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.

  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”.

  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

  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

  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.

  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.

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