Getting our new rooster turned into a nightmare. It’s a long story, so I’m writing it in a series. Be warned, there is a fair amount of cursing in this story, as there was in the real-time events as they unfolded. Statements that are italicized are the ongoing conversation and support from my Chicken Network, and have not been edited for spelling, grammar or content.
Here is Part I of…
The Rooster Chronicles
Wednesday, May 4: Tomorrow is the big day, the rooster is arriving! I can’t wait to meet the big fella!
Thursday, May 5: The rooster arrives!
My mom picked the rooster up for us on her way to visit, because his location was about half way between her place and mine, 2 hours from here, and she drove him to the farm. When she picked him up at 2pm, the lady said “he’s been in the box since 9am, and he will desperately need water when you get him there. He will definitely crow a few times during the two hour journey, so don’t be startled.” Mom arrived with Rooster at about 4:30pm and told me what the lady had told her, and also that he had in fact not crowed once the whole time, and she hadn’t heard any movement from him in the last hour. I grabbed the box and carried it to the porch, then went in the house to get a small dish of water. Grace came with me and brought the scissors so we could open the box and put the water in. We carefully cut the tape on one end of the box, and I started to carefully lift the flap, when suddenly…
He EXPLODED out of the box like the devil himself was on his tail feathers! Rooster was off like a shot! He flew clear over the porch and didn’t land until he was halfway across the driveway. He was fast and brave little Grace (who’s five) was immediately chasing him. I yelled to her to stop, because she’d chase him farther away. She did, but it was too late. He shot across the stream and into the far field. I was after him. He is REALLY fast. Like, imagine the way a velociraptor runs, and you have this rooster.
I crossed the stream in my running shoes, sinking to my ankles in mud. I chased him across the field and of course he headed into the thick scruffy bushes, full of thorns. I jogged up and down just keeping tabs on his location. Fuck, fuck, fuck!! What do I do? Think Lindsey, think! I needed help. Rooster wasn’t letting me within 30’ of him, way too far to make a lunge for him, and I couldn’t move quickly enough for that anyway, being that we were in the thick bushes. I needed more people, so we could encircle him. I shouted for my mom to bring me my cell phone. I tried all the neighbours. No one was around to help me. Mom, Grace and I tried to circle him, but it was not working. Finally Gavin got home off the bus, and I sent him running for the neighbor kids to help. All the while I’m running up and down through the bushes, my pants and shirt tearing and the thorns scratching my arms and legs, just to keep his location.
The boys showed up, now I had myself, my mom, a ten-year old, a pair of seven-year olds, and a five-year old. Great Rooster hunting team.
The ten year old was actually really helpful, he was fast and brave and good about getting scratched in the thorn bushes or tripping over rocks. The seven year olds were “ok”, they followed instructions when I told them to flank right or left, they tried really hard, but they were slow over fences and once Gavin got too close to the stream and sank in the mud and lost a shoe and had to be rescued, letting the rooster evade us yet again. FML.
Kyle got home and joined the hunt. He had the “brilliant” idea of fashioning a wire clothes hanger into a hook. “This is how you catch a rooster!” he proclaimed, triumphantly holding up his clothes hanger hook.
He did not catch the rooster.
Later he got a neighbour to help him. They chased the rooster at break-neck speeds (literally break-neck, as in, if he’d fallen down, he’d probably have broken his neck) but they had no luck either. By now the rooster had traveled all over the property on the west side of the house, and we finally gave up after having lost him in the thickest parts of juniper and prickly ash bush.
Total, utter, disappointment.
I was beyond angry with myself. What a rookie mistake! I’m supposed to be The Chicken Lady. I should have NEVER opened even the smallest flap of box until the box was inside the chicken coop! Ugh, I was so upset. Such a disappointment.
I did the only thing I could think of, which was to ask advice on my favourite Chicken Facebook Group…
Me: “We got a new rooster today, and he’d traveled a long way to get here. Anxious to get him some water, I tried to stick a small dish into his box and he exploded out of it, and ran away! I know it was a huge rookie mistake and I feel awful. We’ve chased him all over the effing farm and I’m ripped apart from hunting through the thicket of thorns. I don’t know what else to do. We can’t get within 30′ of him and it’s all heavy brush so we can’t even move around easily to try and surround him. Will he smell his way to the hens? Is there anything I can do?”
I got a lot of responses from people trying to help:
~ Keep tabs on his location and when it gets dark you will be able to walk up and pick him up.
Me: We can’t see him, he’s in 100′ wide of juniper and thorn bushes.
~ Ooh. Tough spot. You may have to wait until Tomorrow then when he wants to leave that spot.
Me: Will he be attracted to the hens?
~ If he can hear them … Yes! He will start to look for friends if he can hear them.
~ Happen to me one time…I put hen in a pen and sat her close to where he had run. I then moved away but sat close enough to observe. He eventually came over and as it got dark he roosted on top of the cage. when he went to sleep I went over and picked him up. Be patient.
~ Any new rooster I’ve ever gotten does this. Just leave him be, once he figures out where the ladies are, he’ll hang with them.
~ Try and keep a eye on him till dusk. He will be going to roost somewhere. Hopefully it won’t be to high up. Then after about 10 minutes of him roosting, you’ll be able to get him when he’s sleeping. They are kinda in a trance. Good luck.
~ I’ve put hens in a dog crate near a rooster’s location, then just waited. That should at least get him to where you can see him.
~ I put my hens inside their coop, and left the run door open. The rooster was in the run within 20 minutes
~ I had the same but with a hen. As dark fell she made her way to the chicken coops and I was able to pick her up off of a limb.
~ I like the idea of the crate with some hens near him, it may draw him out, and maybe he’ll end up sitting on the crate at nite and you can grab him! Good luck !
~ grab him in the dark is great if he isn’t roosting too high
~ I like the suggestion of the crate full of hens. He’ll just roost on top prolly
~ Keep a close eye on him & wait till dark. You’ll be able to sneak right up on him & get it.
My hopes were higher after all these responses! Ok, it’s easy enough, I just have to figure out where the EFF he is right now, and wait until dark, and then go grab him while he’s sleeping/in a trance. Trance sounds good. I prefer my velocirapt- er, I mean, roosters, to be in trances.
So as dusk fell I got back out there and searched and searched through the bushes and trees. Looking up in the trees and in the lower scruffy brush. I climbed fences and crossed streams and tripped over rocks. Finally Kyle came to me and said, “Honey, that rooster is gone.” It was full dark by then, and I had a better chance of tripping in the scruff and breaking a leg than of finding a sleeping, entranced rooster in the night.
That was it. Coyote food.
To be continued…
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