Keeping chickens isn’t rocket science, but doing it properly does involve decent levels of understanding, commitment, and attention to detail. Getting the basics right is essential, and The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver (Quarry Books, 2015) by Chris Graham contains 100 common problems faced by chicken keepers, spelling out in clear and simple terms the underlying causes and offering practical solutions.
Buy this book from the GRIT store: The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver.
Feistiness or aggressive behavior among male birds can be a strain related character trait, but also often tends to be season dependent.
Male chickens are naturally more aggressive than females; that’s just the way it should be and is the natural order of things. How you deal with the problem rather depends on your situation, your attitude toward the offending bird, and the reason why you’re keeping it in the first place. Experienced breeders know that a good, fertile male bird will turn into an aggressive character during the mating season. This behavior is expected and appreciated as it tends to denote a successful breeding bird, all else being equal. This aggression rarely manifests itself as violence toward female birds, and is usually directed toward the keeper, or anyone else who happens to wander within pecking or flogging distance! This sort of behavior can pose problems for those keeping their birds in a family environment, with young children who enjoy regular contact with the birds. Previously mild-mannered males can turn into feisty and unpredictably aggressive characters when they reach sexual maturity, typically at about six months old, so this is something to be very aware of, especially if you’re breeding any of the larger breeds. Male-to-male aggression can be a serious issue, too, so breeders will need the space available to separate these birds once they mature. A naturally aggressive male bird that exhibits undesirable behavior all the time is no fun to keep.
It’s not all bad news if you have an aggressive rooster. Although he may be awkward to manage at times, the flipside of this feistiness is that more often than not he’ll be an excellent breeding bird: virile and fertile. So, if you have ambitions to breed, a pugnacious male can be a great asset.
This excerpt has been republished with permission from The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver, by Chris Graham and published by Quarry Books, 2015. Buy this book from the GRIT store: The Chicken Keeper’s Problem Solver.