|The right corner: Ivan the White Leghorn - check out that beautiful tail!|
|And in the left corner: Randy the Rhode Is Red - Ivan's arch enemy|
We usually keep several roosters for our breeding program, at the moment we have three, each with a small flock of 3-4 hens, and at times we have even more if we're raising cockerels to eat as well. The roosters have to be kept separate as they have a habit of FIGHTING TO THE DEATH if they get close enough to each other. Our three roosters are separated by chicken mesh fences, but this doesn't stop them challenging each other. I'm not sure if they have really short memories, but they seem to be really surprised to see each other each time they are out of their cages. On an almost daily basis, Randy the Rhode Island Red will spot Ivan the White Leghorn on the other side of the fence and launch an attack. This involves running at full speed toward the fence. Anyone who has seen a rooster running at full speed will know how funny this looks, head down, tail up, wings aerodynamically folded down and the lurch from side to side that only happens at high speed. When they get to the fence they face each other and mirror each other's movements, bobbing up and down, eyes locked, until one of them, usually Ivan, loses interest and wanders away. Randy then spends several minutes patrolling up and down the fence and calling out to the other rooster (probably calling him chicken), until he realises that he looks like a fool and wanders away too. If the fence wasn't there, the resulting fight (and we have a had a few when roosters have sneaked around/through the fence) involves much frenzied wing-flapping and kicking. Once separated, the roosters are often bleeding from their combs, panting heavily, but determined to continue the fight at the first opportunity (did I mention that they're stupid?).
|ah ha! there he is, now if I can just get through this fence we can sort it out once and for all!|
Roosters are well known for their crowing at dawn, however this is a fallacy, our roosters crow all day, replying to each other and to neighbour's roosters, although they are most vocal at dawn. They also occasionally crow during the night is we have a particularly full moon. Usually this doesn't affect my sleep, but sometimes we unfortunately position the cages so that they channel the sound towards our bedroom window. The other problems is the occasions when I forget to lock up the chickens at night time. We are usually alerted to this mistake by early morning clucking around our window and then the rooster will start crowing. I don't know if he knows where we are, but he always seems to find that outside our window is a great place to crow. He also likes the carport, I think he finds the acoustics pleasing. If its a weekday morning, this results in both of us jumping out of bed and rushing outside to attempt to herd the chickens back to their cage so that they will be safely locked away (from the elderly killer Kelpie dogs) while we're at work. If you've tried to herd chickens, you will know that they don't herd well, actually we find it ends up being more effective to lure them back to their cage with food, often meat scraps or bread will coax most of them back inside.
The first crows of a young cockerel are quite unnerving. The first time we raised a clutch of chicks and they were old enough to go outside in a cage, after a few nights I heard the strangest sound, like something was being strangled out in the paddock. It was ones of those wide-awake - ohmygodwhatwasthat? - moments, but luckily my husband stayed calm and collected, "its just the baby rooster" he mumbled, half asleep. Over the next few days the cries got louder and more like a proper crow, its interesting now to hear the crows develop, each is slightly different and we can recognise each rooster by his crow.
Roosters have a habit of getting up high. I don't know if this makes them feel bigger, better able to survey the terrain or they just like climbing, but I will often look out the window to see them crowing from the top of a hay pile, the kitchen steps or anything else they can find. My husband had a particularly nasty rooster (who was eaten before I had a chance to meet him) that apparently had a personal vendetta against my husband. On several occasions, my husband would look out the window to find himself face to face with this rooster that had climbed (most like hopping and half-flying) half way up a trestle that my husband was using to paint the house. Needless to say, this rooster didn't last long!
Any good rooster stories?