Rooster Carts

I’ve never kept a rooster. Too much noise. Also, my hens don’t free-range, and in the close confines of the pen, the girls wouldn’t be able to ask the roo for personal space (you know what I mean.) Also, I don’t want to deal with aggression. Today’s breeders almost never select for temperament. It’s all about production and feather color. However, in days past, it was essential that your rooster was nice;  when you had to walk among your flock to step out of the house, malevolent roosters went right into the stew pot. The friendly ones were kept to protect the hens, fertilize the eggs and to become pets.

I have a number of photographs of roosters being snuggled by children, and as guests at parties. I’m fascinated by the photographs of roosters pulling carts. I’m not sure how this worked. I have snapshots of harnessed roosters, so I know that these weren’t simply staged photos (most of the pics of children in goat carts were taken by itinerant photographers traveling the neighborhood with their goats, but that’s another story.) How do you steer a rooster cart? How far can you go? I’ve yet to read a mention about rooster training in any of my vintage poultry books; this must have been common knowledge not worth writing down. Alas, the art of rooster carting has been lost! Does anyone with a pet rooster want to revive it?


  1. My Roo is non aggressive as of now he s only 7 months or so I don’t think he will be pulling cart though.he crows but not very often, not even in the morning

  2. I had a most charming bantam rooster for many years. He would only chase things that ran (like rolling balls) or people in white pants. Alas, it was a long time ago, so we can’t try this out.

  3. Oh that is so cute. What about the people that you gave Opie too ? I know he has become a nice non human attacking rooster. And because he is a Delware he is large enough. Maybe one your photographing friends could stage one with Opie, if his owners say okay.

  4. That child and cart must be several times the rooster’s weight. Roosters must be much stronger than I ever imagined. Great picture.

  5. well that looks like an accident waiting to happen! I think a rooster would be strong enough – if you’ve ever had one sock you in the face with a wing you’ll know how much power there is there, and that’s in a pretty much vestigial flight muscle. Those drumsticks are chunky!

  6. Sorry, I’m a nonbeliever! He is hitched to the wagon, but it doesn’t mean that he is pulling it. Of course, I have never had chickens.

  7. we only had one rooster, Snowball, and he developed into a mean sob….i had to drive him off every time I took the kids out to the car. They wouldn’t go outside when he was there. I thought he might have needed companionship, so I got two hens. The hens spent the day hiding from him and spent the night on top of the horse barn. We’d only see them occasionally as they dashed from shrub to shrub.

    Thinking on it, I believe Snowball could very well have towed a cart like that with a little kid in it, but I wouldn’t even think of trying.

  8. P.S. Never saw an egg from those two, either. We gave them all to a friend who kept a pig at their place by the river. She brought us a fabulous batch of brownies in return. I think they all wound up on their table.

  9. I saw a letter in a magazine that recommended “snuggling” young roosters whenever they showed aggression. The rooster would cease attacking humans because it didn’t want to be hugged. (sorry, can’t think of the name of the magazine…probably purchesed at Lowe’s or Home Depot, the subject being rural living and raising one’s own food)

    We had bantams, hens and roosters, years and years ago. When I was little the rooster would sometimes charge at me, but eventually that stopped, perhaps because he was older, or because I got bigger and more likely to kick back at him! His one male offspring had beautiful black and green feathers, a long graceful tail, and absolutely no aggressive attitude, probably because I handled him a lot as a chick.

    • I’ve heard that gently holding a rooster can made him nice. I certainly see the nicest roos being held by children at poultry shows. Some breeds are nicer than others. Silkie roos are supposed to be gentlemen. Sadly, there are roos with too mean for that technique to work.

      • When I was a child my parents grew a very large wegetable garden each year. We had a flock of domestic geese that my father would fence in sections of the garden to eat bugs. It was my job to feed and water them in their house at night. After I had completed these chores I would have to run to the door because they would attack me when I turned my back on them. They could really hurt you with their wings and beaks. I still don’t like geese!