When Roosters Attack - 100% Successful Behaviour Modification

Author: Aussie Chook Supplies  

Most people who have been around breeding roosters during Spring can tell you at least one story of being chased and kicked in a flurry of wings/feathers and feet by an aggressive rooster. Some chicken keepers say it's a right of passage in the chicken ownership journey. And many of us have seen those so called 'funny' rooster chasing videos on social media.

However many chicken keepers, including me, absolutely despise those videos for portraying a comedic side of what can be a very serious issue. Aggressive roosters chasing humans is not funny.

If you spend enough time on chicken social media groups, you will see that injuries from reported rooster attacks have included -

  • Bruising and scratches
  • Skin punctures
  • Tendon injuries
  • Infections needing antibiotics 
  • Needing tetanus injections
  • Stitches
  • Surgery to clean out puncture wounds when infection has spread to joints
  • Septicaemia and possible death from bacteria in chicken poo/dirt


Can you treat aggression in a rooster?

Some people do report a change of behaviour after trying a few tactics (which I will write about separately). This is still concerning as the urge to attack is largely hormonal and will still be there post 'behaviour modification' - the history of an attack is all the proof you need that that rooster could very well try again.

In other countries, surgical castration (known as 'caponising') of roosters occurs. This is believed to reduce the likelihood of aggression in roosters as it removes the testicles and therefore the source of hormone production that is the source of attacking behaviour. However, it is a high risk operation due to the location of the testicles in poultry and can be quite expensive as it can only be performed by a qualified poultry veterinarian.

However, in Australia any conversation of caponising roosters is brief. It's illegal. Not allowed. By anyone. Fullstop. End of discussion.


Rooster attack case studies

We have had chickens for almost over fifteen year and were purebreed poultry breeders for a lot of them when our daughters were younger. Over 99% of our roosters were absolutely beautiful, not only physically but in temperament. 

I have a vivid memory of one white Australorp bantam rooster in particular that we had when the breed was still in it's developmental infancy, who lived in a moveable chicken tractor with two hens. On this occasion, our youngest daughter (who was 4-5 years old) was reaching into the coop to get the waterer unit for cleaning out and he flew at her face, spurs first. My daughter screamed, slammed the door (thankfully with him still inside) and burst into tears.

At the end of the day, he didn't hurt her badly but just gave her one hell of a fright. But we also didn't give him another opportunity to stalk humans and try again. Some six years later the physical scars have healed on her arm but she is deathly afraid of roosters. 

Let's also talk about Jo-Jo, who shared her story on a well known poultry Facebook page. Jo-jo reported that she was bending into a chicken tractor and the rooster, who had been let out earlier and was free ranging with his flock, was waiting on top. When she stood upright from the initial crouching position, the rooster attacked from approx. 30cm away and flew at her face. There was a flurry of feathers and feet, then warm blood gushing down her face.
These pictures she shared show the result. A couple of centimetres different could have resulted in Jo-Jo losing her eye. Even with a careful application of makeup, the damage is still visible.


Other concerned Mum's also gave me permission to share images of their children who were attacked by roosters. If rooster attacks are terrifying for adults, can you imagine how bad they are for defenceless children who don't know how to fight them off effectively.

These are not minor injuries to be brushed off with a hug and a kiss "to make it better". These are injuries that need to be monitored so as not to get medically worse. Let alone the damage to their confidence. So heartbreaking...


And then we have this poor womans death from a rooster attack, which was reported in the media. Yes, she did have varicose veins but the fact of the matter remains that she could have lived for years with this pre-existing medical condition if she wasn't having to deal with an aggressive rooster.

Some people say that they have had some success turning the aggressive behaviour of roosters around with a variety of tactics. This is not a blog article to discuss those tactics as I believe the success rate to be quite low. 

Ending aggressive behaviour permanently

Unfortunately we, along with many long term chicken keepers believe the only permanent solution to feel safe in your yard after yourself or a family member is attacked doesn't end well for the rooster. You need to make the difficult decision to remove that rooster from Earth, permenantly. Whether he becomes that nights dinner or fertiliser for your next fruit tree, that agressive rooster should not be given another chance.

Once they have proven they will attack and, as we have shown, potentially cause serious injury they should be culled.

This is not a comment or recommendation that I make lightly and is born from experience. Especially when breeders who are experienced with aggressive roosters believe that this trait is often handed down to future generations.

I'm worried now. Should we even get/have a rooster?

Absolutely! Lets be clear here - we are not saying all roosters are aggressive. We actually believe the opposite. 

Roosters are awesome! They areincredibly beautiful creatures, often more beautiful than hens. The majority of roosters are gentle around humans and animals and do a great job looking after their flock. They are alert guardians that sound warnings when they spot danger, call their girls over to feed when they find tasty treats, ensure harmony in flocks where pecking order issues flare up and can be really gentle leaders. If you have ever seen a rooster in the nest, tucking straw and other bedding material around him until it is perfectly placed for a hen to safely lay an egg whilst they guard the entrance, you know this is true.

Given that a majority of chicken keepers can't legally keep a rooster with their flock, we should give every opportunity for the gentle giants of the species to have a long and happy life. There are so many that need a great home and would love a flock to call their own, there is simply no need to keep one that isn't safe.