your post made me giggle. You must have a smart boy.

I'm beginning to think the rooster has to go. I just really wanted to breed my own chickens but I still have the Easter Egg Rooster and hens and the Silkies roosters and hens. So maybe I'll just breed those two kinds of chickens. The Easter Egg Rooster is okay, hopefully he won't become mean after Big Red is gone.

-- Anita in NC (anitaholton@mindspring.com), February 22, 2002.

My grandparents always had a suppy of long sticks, switches really for anyone to carry and use as needed when walking around, I was a very bright child, and was seldom on the reciving end of one.

-- Thumper/inOKC (slrldr@yahoo.com), February 22, 2002.

thing of a balance scale

on one end your son's eyesight

on the other end a rooster

-- Rose the Pragmatic (open_rose@hotmail.com), February 22, 2002.

punt,,is a football play,, you drop kick the bugger,, as far as you can

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), February 22, 2002.

I have NH Reds, and as already been said, an aggressive rooster and small children do not mix. Lose the rooster. Dominance training works real well with the rooster-but 30 mos old kids don't get the entire picture. Protect your child and find another rooster to go with the Easter Egger

-- jim NE KY (jedeweese@earthlink.net), February 22, 2002.

Uhhhh, Anita, chicks are cheap, eyes are not. Order more of that breed and keep one of them. DOIK the Rooster. LQ

-- Little Quacker (carouselxing@juno.com), February 22, 2002.

stewpot--yummy made with dumplings.Once had a rooster that spurred my daughter above the eye, he sure was good tasting.

-- lynne (leavre@nowhere.com), February 22, 2002.

Anita, PLEASE get rid of the rooster! I personally know (not hearsay) of a little girl who at three years old, lost her right eye to a Rhode Island Red that her parents believed that they broken of the habit. You can't train an instinct out of something that has a reptile's brain. Now, go out and kill it!

-- Griff (griff@hangnail.com), February 22, 2002.

Now that Stan has explained what a punt is, drop kick that rooster through the goal posts of life!

-- Joe (CactusJoe001@AOL.com), February 22, 2002.

If he's an otherwise well behaved rooster & only aggressive to your son, make him off limits to your son until he's older. When you think he's old enough, arm him with a super soaker & it won't be long before the roo heads the other way when he sees your boy coming.

With the roos i have around here that decide to challenge my authority, i reach down & scoop them up and tote them around while i do chores. humbles them real quick.

Of course, there are aggressive roos out there that are simply a result of their genetic makeup & are good for the stewpot, but ALL roos will challenge everyone's authority at one time or another just because it's their nature.

-- Buk (noaddy@chickensrus.com), February 22, 2002.

When I have young roosters, I immediately start training them to be afraid of ME. I rush at them, like they are fond of doing to small children, and give them a light swat with a stick or broom. No permanent harm done, but even their tiny little brains figure out who's higher on the food chain. Since I have started that my husband hasn't had to give any "lead injections" to mean roosters... Regards, Julie in OK

-- Julie (okwilk213@juno.com), February 22, 2002.

I have a New Hampshire Red rooster; I sure hope I don't have to ever "punt" him. I've caught him a few times with the fish net and when I get it now, all the roosters growl and the guineas hollar. It's kinda funny. I thought the RI Red roosters were aggressive. But I have a lot to learn about chickens; these are my first ones and they're about six months old. I guess things could get kinda interesting. I have them all in separate pens with their "girls" so far no problems. So did you put him in the pot? I wouldn't have a mean chicken to deal with.

-- R in Ga (rrebekah14@aol.com), February 22, 2002.

I vote for the pot,too. BUT,if you want to keep the rooster,you can de-spur him so he'll be less dangerous. Take a raw potato and heat it for 5 or 6 minutes in the microwave.You want it very hot.Stab it onto the rooster's spur and hold it there for at least 30 seconds.Remove potato,and (with gloves on)give the spur a sharp twist.It comes right off,with no danger to the rooster.

It will re-grow eventually-and you'll have to do it all over again.But,it's an option if you don't feel like "Big Red and dumplins".

Let us know how the story ends!

-- Johna (marcnjohna@aol.com), February 23, 2002.

Anita, after the rooster goes into the pot(my vote too) the hens will stay fertile for about 3 weeks, gather up some eggs and put em under a silkie hen to set and raise up a pair of new roosters using some of the exellent advice on keeping then humble; I say a pair because I always keep the "heir and a spare" you never know when (or why) you may lose a rooster!

-- Bee White (bee@hereintown.net), February 23, 2002.

The last time this came up, I posted this, and I'll post it again.

If there is some reason that you wish to keep the rooster -- such as him only being problematical when provoked by your son -- get out the electrical wire caps and screw a pair of them onto his spurs.

End of problem.

-- julie f. (rumplefrogskin@excite.com), February 23, 2002.

We have barred rocks and a sex link. All are tame hens, but the barred rocks are tame enough to perch on your shoulders or arms, be carried and held, and come up to you (hesitantly) because they really want to be petted.

Our rooster is a salmon farvolle (spelling?!?!) we got from someone. They had too many. He kept one, gave me 4, we kept one and passed on 3. All have been gentle and no problem, even with each other. My friend doesn't know if it is the breed or the stock it came out of (his gentle rooster). But his rooster, like my hens, were raised as pets and played with all the time.

-- marcee (thathope@mwt.net), February 23, 2002.


I want to thank you all for your advice. I did post on another thread above that we decided to kill off the rooster.

The rooster and all the chickens were raised with my children and even now the kids still catch and hold the chickens, sometimes we even hold "Big Red". However, "Big Red" really seems to have taken a dislike to my 2 year old. I did try telling my son, Ben, to just give the sucker a swift kick and even gave him sticks to hold. But Ben is only 2, now my 5 year old would follow these instructions, but my 2 year old just isn't old enough to follow these directions.

I really like the chickens and even like "Big Red" and I enjoy watching them scratching around in the yard and doing their chicken things. I suppose I could build Red his own pen or remove his spurs but this is not what I want to do. I want us as a family to enjoy the chickens and Ben is not enjoying being attacked on a daily basis, several times per day. When raising the chickens is NO longer fun then I don't want to do it. Having "Big Red" is no longer fun when I am constantly shooing him away from my son, chasing him and soothing my crying 2 year old.

I have heard of nice roosters and hopefully my other roosters will remain nice. So I really have no place here for a mean rooster.

Thank you everyone.

-- Anita in NC (anitaholton@mindspring.com), February 23, 2002.

Do I smell gumbo?

That's where our aggressive roosters end up : )

-- Kristin, in La. (sevenstonestile@earthlink.net), February 23, 2002.

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