We may be heading down a bad path with Magnus. He has turned into a truly beautiful bird and is quite regal looking. I have always been able to pet him- maybe not always happily on his part, he has been getting more aggressive recently. I'm sure it is just part of his age and little rooster hormones kicking in- he is nearly 5 months old. He is doing his duty with the girls - not too rough at least.
He has never been really fond of V- maybe he recognizes him as the alpha male on the farm or maybe just because V didn't spend much time with the chickens as they were growing up. But regardless, Magnus has been getting more aggressive with me- and I'm the one who feeds them and brings them treats. Until this afternoon it has taken the form of waggling his head at me, slowly approaching, flapping his wings and crowing- these didn't bother me at all- he is, after all, on duty protecting his girls.
But today, things changed. This afternoon, after a Saturday at work, I was out in the coop, checking the nest boxes (the girls were all outside in the run) and he jumped at me. He actually bit my shirt sleeve. Fortunately I was wearing long sleeves or it could have been ugly. Later I went back in to see what would happen- he didn't charge me but he definitely was stalking me, herding me to the door. V went in and Magnus attacked his leg. Not good.
I've been doing a bit of reading online for suggestions. There seem to be two camps. One is the 'win them over with kindness' crew who suggest hand feeding and snuggling them until they calm. The other are the folks who advocate showing him that you are the alpha chicken and not backing down. He isn't bad yet but I don't want it getting worse. I don't want to wait until he injures someone- especially the children. One post I saw recommended using a squirt gun. Hmm, we used it for behavior modification for the dog and cats, maybe it would work on chickens.
I'm open to feedback or advice.
I'd rather he not have to become dinner but I don't want to have to always watch my back.