Aggressive Rooster: How to Train Him to be ‘Mr. Nice Guy’

Aggressive Rooster How to Train him to be ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ Blog Cover

We constantly hear of roosters that are mean to the hens and their keepers. Today we are going to give you a few tips on how to make a rooster ‘Mr. Nice Guy’.

That means you’re going to learn how to tame your aggressive rooster!

It will take some time and patience, so have a good stockpile of both.

We have had a few roosters and the majority of them haven’t been any trouble at all. They have been respectful of people, good to the ladies and rarely requiring any ‘behavior training’. There was one rooster though, Fred, who resisted all efforts at been trained. He flew at my partner one time too many – you can’t win them all.

Please remember that these ideas may not work with your particular bird – use common sense with these ideas, the plan is not to get hurt.

Below I’m going to share with you why roosters can become aggressive, before I share with you my rooster training program!

From Chick to Aggressive Rooster

Baby Chicks
When the chicks are small, although the boys may be a little stand offish, they can be held, cuddled, handfed and cosseted.

This is a great time to lay the foundation of respect and dominance to your little roosters. You may think it’s cute if he pecks at you – it’s not. He is trying already to be the boss.

Pick him up, especially in front of the hens, talk to him, feed him from your hand if he will and then put him down.

Somewhere between 16-20 weeks, hormones can upend this idyllic period. Suddenly he is a rooster full of testosterone and needs to defend his territory and his flock, interlopers beware – and that can mean you!

It is not personal – it’s just the way roosters are wired and just like a human teenager, he is testing the limits. If you have raised the rooster from a chick, it is usually easier to manage them and teach the rules as they go along.

If you have been given or acquired a rooster, it can be that much more difficult. A lot will depend on how the bird was raised and of course, the breed.

Why Do Roosters Attack?

Establishing The Pecking Order
In the wild, he would defend his flock against threats from predators and other roosters that were looking for some hens to mate with.

His responsibility is to care for the flock and its’ needs and that includes mating with as many hens as he can manage to ensure the success of the flock.

You will need to bear in mind, that aggressive behavior will likely increase in the spring-time because it is the start of the mating season.

We are just going to mention some terms here that you may have heard but aren’t sure of:

  • Flogging – the rooster will fly at you and try to beat you with his wings and rake you with the spurs.
  • Spurring – as the name suggests, jumping at you and trying to rake you.
  • Chasing – he may try this with children more. Chasing you away from the flock. He will stop when he thinks you are no longer a threat.
  • Aggressive pecking – not cute, it hurts. Do not tolerate even at the chick stage.

Watch for the ‘Moves’

There are certain signs that a rooster is contemplating an attack. We are going to share them here but be aware that the rooster is the master of the sneak attack!

He will lower his head while looking at you, he may start a little rooster dance – attack is imminent, be ready. Your rooster might try to bring you presents – very sweet, but he only does this for subordinate hens, beware.

The silent stealthy running up behind you, stopping and staring at you. A challenge has been issued, stand your ground, stare back.

How to Train Your Rooster to Be ‘Nice’

Ideas on training roosters are many, some good and bad and plenty of dubious ideas abound on the internet.

I have read of roosters being booted around the yard, having their spurs cut off and other little horrors visited upon them – this is abuse, please do not do this to your roosters. If you feel the need to cull him, please do so in a humane way.

When moving around your flock, your movements should be deliberate and fairly slow paced. Moving quickly unsettles them, putting them on edge – more so the rooster.

Animals think rationally – they cannot afford to make the same mistake twice – it might get them killed.

Remember these key points:

  • You are the boss – he needs to learn this. You are not going to take away his purpose in life (mating, protection), but you will not tolerate challenges to your position of alpha flock member.
  • Be prepared – just like the Boy Scouts… be prepared for him to challenge you at any time. This way you won’t be taken by surprise.
  • Respect him – he has a job to do.
  • Space – don’t crowd him, give him space. The only time to move into his space is if he looks like he might be thinking about attacking you.
  • Carry a deterrent – deterrents are a great tool. Once the rooster has seen the stick or bottle in action, he will not want to repeat the exercise.

