Flogged by a Rooster

Rhode Island Red in pig pen
Rhode Island Red rooster and his gilts

We have a rooster that lives in one of our pig pens with some grow-out gilts. The rooster eats with the pigs, hangs out all day and roosts on the bars of the pen at  night. He is first to the feed trough in the morning so I usually scatter a little grain for him to peck at while I feed the pigs.

Last night I was feeding the pigs and not paying attention. Not paying enough attention to the rooster, I guess. All of a sudden he was attacking my leg, jumping at me and flogging me with his wings and trying to spur me with his feet.  He attacked me twice before I realized what was going on. What a crazy feeling. Who knew a light weight little bird could hit with that force. Good thing it was not an Ostrich, I would still be laying there.

It turns out that this chicken is trying to protect his pen mates. Every time I reached down to pet one of the pigs the chicken started towards me. If I stopped petting the pig he would stop, If I continued to pet the pig he would try to flog me. I really don’t know if this is a good thing or not. How many times would a pig really need to be protected by a rooster? What could a rooster protect a pig from that the pig couldn’t protect itself from?