It’s Getting Harder to Sleep In Around Here

Guest Post By Michelle Mather

Ever since we acquired our 4 chickens last May, friends have been asking us if we planned on getting a rooster. I’ve read both pros and cons to having a rooster as part of a flock, but I was undecided on whether or not we should add one.

Then people began offering roosters to us. First our friend Robert, who has chickens of his own and has been an immense help in providing advice to us, offered his rooster to us. His rooster is a bit aggressive and Robert’s wife isn’t too fond of having to fight him off when she attempts to gather the eggs. I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be able to handle an aggressive rooster. Then one of my neighbours called one day and during our conversation she offered to sell us one of her Ameraucana roosters. Again, I was undecided.

On Sunday, my neighbour Alyce called. You will recognize her name from so many other blog posts, as she and her husband Ken have played such huge roles in our life here at Sunflower Farm. Alyce has let us enjoy her horses and cows in our paddock from time to time, and the manure from her horses has done wonders in improving our soil quality! We even dedicated our book “Little House Off the Grid,” to them, to acknowledge just how grateful we are for their friendship.

Alyce had dropped off some of her Highland cattle to a farm on Saturday and the folks who bought her cows offered her a rooster. He had been one of three roosters, but the other two had been picking on him and so they’d had to separate him and he was living in a cage while he recuperated from his injuries. Alyce brought him home and then called to ask me if I wanted him. She was happy to keep him, but thought he might enjoy becoming part of my flock.

I went over to take a look at him. He is gorgeous and didn’t seem at all aggressive. He’s not a large rooster, which was also a bonus since he was going to have to be able to fit into our existing coop with our 4 ladies. There are plans to expand our coop and add to our flock, but it hasn’t happened yet and so it’s a good thing he’s small enough to fit in with the others!

I brought him home in his cage and placed the cage into the chicken pen. He began crowing and the “ladies” were freaked out! I’ve never seen our chickens show fear of anything. They aren’t afraid of our cats, our dog, the lawnmower or the rototiller. But they ran off and huddled in the corner when I put this rooster into the pen.

I kept an eye on him and put my hand into the cage just to ensure that he wasn’t aggressive. I let him out of the cage and stayed in the pen, just in case he showed any inclination to hurt the chickens. Instead he got out of his slightly cramped cage and he flapped his wings and crowed! The chickens kept their distance from him for the rest of the afternoon. He seemed to relish his freedom and eventually took the longest, most luxurious dust bath I’ve ever witnessed!

I was worried about how they would all handle “bed time.” Normally at dusk the four ladies head into the coop and Cam or I go out and lock them up for the night. On Sunday night the rooster was the first to head into the coop. The ladies seem to stand at the bottom of the ramp, considering their options but eventually they headed in. When I went out to lock them up the four girls were in their usual spots on the roost and he was up on the shelf above the nesting boxes.

On Monday morning Cam headed out bright and early to let them out. The girls were lined up at the door waiting for Cam but the rooster was at the window. When he came out he began to crow and he crowed and crowed and crowed! Needless to say I wasn’t able to enjoy my usual “sleep in” and I was “up with the chickens.”

We have named him Colonel, in honour of my late father. No, my father wasn’t in the military, his given name was “Colonel Lorne Archer” but he preferred to go by the name “Lorne.” I would like to think that my father would be happy to have such a handsome and protective rooster named after him!

The ladies are completely comfortable with Colonel now. In fact I was just outside trying to give him some grapes and the ladies were stealing his grapes from him. His previous owner Eveline told me that grapes are one of his favourite treats and so I ran out and bought him some yesterday. Can you tell that Colonel is going to be spoiled?

6 Responses to “It’s Getting Harder to Sleep In Around Here”

  • Nice looking rooster! Alas…our rooster Flounder has become far, far, far too aggressive to my wife and daughters over the last few months, and they simply don’t feel safe visiting the hens anymore to collect eggs. So…this weekend we are having roast chicken.

  • Eveline:

    After reading about my ol’pet “kitchen” rooster, I may start blogging myself. The colonel no relation to Saunders, lived in my kitchen for 2.5 months while recovering from a beating from a rival rooster- he was just not destined for the soup pot. \During that time, we had no need of an alarm clock as he was up bright and early begging for his grapes. We are happy he is now in a good place with a flock or harem of his own to brag about. Will look forward to hearing more … ciao for now!-Eveline

  • He’s fitting in quite nicely and already being protective of the ladies!

  • Cathy:

    It’s aboot time. I was beginning to think Cam was anti-guy or just wanting to be the King of your roost, living in a house full of girls, having a harum of hens etc. Roosters are under rated and maligned too much. They are not just drone bee’s doing nothing except waiting for a one time shot at the queen. Yes, they are handsome and like to strut their stuff they have a purpose and have a job to do. Being the same size of your hens means less cost to feed too. He will protect his ladies, and be a good father to those chicks you don’t find in the hay bales if you let your hen do what she is called to do when broody. When I hear my rooster at the crack of dawn, I think that my hens are safe and no preditor will take a crack at them or the chicks.

  • I’m sure he will be spoiled. The best thing about a rooster is he watches and warns the girls when something doesn’t look right. This has saved my girls from the talons of many a predator. You will notice that he will find food and call them over to eat it. I love having a rooster although mine is a bantam with my big girls he does the job of a big rooster minus the fertile egg part.

  • greelyrita:

    Holy Crow, (ha ha) what a lovely rooster!!!

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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