Remember each person who tends to the flock and deals with the rooster will have to follow your lead, no variations in how you treat him. If you give confusing signals he will be unsettled and may read ‘attack’ into a situation where no attack is intended.

Rhode Island Red Rooster

Running Them Down

Some folks recommend that you ‘run them down’ – that is walk right through them without stopping. The idea is to get the rooster to move – he may interpret this as an attack and possibly counterattack – not a good thing.

Take one large step into his space while staring him down. He should back up, start fidgeting and he will look towards the ground. You won – walk away slowly.

Do not be afraid – this is a hard one for many folks. After all, no-one likes to be flogged by a rooster! Fear is a weakness in the animal kingdom and will be exploited to the full.

Even if you are frightened, do not run or move away from him – he needs to move first.

Don’t back off- if he starts up with you, don’t move away. If he drops his wings and spreads them slightly ready for attack – do the same. Spread your arms, stare directly at him and take a step into his space. If he is smart he will back off.

At this point, some folks will pick him up and walk around for 10-15 minutes to re-affirm who is the boss.

Do not hurt him – I cannot overemphasize this. Yes, you can control an animal by fear, but it doesn’t make them respect you, in fact in can make them meaner. If you can get him to respect you and your position as alpha, attack is much less likely.

I have read of people turning the rooster upside down and walking around the garden with him like that. This is dangerous for the rooster – because of the anatomy of a chicken, it is possible to cause the air sacs to collapse and have him suffocate – especially if he has just eaten. Please don’t do this.

It is important that you remain calm, quiet and assertive during your interactions with your rooster. Consistency with your interactions is also important. Wear as much protective clothing as you think you may need, long boots are recommended and a long sleeve shirt too.

Be warned though – it doesn’t work on every rooster, but at least you will know you have tried to teach him some manners!


Much of your success (or failure) will depend on things out of your control such as genetics.

To put things in perspective just remember that roosters were not born to be ‘lap pets’ – it is against their natural behavior.

When you buy your chicks or adult fowl, ask if there are any aggressive tendencies in the flock. Breeds to be cautious of are Old English Game, American Game, Oriental Game, Aseel, Shamo, Sumatra and Malay.

Of course, just because the breed is considered non-aggressive, it doesn’t always follow that the particular birds you have will stay true to type. Chickens are individuals, so personality can vary greatly.

Children should always be kept away from roosters unless a responsible adult is there to supervise.

Lastly, please remember your dominance can be kind; there is no need to be mean or harsh with your 7lb. rooster. Things such as treats, hand feeding, quiet talking and picking him up can help to establish your relationship with him.

Even if he does not accept these things from you, you can re-inforce your ‘alpha’ dominance without resorting to cruel methods.

Working with your rooster will take time and effort on your behalf, if you cannot devote these two things, think about re-homing or culling the bird.

He will likely never be a cuddly fellow, but that is not the aim. He needs to be a defender of the flock but subordinate to you. He may need reinforcement of the idea periodically, but in general you should both be respectful of the others space.

We hope you are successful with your rooster’s training program!

Have you had to deal with an aggressive rooster? How did you do it, please let us know in the comments section below…

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  1. elaine says

    I noticed in the video that the cock birds were tied by the ankle. Is this normal or recommended? I never tie my cocks. I have one that gets a little over protective sometimes or occasionally gets over zealous when I bring the food, but I do not tie him up.

