No, this will not be another longing-for-Hugh Laurie post, despite the headline (although I am wondering where he has gone – has he been in anything since House ended?) Today, my lament is for a strong, silent type (not unlike the CE, actually…) but I need one with feathers. For my hens. They are adrift, and I wish I could have a rooster for them.
The poor ladies have had a tough few weeks. They were locked in a cage at the vet’s for two days during the recent tenting debacle. And they saw their sister (and flock leader) taken down by a coyote. If there was chicken therapy, believe me, I would sign them up. Because for the past several days they have holed themselves up in the coop, refusing to come out until well into morning. Instead of coaxing them into the coop with treats, I’ve been having to ply them with treats just to get them to come out into their pen.
Some of it may be low energy due to molting. By some mysterious stroke of synchrony, all three have simultaneously gone into their fall molt. Everything is covered with feathers!
But I think there is also a leadership issue. With bossy Tulip gone, no one is in charge. We need a) some decisive leadership, and b) some baby chicks and c) flock protection would be nice bonuses. Which leads me directly to d) a rooster. Roosters will go to the mat to protect their hens – there are countless tales of the heroics roosters will perform to save their flocks, often with sad endings for the rooster who fearlessly faces down a hawk, coyote or neighborhood dog.
Roosters are not specifically forbidden in our neighborhood. There are at least a few in residence. And I don’t mind hearing their crows at all; but then I am, as the CE so fondly refers to me, the CCL – Crazy Chicken Lady. Not completely crazy, because I know I can’t ultimately have a rooster. But in the way that some people scour the Internet for Chanel and Lanvin, I’ve been Googling for males – roosters, that is.
But there is a very significant problem with roosters and this is it:
Can you believe that?
But surely there must be some breed that doesn’t belt out bandsaw noise all day and all night, right?
I did a little bit of research. Certain breeds are generally acclaimed to be loud: there seems to be general agreement that Orpingtons, Polish, Araucanas and Dominiques rattle the rafters – and the neighbors – with their crowing.
Breeds that some claim are more subdued include Cochins, Brahmas, Phoenix, Japanese Chabos, Orloffs and Seramas. A pet store near us has a cute little Serama named George in residence, and I have never heard him make a peep. But as soon as someone offers up a breed as being quiet, someone else will claim they had one of the same breed that kept them awake all night with its crowing.
The noise isn’t the only issue. Roosters can be mean. To other chickens and to humans. They can truly inspire fear:
Silkie and Faverolle roosters are considered to be among the more tame varieties, as well as Australorps and Brahmas. But remember, friendly doesn’t necessarily mean quiet.
I know there’s not really a rooster in my future. But I can dream, can’t I? And some folks, possibly crazier than ourselves, have gone to great lengths to find a way to accommodate roosters. On backyardpoultry.com, I found this account:
“My brother lives in Queanbeyan. Every night he puts his rooster into a cat-carrying cage, puts the cage into a Mercedes and parks the Mercedes in the garage, then shuts the door. No rooster noises at all.”
We have a cat cage. We even have a Mercedes. And a garage! Do you think the CE might see this as an option?
If not, there’s always a way out, according to a poster on permies.com:
“The easiest way to silence a rooster is to send him to freezer camp.”
Food for thought…
The Internet is a wonderful thing: I can wind things up here with Hugh Laurie and a chicken! Life is good! Happy weekend!