Posts tagged rooster attack

Poor Roo is Dead

Poor Roo is dead

Poor Rooster Roo is dead

Gather ’round his stew pot now and cry.

He wasn’t very old

But he had NO heart of gold

That’s why such a fella had to die.

Roo - between crows

Roo – between crows

Yes, it is true. We put Roo out of our misery last Sunday. FM and I have spent about three months discussing his antics, observing his behaviour and trying to reason with him before we finally decided that he was unmanageable. We read endless articles and blogs about mean roosters and we both found solace in one that claimed “Life is too short to keep a nasty rooster”.

Roo was a heritage breed Chantecler, hatched at a local farm which specialized in a few heritage varieties. Looking back, we think that this flock had been so inbred over the years that negative characteristics were amplified. Funnily enough, we haven’t seen any bad temperament among his three sisters – although Croque Madame’s death could have been a result of heredity.

I explained his neurotic symptoms in a previous post but now those descriptions of his aggression seem tame. On any given Saturday, we would head outside early with a long list of chores but, soon enough, FM and I would both be back inside the house, trying to escape his endless crowing. And his attacks became truly dangerous. He would fly at us, claws first, over and over again for no apparent reason. I became quite a master at catching him mid-air and then holding him on my lap as a time-out. This would calm him down and he would usually drift off to sleep in my arms but the lesson never stuck. Mere minutes after being released, he would be back at it again. FM became highly attuned to the sound of Roo’s feet racing towards him as he mounted an attack from behind.

I was especially upset to hear that he even attacked Ginny when she was doing us the favour of collecting eggs and refilling water while we were away last weekend for Thanksgiving. This was a sign that his aggressive behaviour was universal, not just against us, his captors.

We were considering catching Roo and taking him to the local butcher for processing. I didn’t think that I could take part or be witness to his death. But then I read an article by Erica at Northwest Edible Life (an amazing blog, BTW) that changed my tune. This is the meat of her article:

[They are] Your chickens, your adoption, your decision, your responsibility to see it through to the end. You do not get to embrace the idea of a more intimate relationship with your food chain and then make that food chain – the food chain you specifically set up – someone else’s problem when shit gets real.

I suddenly realised that, by being a chicken farmer and reaping the rewards of our hens, we had to take real responsibility for our chickens when it was time for them to be dispatched.

And so, while awash in tears, I caught and held Roo, helped FM place a milk-jug cone over his head and held him tightly upside-down as FM slit his jugular. It wasn’t pretty and we definitely have room for improvement in our slaughtering technique (thanks youtube!), but we did it. Although I participated in all of it, FM did the work – slitting, chopping and gutting – while I blubbered away.

And, since you asked, Yes, we will eat him. Why wouldn’t we? He was fed the best feed around, got plenty of outdoor time and breathed fresh air. And despite his nasty disposition, he was loved. Would you like to come over for a fabulous Coq Au Vin on Saturday?

Poor Roo is dead

Poor Rooster Roo is dead

We can still hear his crowing loud and clear

The chickies in the coop

Will miss that clumsy goof

But his attacks will no longer bring us fear.

Roo in the foreground

Roo in the foreground

Roo – a hideous molt!

Roo - ever curious and helpful!

Roo – ever curious and helpful!

Here he is, mid-crow, as Chip and I have our morning chat over coffee.

Here he is, mid-crow, interrupting my morning chat with Chip over coffee. (Yes I do have a Chip on my shoulder!)

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That’s One Unruly Cock

Two months have passed since I posted the video of our rooster’s first cute attempts at crowing. During those two months, we have had our share of listening to him crow and we no longer think it is cute or funny or anything like that. In fact, very little about him is endearing in any way at all.

Ever aware of our movements and actions, this beady-eyed little demon may have his days numbered.

Ever aware of our movements and actions, this beady-eyed little demon may have his days numbered.

Last month while the hydro company was clearing the branches with a power saw near the hydro wires on our street, Roo crowed incessantly for nine hours, three days in a row. He crowed even after his crow cracked and he began to lose his voice. He crowed so much that he would drop off into an exhausted sleep in between crowing sessions.

Soon after that, we discovered that he crows in response to the whirr of power tools. If you use the power drill once, he will crow about 7 times in response. If he hears the chainsaw, the circular saw, the tractor or any other machinery, he crows. Unfortunately, these are the sounds of the Queendom (and our entire neighbourhood) – especially on weekends. We now gladly don our hearing protection whenever we undertake a project!

If we thought that the crowing was a bother, then we were in for a surprise when the attacks began. A few weekends ago, FM had the planer out and spent a couple of hours preparing boards for the next great project. Roo, of course, crowed in response to the noise and came closer and closer to watch. Soon enough, Roo was hurling himself, claws first, at FM over and over. His head would lower in a downward dog position, his wings would drop to the ground and his white cape would flare out just before he would launch. FM deflected the attacks with the planed board but had to keep one eye on Roo for the rest of the day.

This initial series of attacks has now become a regular occurrence. Roo has decided that FM is a constant threat and moves to attack him often when FM goes near the shop door. One morning, while retrieving his bike to begin his commute to work, FM found Roo stalking him and once again had to deflect the attack with the bicycle. Although I am not yet on Roo’s enemy list, he has attacked me twice, but both were related to food distribution so I discount them.

I have done some reading about rooster behaviour. One theory says that there is an alpha-rooster in every flock and regular battles occur in order to establish the alpha. Roo’s behaviour shows that he sees FM as a rival and is initiating pecking order battles with him. Advice points to keeping Roo lower on the scale through a few behaviour modifications to establish the alpha:

  • don’t let Roo mate with the hens in your presence, since a lower rooster would not have this privilege in a flock. We now have a water spray bottle at hand whenever we are outside with them
  • respond to his attacks with assertiveness. FM now chases Roo all over the yard when he shows aggression
  • isolate him from his hens. We have done this once or twice in the new chicken run but that means that the hens don’t have access to their nesting boxes and we don’t want them to choose new places to lay

FM is chasing Roo around to let him know who is the Queendom’s alpha cock on the block

In order to get any projects done, we have taken to locking Roo up in the chicken run with the hens but that doesn’t prevent the sound of crowing from boring into our heads and making us crave a little stewed chicken for dinner. ‘Cock on the Chopping Block’ may be the title of a future instalment.

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