    • Penny says

      I hope you never tie any bird by the ankle as it can cause irreversible harm if he/she were panicked whilst in this situation! Literally break the ankle or worse the entire leg become disjointed causing equal pain. A cruel unnecessary practice

      • Krissy says

        He does that to keep his roosters separate because roosters will fight till one or both of them are bloody and dead

        • Ronald Anglin says

          Krissy, you are exactly right! People dont understand, there’s a difference in a barn rooster and a GAME rooster. Game rooster are “fighting chickens”

    • Ronald Anglin says

      a GAME rooster cannot be trained to not fight another rooster! It’s what they do naturally.

  2. Karon Green says

    I ended up with two roosters . I was going to pet one of the hens and the polish rooster flogged me.
    and the silkie rooster is very aggressive on the hens..
    The have the hens feathers bare.
    What can I do to stop this… butcher?

    • Kbech says

      I made saddles for mine and they work fine. The only problem I have now is that some of the feathers on some of the chickens are are on top of the saddle and they are pecking them bloody

    • Gianna says

      don’t ever butcher a chicken! Just put a sign up for free rooster. I’m pretty sure the rooster isn’t going to enjoy getting its head cut off.

      • Day says

        Unfortunately most of the roosters given away will be killed for food. Personally, I think it’s kinder to take the rooster to the vet to get it euthansed. Nicer than it getting it’s head cut off and being roughly handled by the new “owner”.

        • Becky says

          I have to say I was chuckling at some of these responses as I grew up on a farm. We ate the chickens for meat and kept enough hens for good egg production. If a rooster was mean and could not kindly be brought to know his place, then he became dinner as well. Waste not, want not.

          • Lesterley says

            Thank you thank you thank you. You have to wonder where some people think their meat comes from. Lol. I was just shaking my head at some of the comments until yours. And again- thank you. 🙂

    • Guessmama6 says

      Maybe buy saddles or aprons for the chickens. It helps with the mounting and pulling feathers

  3. melinda kline says

    Hi my name is melinda. I went to get 4 hens .Well 3 off them turned out to be roosters. When they were little 1 off them kept standing up to me. I would pick him up.And say to him dont tell me your a rooster. But this mom had the idea he was a rooster. I started to hear them crow. And when they were outside.I started to carry them around the yard with me.I taught them to come in barn with me. I also taught tippy to jump on ledge.Then he would bend down so i could pick him up.This is what we did every night. I had a lady come to pick up one.She never knew that he was being held in my arm. He was that calm. The other little boy went to a good home also.I have kept one. But they always will be in my heart. I wanted for them to know that they were loved

  4. Bobbie Hailey says

    I used to feed and water my employers flock eveyday. On the way into the pen I would grab a metal trash can lid to protect myself from the rooster trying to dig his talons threw my jeans. He was sooo aggressive towards me that I considered buying leather chaps! Instead, I just refused to tend the bosses flock anymore

    • Guessmama6 says

      Stand your ground. Slap him when he is in mid air. Just tell him no when you see him doing his tricks and stuff. Man handle him like pick him up and with your hands in gloves say no. Then slowly introduce hand feeding. He will know who is boss. My rooster loves me and kids no so much, but he is a big guy. I’m training him with the kids.

  5. SL Buckner says

    I would swear my daughter (now 21yrs old) is a Rooster-Whisperer. She’s never met a roo she didn’t like. No matter the flock, or aggressiveness of the roo, she can walk into a pen, watch for a few minutes, and then pick-up the head roo, She tucks him under her arm, head facing her back, and slides her and between his legs to hold them still. She keeps him close to her side, and pets his back while walking around the yard with him. I think they are so stunned and surprised at her lack of fear they just sit there. She’ll put them down after about 10min. and they kind of walk off eyeing her like “Well I don’t know what THAT was, but I don’t want it to happen again!”, and leave her alone. I’ve seen her do it to over a dozen roos, in different locations. It’s the craziest think I’ve seen. Her hope is to someday own a Rooster Sanctuary. Gotta love that girl 😉

    • Rachel says

      She can start her rooster sanctuary with my lil boy roo that i raised from 2inches. Roosters scare me.

