Guest post by Sherie Bradley
We finally had our own place….with acreage! I couldn’t wait to get some chickens. There was a shed in the backyard that my husband had dreams for, but I was secretly making plans to turn it into a super coop. I already had my ducklings growing like weeds at my mom’s property and now we needed to get some chickens to complete the picture. I love birds of all kinds. People don’t think of birds as pets because they don’t see them as cute or cuddly. I don’t necessarily cuddle my chickens, although my children love to, I do love how they all have such unique personalities. They are quirky, silly, and inventive. I could sit for hours on my back deck watching my birds scratch, peck and run around.
So one day I was on Facebook and found a lady not too far from us that was advertising some Brahma pullets. I LOVE the Brahmas; they are so regal and magnificent looking in my eyes. Anyway, I messaged her and we set up a meeting place. When we got there, we bought 2 Buff Brahma pullets and a La Chantecler pullet. I hadn’t ever heard of that breed but I thought she was pretty and looked very similar to a Buff Orpington, another breed I like, so we decided to take her as well. Being somewhat inexperienced, I didn’t think to ask how she knew they were pullets or if she had a return policy. We got our babies home, got them set up in an old water tank in our kitchen with a heat lamp … am I the only one who raises chicks in their kitchen??
Watching them mill around and peck at the shavings I was thinking to myself that we were off to a great start!! Fast forward a couple of months and it was warm enough to move them outside. A few days later I noticed one of the Brahma’s started crowing….okay so now we have two hens and a rooster. That’s fine, we can handle that. Then one very sad night, our birds got out of the doghouse they were sleeping in and an owl got both of our Brahmas. All that was left was my poor little La Chantacler pullet. So my mom offered me two of her older Barred Rock hens to keep her company until we could get some more pullets. My daughter loved this little pullet and because she was a French Canadian breed, we decided to name her Fifi.
Fast forward to April in Colorado; things are blooming and the weather is finally getting warmer. I have more pullets in my kitchen. This time I got some Americaunas and some Light Brahmas. They would eventually mature to be beautiful black and white hens, and my two brown Americaunas are just as pretty but more on the petite side. Outside we have finally converted my husband’s dream shed to my super coop. (told ya I would get my way), and the two Barred Rocks, who we call both Henny Penny because we can’t tell them apart, are living with Fifi. Everyone is getting along beautifully and my mom will soon be bringing my beloved ducks over to add to our flock. One morning, I am walking out to the shed to let the girls out when I hear the unmistakable crow of a rooster. At first, I stop and start looking at my neighbor’s house.
I know they have chickens too and that must be their rooster. I let my girls out and start cleaning the water pans, spreading the scratch on the ground, etc. I walk over towards the gate and Fifi comes running to me. Actually when I think back on it, he….yes I said he….wasn’t running TO me but AT me. He took a flying leap at my leg and started his little feather dance around my feet. Well, I’ll be darned…you aren’t a hen, you’re a rooster!!!
Well, now I guess I will have a rooster after all. However, we decided to continue calling him Fifi just because we are used to that now. Things are going well, he crows almost constantly but he learnt not to dance at my feet or jump at my legs after much chasing around the yard and coddling him in our arms. Life is good and we are enjoying our birds. Did I mention my daughter has an irrational fear of roosters?
My daughter was attacked once by my mom’s Bantam rooster. There weren’t any injuries, except maybe a mild scratch on her leg but he ended up cornering her outside my mom’s barn one day and we heard her dramatic screams all the way at the house. When we got to the barn she was standing on top of a spool and Sparks, the rooster was doing his little dance around the bottom of the spool. We held in our laughter, rescued her and soothed her fears, but she has been terrified of roosters ever since. Fifi turned out to be no different, and I swear that bird knew it!!! Every time my daughter went outside, Fifi would come running for the fence at the sight of her or just hearing her voice.
Before we separated the chicken yard from our backyard, my chickens would come and peck at my sliding glass door as if they were asking to come in. When my daughter would get home, she would sit at the dining room table to do homework and Fifi would come running to the deck, and start pecking at that back door just waiting to get a piece of her. Whoever said chickens are dumb animals has never met Fifi. He could zero in on my daughter regardless of where she was located outside, so we ended up having to fence in the chickens and not let them free range just so she could feel comfortable outside.
We tried everything we could think of to get those two used to each other. We would catch him and make her hold him; have her pet him, feed him treats but nothing ever worked. He wouldn’t actually try to attack her or anything very often but he always came running and she would run from him. I think the funniest thing though is how that bird knew when she was at that table in the dining room and he would get on the deck and stay there until she was no longer at the table. I even tried telling her maybe he just loved her so much he wanted to be with her, but she wouldn’t believe me.
So we ended up finding Fifi a great home with someone who just adored him. This gentleman actually cradled Fifi in his arms when he picked him up and cooed to him like a baby. Fifi then rode in the front seat of his truck for the 10 minute drive to his home and now has another flock of hens to watch over. We thought we were rooster-less until I decided to add some Bantams to our flock and we now have two up and coming roosters!! I think we will try to find great homes for them and we are considering getting her a bantam Cochin rooster she can hand raise and hopefully get her past this because, although roosters aren’t necessary, I would really like to have one with my hens. I’ve also found from experience that the Cochin roosters tend to be very mild and sweet-tempered. I know my male Ancona duck, King Henry, would probably disagree with me though.
What rooster stories do you have to share? I would love to hear them!!