I love roosters. Well, chickens in general. Before we moved to our neighborhood, we had about 12 chickens, including 2 roosters. One was a bantam (we called him O’Connell) and the other was a mix (we called him Phoenix). He was a beautiful red rooster with a high arching green tail. Simply beautiful.
Since we’re talking chickens (ahem, roosters), let me give you the top 10 awesome things about these fowl:
- When they free range, they can eat many types of pesky insects, even small snakes. They help keep the insect population down which really helps during the summer.
- You can get fresh eggs every day. What’s not to love about that? And, depending on what they eat/forage their yolks can be a bright yellow – sometimes a little orange. Store bought eggs are a bit anemic in color compared to fresh eggs. That signals to me that they are higher in nutrients.
- They have unique personalities all of their own. We had one chicken that would come to us when called. Their pecking order is quite unique. You’ll always be entertained when you watch them. When we let our little flock out in the morning they would run down the hill to my in-laws to see if they had any leftover food outside. Then, they would run back up the hill to the house and meander for the rest of the day.
- Two roosters really is a no-no for a small flock. They fight each other for dominant position in the flock. Phoenix came to us from my in-laws flock. They had too many roosters and Phoenix was the beaten down rooster. However, he was rooster supreme in our flock (hence his name Phoenix). He was given new life in our coop.
- If your chickens free range during the day, they will automatically return to the coop at dusk to roost for the night. It’s pretty cool. Sometimes we’d have a straggler or two that were more like night owls than chickens, but they’d eventually coop up at night with the rest of the flock.
- Roosters have spurs on the back sides of their legs. They can be quite long and dangerous. It’s best to steer clear of their legs, if possible. But, when they’re young handle them often so that they’re used to it when you need to conduct chicken inspections when they’re older.
- They are not all hardy, nor are they smart. In fact, chickens are dumb…for the most part. You might get one or two that are a bit sneaky, but other than that they’re pretty dumb. They fly into dog pens, get caught up in wire, wallow in mud and just get into trouble.
- They’ll lay eggs ANYWHERE. We’ve found them behind our washer/dryer when it was on the back porch. They would lay them under the house, under the hen house, in the tall grass, and one would just lay them as she was walking. I’m. Not. Kidding. We called her Fatty FatFat. It’s best to keep them penned up until later in the day (we learned this the hard way) so that all the eggs are laid in the hen house rather than under the house. We had Easter all year round hunting for eggs.
- Chicks should be kept in a warm environment with a heat lamp right above them so that they stay warm. Their little tail feathers come in and they are so darn cute! Tiny little things. Once they have their true feathers (not downy feathers), you can put them outside in the coop. However, they need to remain separated from the remainder of the flock until they can fend for themselves – maybe a few inches smaller than the rest of the flock. It’s also a good idea to hold them a lot during this time so that they are easier to handle when they are older. Trust me. We’ve learned this the hard way, too. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to chase chickens. Chicken wrangling is NOT easy. Seriously.
- Chickens are cannibals and will eat their young unless they were hatched by their mama. Even then, she could freak out and eat them. Word. We learned all this the hard way. I’m not kidding. And, if there’s a weak one amongst the lot, they could get picked on and pecked on and killed by the others. They’re a heinous lot. Don’t be fooled by their feathers and innocent eyes. There is devilry at work amongst them when there are weak ones.
Okay, now that we’ve discussed all the positive things about roosters and chickens in general, I must say that I do miss them. I enjoyed their craziness and learned so much from them, like:
- It’s good to be nice and not devour the weak. Compassion is a good thing.
- Partying after dark can be dangerous when you’re locked out of the coop. Best to call it a night while there’s still light so you can make it to bed without getting in trouble with the foxes and coyotes.
- Fresh eggs are delicious and allowed us to make so many awesome things like homemade noodles and angel food cake.
- Be free and fly – but be cautious at the same time. Stay out of the dog pen and other dangerous areas.
- Run for your life when in danger. Flee temptation.
- Don’t be stupid as it can cost you your life.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Would love to hear from other chicken wranglers and their adventures!