      • Evelyn minard says

        Me too my daughter has a barred rock she incubated I’ve never had a problem until tonite he fluffed his body up and ran towards me of course me freckling out called our red nose pit for help the rooster backed down but what about tomorrow morning I won’t wanna let him out of the coop fear of being chased roosters scare the me to death

    • Artie Ann says

      Please could your daughter come to my house? I have two aggressive roosters, hurts my heart especially when I have had them both since they were born. Bogart surprised me as he is a full breed White Silkie. Sad in NM

    • Tara says

      I have one of those! We
      Call her the animal
      Whisperer… it started with dogs and cats, then chickens … and then one day I turned around and she was petting a dragonfly!! For about 10 mins 😍

  6. Middle aged chicken lady says

    My rooster has started to become very aggressive towards my hens. I am really afraid he will hurt them badly. Help!

  7. C A says

    I ended up with a silkie rooster at about 12 weeks, we thought he was a she. He was very sweet, but I had read how aggressive they can be if you don’t start the way you mean to go on. So I stamped my feet in front of him every time he came too close, a little dance like he was doing, it was that simple, he sometimes comes running if I am with the hens and they are making a commotion, but when he sees me he backs off.
    Unfortunately a young hen I’ve had about 4 months has suddenly started running at me and jumping up to peck. I’m going to gently try to show her who’s boss, hope it works because she is quite scary.

  8. MK says

    As silly as this sounds, be mindful of what colors you are wearing around your roosters and or ducks. Some not many of them dislike certain colors and provokes an attack.

    We have found our small rooster does not like the color pink and any variation of the color and will attack, be it pants, sox or shoes.

    Our Muscovy duck will bite at our feet if we wear lime green or any within that color range. So you may want to look at it from this perspective.

  9. ravanacious says

    I’ve raised my rooster, Jess, since he was a chick. He lets me hold him and he cuddles under my chin on rare occasion yet he still has his moments when I am not being mindful and not taking my time with whatever task I’m doing around him, where he will bite me. I pick him up, tucked under my arm, walk with him and put him in ‘timeout’ which is a separate coop.

  10. Sky says

    My rooster full on attacked me for the first time ever. He’s just turned a year old. I’ve had him and his 5 hens since they were a day old. This is my first flock. I’m totally new to this.

    Prior to the attack the most he’s done is peck my foot. In those moments I simply hollered at him and put my arms on my hips stepping toward him. This worked both times he did it.

    I realized after the attack (which was relentless) that I was wearing a red shirt under my winter coat. I never wear red. It’s the only red top I have. All I had to defend myself was the feed scoop and my feet. I managed to make it to safety but ended up with two nasty punctures and a bad scratch from the initial attack when I wasn’t prepared. He tore a good size hole in my sweats too.

    Since the attack I make sure to take the metal food bin lid and scoop. No more red! Lol. I’ll alway be on edge with him no doubt. I think I’ll have to keep an eye on him and be brave enough to square off with him if he starts to look aggressive. Ahhh. The chicken life. Lol.

  11. Jeannie says

    We thought we were getting one silky rooster but ended up with 1 white silky rooster, 1 brown sizzler silky rooster, and a regular rooster and only one white silky hen. They are about 8 months old and the brown rooster is pretty agreesive with us but I just pick him up and pet him however today he attacked the other white silky rooster and hen and picked them pretty badly so they are bloodied up. What should we do can they learn to live together?

  12. Gayle Shumate says

    I had problems with an aggressive rooster so I gave him some “umbrella therapy”. I did NOT strike the bird with the umbrella but I opened the umbrella in a threatening manner kind of like the way roosters fan their neck feathers at each other. Rooster saw my umbrella fan out and thought “oh crap, this is a much bigger then I am”, problem solved.

    • Linda says

      Thank you for this tip! Tried it yesterday and worked like a charm! So sad to see my roo turn aggressive. He’s wonderful with the girls and beautiful? He’d always been sweet and polite, until yesterday. He came at me and my hubby each twice and drew blood. I want my sweet boy back!

