This morning when I went up to tend the chickens in the coop, I brought a bit of scratch feed in a scoop. Instead of opening the regular door and tossing it in, I figured I’d change the dynamics a bit and open up the new “back door” that is on the opposite side and at the back – in the portion that Scott added on. Nobody met me at that door as they were totally faked out. So I tossed in the scratch food and watched as the girls and Roo began to peck and scratch.
I shut the door and went to the front to check the water and food, which were fine. Then I opened the first door to check that nest, then the next. When I got to the third nest, I found the broody black hen inside and tossed her back into the coop. Roo was RIGHT THERE, even before I removed her, and charged into the nest as soon as she was removed. I still had the food scoop in my hand, so poked it inside the nest and smacked Roo with it. He didn’t even back off. His feathers were raised and he was stomping at me! I smacked him 3 or 4 times and he did not back down at all. Finally I grabbed “The Grabber” off the roof of the nests. It’s one of these things with a long handle and two rubber “fingers” at the end, where you squeeze the handle and it brings the fingers together to gently grab something out of normal reach. We use it to reach in for eggs that may be laid outside the nests. Scott had told me that Roo is intimidated by it and to show it to him if he gets uppity. Well it sure didn’t intimidate him today! He came right after it, wings out and feathers raised! I thought maybe I could actually grab him around the neck with it to take him down a notch, but he came at it and ended up knocking himself back onto his back. We have a linoleum floor under the shavings, and he could not right himself as he kept slipping on the linoleum. It looked a bit like a cartoon, with him trying to right himself! Legs were going ninety miles an hour but to no avail. After about half a minute he stopped trying and just lay there on his back. It certainly did take the wind out of his sails. 🙂
I took my time closing the nest, went around to the main door, opened it, and told Roo exactly what I thought of his recent behavior. Then I used the grabber to flip him back upright, after which he immediately retreated to the rear of the coop where his girls were still happily scratching and eating. They were not impressed with all this bravado on his part; they didn’t even notice!
Will this little episode make a difference? I don’t know. Everything I’ve read about roosters getting snotty like this says to smack the rooster or grab him – anything to let him know YOU are alpha, not him. And no, we’re not talking smacking to hurt him. Believe me, he has not been injured in any way. I’m hoping to injure his pride and give him a little healthy respect for me again. We’ll see. The next usual suggestion I read is to put him in the stew pot! I’d like to avoid that, and in fact would give him away rather than kill him. He’s a beautiful bird. Plus I’ve finally taught him to crow properly, but that’s another story.