Rooster Crowing Contests
I love hearing the roosters crow, and I can tell apart many of their individual “voices”. They sometimes crow while I’m in the yard with them, but often it’s after I’ve left and gone to one of the other sections.
One of the things I’ve read about aggressive roosters is that you shouldn’t allow them to crow in your presence, as that’s a sign of dominance. And you, as a human, should never crow at them or in response, as that’s challenging their position, making matters worse if you’re already trying to work on a rooster’s attitude. That’s one of the mistakes I made with Michael - my first rooster - I’d copy his crowing & of course then he’d have to respond! At our other house, my brother’s shed was next to the chicken yard (& part of the “fence”) - Joel also started to crow at Michael. Since Joel is around 5’ 11” and I’m 4’ 10 ¾” , his crowing seemed to have more of an effect on the rooster than mine. Many times, I’d go outside & hear Michael & Joel having “crowing contests” - it was hilarious, yet counter-productive. Michael always “stood his ground” & Joel would eventually leave to go inside = meaning Michael his won! Then, when I’d come into the chicken yard, Michael would challenge my position as well, since he knew he was “king” & wanted me to know as well.
Thankfully, most of my other roosters after Michael have been gentle and never aggressively demonstrated their place in the flock. Sometimes they’ve been afraid or skittish of me, but they generally respected me & knew their rightful place whenever I was in the chicken yard. That is, until “Little Man Swede” (nickname, as haven’t settled on an “official name”) came to our hobby farm last March. He has been full of spunk and “full of himself”, which has lead to some flare-ups of borderline aggression. But, it’s something I have to be constantly vigilant about, because if I give him an inch, he’ll take a mile and think he owns this whole valley! Last spring I worked diligently with him, and “Little Man” learned enough that he’d keep eye on me, yet from a safe distance away. After the Swedish Flower Hen’s quarantine was over, I let them out where Michael Jessie was the dominant rooster, and quickly told the Swede to respect him or else. All summer long last year, I hardly ever had a problem with “Little Man”, mainly because Michael Jessie kept him in line better than I ever could. Even after we moved and all the roosters were together during the winter, “Little Man” kept cool and managed his ego very well.
But, now that he’s separated with the Swedish Flower Hens with only one other rooster who’s obviously much more laid back and wouldn’t dare challenge his authority, Little Man’s attitude has surfaced again. He was doing okay for several weeks, though showing a few “red flag” signs of it occasionally. Last week after Mom shoveled off the SFH Coop’s roof, I showed her the chickens that were inside - Little Man didn’t like that, so I “pecked” him on the neck. He went and hid in the nesting box! But that obviously didn’t have long-term effects. Last Saturday (3/7), when Joel & I were snow-blowing the area around the SFH’s coop, so they could finally go outside. The whole time we were out there, Little Man crowed every 30 seconds to 2 minutes - for several hours straight, so that by evening his crow was getting a little raspy! And when I went in to collect the eggs that night, he looked at me with eye & almost pecked my hand when I was passing by. Monday evening, I let them out for the first time since they were separated on Feb 12th, There was so much snow & below zero temps this past month, that even though they could have gone outside, there was no where to go. Even still, we had to snow-blow out the area in order for them to not get buried in the snow! Anyways, back to Monday evening, I was taking photos & Little Man was crowing constantly. I went inside their yard, and soon he challenged me, to which I responded, which ended with him returning to the coop. Tuesday was a repeat of Monday, and we shall see what today is like.
But back to Joel vs. Little Man - Before we moved and Joel was working in his shed, Little Man and Joel would have crowing contests. It was hilarious to watch, as Little Man would stand right next to the fence, almost stand on his tip-toes and crow his classic high-pitched cock-a-doodle-do! He’d also put his head down & peck the ground, while moving slightly sideways with his wing closest to you extended to the ground. Yes, Little Man went through a lot of effort just to display his big ego to Joel, which only triggered Joel’s ego to respond in like manner to respond with his version of a crow. Little Man sometimes did that to me, but more times than not it was for the “benefit” of my brother Joel.
(Back to present) - I asked Joel yesterday when he came inside from working on his shed - which is close to the chicken yard, if Little Man was crowing a lot while he was out there. He said yes, and when he was in the chicken yard the other day, Little Man was crowing as often as he possibly could. I have let Joel know that having crowing contests with the roosters is not something that helps the situation, but rather contributes to Little Man’s big ego. It may sound strange, but I think Little Man and Joel enjoy crowing back and forth to each other - it helps both of their egos, and perhaps it’s just the higher level of testosterone in males that often is a symptom with “Spring Fever”.
I do know that when I let all the breeding groups out in the morning, there is a chorus of crowing back and forth between the various roosters. And it makes me so glad that we live out in the country, and that we didn’t have to move to a place with extremely close neighbors. Even though there are occasional humps and bumps along the way and attitudes that need adjustment, I’m thankful for the roosters and even for their crowing. Any oh, I love how handsome they are with their glistening feathers and bright, splashy colors that would make any hen take notice. Often when I’m taking photos of them or looking at the photos I’ve already take, I marvel at the intricate details that each of the chickens have, especially their feathers. It makes me stand in awe and worship the Awesome Creator that we serve, that not only did He create all these wonders to behold, but He also made man in His Own Image for the purpose of reflecting His Glory!