  13. Alicia says

    They make a small cage called a chicken pyramid. It’s collapsible and the top lifts up. I use it for my over aggressive rooster. I tried everything with him. Carrying a stick, standing up to him, never backing down, carrying him around. Nothing worked. By since I’ve started using the cage everything has been great. I leave it at the gate of the pen, calmly walk over to the rooster and plop it over him. He stays in it while I do chores. When I’m done I lift it off tilting it so the opening is away from me. Sometimes he goes to jump at me thru the cage but I gently nudge him back with the cage and he walks off towards his hens. Doesn’t even try to chase me out of the pen anymore.

  14. Kathy p says

    Screw that getting attacked crap. This game rooster attacks me EVERY time I go in the coop. I’ve tried everything listed in this post. Today after drawing blood in several places in my legs (I’m on blood thinners) I kicked at him to make him back up but he just kept coming back for more. Hubby said we are going to have to put him in the freezer. He never attacks my husband. I told him HE could go get the eggs from now on

  15. Kay says

    When I stared at my rooster he pecked the white part of my eye and leveraged it very bad. No more starrng at the rooster!

  16. Brenda says

    I have the cutest Bantam Silkie rooster who is the devil incarnate!! I have not tried these methods but definitely will! I do enjoy him, he is so strange looking in his adorable way, and I love hearing the crowing. But I refuse to be shredded by those talons, so I hope this works or I’ll be looking up rooster recipes!!

  17. N says

    My Brahma roo attacked one of my hens so badly over the weekend the vet had to stitch her up. She’s lucky to be alive. We separated him from the ladies but tonight when I tried to get him into the isolation coop he attacked me.

    He’s not quite a year. How long will this behavior take to stop?

    • Brian says

      I have two Brahma roos in a flock with seven hens. One of them has begun to be aggressive. It happened when we were out of town, and the girl next door who was caring for the animals got chased by him. When I came back he attacked me. I had the egg basket in my hand and whacked his head with it, hard. He shook his head and flew at me a second time. i walloped him harder, knocking him about four feet. Then I ran at him, clapping my hands, and chased him around for about two minutes. Now he treats me with respect.

      • Brian says

        I should also mention that we did not expect to keep two roos with a flock that small. Before winter, we’re going to cull the most aggressive rooster.

  18. Mickey says

    My silkie rooster is in with some wine dots, a couple of bramas, and some americanas. He is picking a fight every day with a wine dot hen, and she is showing him what for. He may get a feather, but she gives him a bloody head and almost seems like he is going to be killed by her. We put him in a cage, but he of course is miserable because until now he was free to roam about the yard. Should I just let him go out and get “lessoned” by the wine dot, or is it better to give him to the rooster sanctuary? Will a hen kill a rooster?

  19. Becky Scott says

    We have a white leghorn rooster who is aggressive. He has attacked me, my husband and now my 11 year old. Does it work to separate him out? Put him in a different location? My husband is ready to shot him…I enjoy him and know he is just trying to do his job. Thanks for any help!

    • Karen Bates-Earnest says

      I sing as I go out to feed the flock. The roo is Roy, I sing to him, throw scratch into a W shape and then collect eggs& fill feed & water. Then into the duck pen next doot, sing to Sir Francis Drake and collect eggs, throw BSFL and close door to outside yards for the night. Same thing every night. Roy knows what to expect. However, if for some reason it is my husband, instead of me, he doesnt talk to them, just gets it done and lately Roy has started charging him. Hubs is threatening to turn his neck. I tell him that he has to move slowly and talk to him to not be threatening.

  20. Lucy says

    I wanted to learn how to deal with my rooster, not just give up and put him in the fridge. He is just doing his job…find him a new home…someone who has free range chickens and needs a good cock to protect them.

