Do you need to know how to catch a rooster with your hands but afraid you’ll get hurt?
Read along to discover how I catch the most aggressive rooster in my backyard chicken flock – without getting a scratch on me!
While it’s completely natural for roosters to protect their territory, it’s also a real drag when one tries to beat you up on a daily basis.
As time goes on, you’ll probably need to give your rooster medical treatment – buuuuuutttt…..you might also be taking your life in your hands.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to catch a rooster with your hands….and without getting hurt.
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Why do roosters attack?
Chickens don’t have many natural ways to protect themselves. In fact, running away from predators and flogging with their spurs are really all the things chickens can do.
From a survival standpoint, it’s important that chickens exercise any natural defenses they have.
So, from that perspective, it’s easy to understand why roosters attack.
Even though we keep chickens as pets, it’s hard to remove millions of years of survival habits, and in some cases, we don’t WANT our fluffy butts to be defenseless.
On our farm, there’s been many, many instances where predators have tried to take down our backyard chicken flock – and the rooster has saved the day.
In domestic breeds, it’s uncommon for roosters to want to attack humans, although it can definitely happen.
On our farm, we’ve only had 3 roosters (out of hundreds) who really came after humans.
One stopped eventually (and he’s now a sweetheart) but the other 2 just never got over it.
Particularly once they reach maturity (around 7 months old), you might notice your rooster becoming more and more aggressive.
(You can read this article to find out how to train a rooster to stop attacking you)
Now, just for clarification, you should never have to deal with a rooster that hurts people if it’s making life difficult, and it’s okay to find another home for him.
However, if you choose to keep him, you’ll probably need to catch your rooster at some point.
How do roosters attack?
Without getting too deep into this conversation, when roosters attack, they might:
- Fly up at you
- Dig their spurs into you
- Bite you with their beak
- Hit you with their wings
- Divebomb you from above (I’ve had this happen, and it’s actually pretty painful)
- Charge at you or chase you with their feathers ruffled
How to catch a rooster with your hands (without getting hurt)
Do it at night
If you have to catch a rooster, the easiest time possible to nab him is during night time or just after sunset.
Chickens like to roost after sundown. They can’t see the world as well, making them a prime target for nocturnal predators.
So, they evolved to stay still and quiet when it’s dark. Because of this, your rooster is much less likely to run away at night.
They are bedded down and quite sedated – and that makes easy for you.
The worst thing you can ever do when dealing with an aggressive rooster is show that you’re scared. He’s already scared of you, and he will take your fear as a reason to attack.
Further, you should also never turn your back to an aggressive rooster – they’ll know you’re scared and take the opportunity to chase you.
If you’re not confident, you also might tip them off that you’re trying to catch them – and once your cover is blown, you might have a harder time nabbing him.
Which leads us to my next tip – covering yourself so even if you get attacked, it doesn’t hurt.
Gloves are critical
Even though your rooster will be quieter at night, you should still wear gloves or other protection depending on how aggressive he is.
We’ve had some that are very, very aggressive – and gloves give us confidence that if he does attack, we’re less likely to get spurred.
When I wear gloves, I use leather work gloves, which are hard to penetrate.
I’ve used gloves and I’ve used socks – both work. Socks are good because you can layer them, which gives you even more padding.
How to nab him
Make sure you first know what you’ll do with him once you have him.
In our case, we usually need to grab them for medical treatment or to remove an errant string around their feet, so we’ll put him into a large dog crate.
If you’ll also put him into a crate or carrier, have it handy so you can immediately transfer him.
The less time you’re holding him, the more successful you’ll be.
Once you’re confident and invulnerable to getting hurt, grab him (without crushing him) around his middle and over his wings so he can’t flap them hurt you.
Hold him about as tight as you would a child who is trying to run away, and make sure you have the crate ready to pop him straight into.
He’ll probably be mad and cluck at you in self-righteous indignation, but at least both of you are safe!
If he flaps his wings while you’re holding him, don’t worry – just hold him snugly and at arms length away from your face until he’s calm.
If necessary (if he’s going completely berserk for example), you can hold him upside down. This is a last resort, but it works because the blood goes to their heads.
However, as soon as he’s calm, transfer him to the dog crate so he can be upright again.
And that’s it! Catching a rooster is pretty easy as long as you’re confident that you won’t be hurt.
Do you have any tips for how to catch a rooster with your hands? Leave a comment below!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.