Earlier this week I went out to gather up the escaped chickens from the orchard and found them down the driveway chattering away with a beautiful black rooster! This rooster was very interested in my girls and followed us back to the coop. I didn’t let him in the pen and tried to shoo him away, but he had other ideas and promptly jumped a good 15 ft straight up into the tree that shades the pen.
At first he was a novelty. He had glossy iridescent black blue feathers and a bright red comb. But his glamour quickly wore off afterI spent the rest of the day repeatedly chasing him out of the pen and down the road. We finally came to the realization that he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But night was falling and we thought maybe he would go back to his own coop when our girls were put away.
It was not to be.
Tom let the girls out of their coop early the next morning and by the time I got up at around 8:30am and headed out to feed, the rooster had beat the crud out of our favorite hen Betty White. I found her huddled in a corner of the pen, covered in blood, eye swollen shut, and missing dozens of feathers from the back of her neck. Our poor hen had been brutally raped by that evil rooster.
I spent the rest of that day tending to Betty’s wounds and chasing the rooster away from the coop, only to have him run straight back. I even had Chaser, a trained birding dog, out to help chase him away, but that rooster wasn’t fazed. That evening we went around the neighborhood asking if anyone was missing a rooster and no one was. Several people knew of him and a few even expressed a bit of hatred toward his tendency to crow at 5am from the road. We decided that he must be feral or had been dumped by someone who didn’t want him anymore.
The next day he still hadn’t left and the neighbors gathered to discuss what to do with him. We decided that because of his aggression there was no choice but to end his days. I felt bad for the rooster, but also felt justified. Without an owner to claim him he was just going to keep terrorizing the hens and the neighborhood. We really had no choice. I promise it was swift and as painless as possible.
Betty has medicine for her eye and will hopefully be as good as new in a week or so. Fingers crossed.