  21. Katie says

    Maybe I’m the odd man out but I don’t agree that if a rooster is being aggressive he should “go in the fridge.” Animals should be respected, not literally killed if we don’t agree with their behavior.

  22. Stephanie says

    I just bought 5 week old hens and 1 roo, same age; think he is an old english game but not sure. He’s all black and very aggressive with my week old hens. The others integrated with the flock just fine and so did he for a few hours before he became aggressive and just plain mean with the hens. I have had an older flock for 8 years so I know all about establishing a pecking order but he goes after everyone and is so mean that last night I cut slits into a chocolate milk container and placed it in the brooder; that’s where he spent the night to cool his spurs. This morning was the same mean attacks on my hens. I give him time-outs in a large deep bucket with a lid because he flies up and bangs it to get out. The gentlemen I purchased him from is willing to take him back and I can trade him in for a hen.

  23. Suzett says

    I have a Rhode Island Red Rooster and I’ve raised him since he was a chick, although he attacks my mom, sister, and my dad. he doesn’t attack me or my little brother. I’ve been on his good side. And I completely understand that he’s a very aggressive breed.Then two of my hens had little chicks, and he likes to peck them all the time. Why does he do that? The mother hens don’t do anything about it! And each of the two hens have one little baby rooster. Does he peck the chicks because he doesn’t know them? Or does he already know there are two more roosters? He once launched himself at me, but I put my foot down and he just put his head down and backed away.

  24. Joe says

    My rooster mates so much with the hens it is tearing the feathers off their backs. Also the hens are not laying as much anymore. What should I do?

  25. Heike says

    I have very aggressive silver laced wyandotte rooster and I now use a small hand held water sprayer every time I go into the yard. It’s a gentle way of disrupting his behaviour – he really dislikes being sprayed and as soon as he sees the sprayer he backs off.
    Mind you I still never drop my guard or turn my back on him.

  26. Michaela says

    We saved a rooster and silkie from being dumped but although they have settled in with my other 5 girls, he attacks me. When my 32yr old son goes in, he’s in a wheelchair, the rooster just stays away but he hates me. I do pick him up and carry him when he attacks me. I haven’t tried to stare him out as not sure how?? We’ve had him about a month and some days he just stays out of my way. Tonight he flogged me as I had to turn my back to him for a second. I don’t want to give up on him as he is amazing with my girls. He has fed out of my son’s hand. Advice would be appreciated.

  27. Richie Chiger says

    I have had several human aggressive roosters. It just happens, there doesn’t seem to be a rationale why some are actually vicious toward people and others aren’t. The one thing I found that works FOR THE DAY is to grab him and carry him with you while you do your feeding chores. I found that if I carry him around with me long enough he runs away when I put him down. You have to be consistent with this. Roosters are like many other male animals, bulls, stallions, elephants, billy goats etc. Why some are lovely and trustworthy is hard to figure out. Right now I have a very large dark Brahma and he is really a sweet bird. I love to carry him, but just because he is a delight and non aggressive. My friend had a dark Brahma, years ago, that attacked anyone who came into the yard. I have had New Hampshires that were really nice and one that was aggressive. I have had black minorcas that were nice and others that were vicious. I have found that in Wyandottes, a usual calm breed, the roosters I have had and known have been aggressive. I had 2 Sumatras, One was aggressive to everyone but me. He used to fly up on my shoulder and we would walk around together like a parrot, the other attacked everybody including me. I had to give them to a farm sanctuary because they wet after my children. I don’t know of anyone who actually changed the behavior of a rooster that stayed changed for any length of time.

  28. Janessa says

    I hope this helps my rooster. Just the other day he was his normal sweet self and we gave our mean rooster away and ever since he has been aggressive to me. Today I was giving him his bed time blackberries and he jumped up and went after me. i dont know what happened to him. I had him since he was a day old and we cuddled on the couch and he was my best friend and now that he us now 6 months he has been nasty to me.

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