September 17, 2015

Lost & Found - One Rooster

I'm a big one for routine when it comes to our animals. We try to work out a routine that accommodates both us and our animals and then stick to it. When they know what to expect, things go so much more smoothly. One thing that seems to be a challenge for our chickens, however, is when we change their free range area.

The green stars are where the chicken gates are located.

We have two chicken gates in the chicken yard, one leading to the front pasture, and one allowing them back into the doe pasture. Every couple of months we alternate where the chickens are allowed, but for some reason, they've never caught on to this. It takes many weeks for them to catch on to which gate is open, especially if they have established some favored egg-laying spot. A few of the persistent ones never catch on. These insist on making it into the "off" area, and then get into a dither about trying to get back to the coop at night.

The other day this happened to one of our two roosters. He somehow managed to get into the buck pasture, currently being used by the pigs and off-limits to the chickens. At dusk, he and one of the Buff Orpington hens were in that pasture, running frantically back and forth along the fence nearest the chicken coop. Now, the most obvious solution would seem to be simply open the gate and let them out. However, with pigs in one pasture and piglets-in-weaning and goats in the other, this isn't so simple. Opening the gate means every critter rushing to get through it to where we don't want them. That meant everybody had to be lured away from the gate and distracted long enough for the chickens to go through.

Our two Black Australorp roosters

It took Dan and me several minutes to accomplish this (feed being the distraction), and then we set about trying to tend to those fretting chickens. The hen ran right through the gate, but the rooster absolutely was not going to go through it. It didn't matter how wide open the gate was or how we tried to herd him through it, he instead ran right by it a number of times. Apparently our wanting him to run through it was reason enough in his chicken brain to not do it! Once the distraction was consumed, all the critters made a beeline for the gate. It was getting dark, so we had to give up.

The next morning the rooster was gone. Dan looked all over for his remains, but never found anything. After getting rid of the first skunk another showed up, so there was that to worry about, plus we have owls, opossums, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and hawks. I looked for him to show up all that day, but he never did. Not that we need two roosters, but it was still a shame to lose him that way. Oh well, life goes on.

The next afternoon there was a knock at the front door. It was a neighbor from across the street. "Have you lost a black rooster?" he asked. "It's next to my house hiding in the bushes. It's almost gotten hit by a car twice."

Needless to say, I was surprised! I thought that rooster was a goner! With my neighbor's help we were able to herd said rooster back across the street and toward the chicken coop.


How he managed to get from the back of our property to across the street while bypassing the chicken yard is a puzzle. How he managed to survive those two nights is another. It's nice to know he didn't have an unfortunate demise. All's well that end's well, I'd say.

40 comments:

  1. Good news indeed. Yup, we have discovered that our new rooster has a mind of his own, only being otherwise swayed by the noise of feed being rattled in a feel bowl...

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    1. And their minds always run in the opposite direction, LOL

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  2. Of all times for a rooster to not crow and make his presence known!

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    1. So true! I couldn't believe there wasn't a peep out of him the nearly two days he was across the street.

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  3. Animals (and kids!) . . . enough to drive you bonkers. Our "new" little banty rooster crowed all night long last night (why?) but all seems well with the chickens this morning. Glad your neighbor alerted you to your rooster's where-a-bouts!

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    1. All night long! I would have been ready to strangle him. Not really, but he must have had a lot to say about his situation!

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  4. Never having had a rooster, but plenty of experience chasing chickens, I know what that must have looked like. Might I suggest a large butterfly net? Maybe a big red bullfighting cape? Oh, the entertainment of it all...

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    1. So true. And every time something like this happens, I go price fishing nets at Walmart. But then I look at the price and say I'll get it later. Later better get here soon!

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  5. You never know what goes on in that little chicken brain he has. Maybe the grass was greener over there......

    Fern

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    1. That saying is so descriptive of all our farm critters. Now we know where it came from!

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  6. That little brain doesn't seem to be working on that particular rooster. Glad he was found safe.

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    1. I'll bet the first to admit that chickens would make pretty dumb humans. But they know their chicken business. That said, it would seem that the least thing he'd want to do is go home!

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  7. Is there any way to keep one area as their free range route? Mine hate change (unless it's something to eat).

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    1. It would certainly be easier. But we're getting ready to do some fall pasture seeding, which means we have to keep the chickens out or they'll eat all the seed. I'm thinking we need to change the gating system. Just have to figure out how.

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  8. The reports of his death are greatly exaggerated!

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    1. So it would seem! I'm glad we didn't lose him to a predator. That would not be a very pleasant way to die.

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  9. My chickens always, without fail, will manage to get in where I do not want them! Their wing feathers seem to grow back super fast. Glad your rooster was OK.

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    1. I've had a few manage to make it over fences in spite of wing clips. They squawk the entire time, but somehow they manage limping flying to get where they want to go.

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  10. Leigh,

    Makes you wonder what was going on with that rooster?

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  11. They don't call them bird brains for nothing. lol

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  12. We had that happen to one of our roosters as well. We realized he was missing when we locked up at night and we searched for him until it was too dark to see. We chalked him up as a goner. The next morning we woke to hear him crowing. He was in our neighbor's backyard. We don't know where he hid, but it must have been a good spot!

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    1. It's always a relief that they find a good spot!

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  13. This is why I call myself a "goatherd" but a "hen wrangler"!

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    1. LOL. Chickens definitely cannot be herded and definitely take some wrangling!

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  14. Good news for Mr. Rooster I would say! Nancy

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  15. Glad your rooster made it home safely!

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    1. It was a very nice surprise to discover he'd made it. Losing one to predators likely means losing more, so I'm glad it wasn't that.

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  16. Very glad this story has a happy ending. I assume a Rooster brain is about the size of a pea???

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  17. Why did the Rooster cross the road? no one knows and he ain't talkin. ;)

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    1. groan When my kids were little we had ongoing chicken crossing the road jokes. I could have used that one then, LOL

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  18. Good for your rooster! They do seem to get around to the oddest places. I miscounted once a few weeks ago and shut two hens out of the run and coop one night. I didn't see them when I left for work, but De found them on the front patio all in a tizzy when she came out to let them out of the the coop into the run. Oops!!

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    1. And they never seem to learn! Glad nothing happened to yours except an upsetting experience.

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  19. Poor thing! I'm glad he made it back home. I hope he stays there.

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  20. It must be an adventure having so many animals and having them running around. I suppose chickens are good at coming home to roost, generally, he must have gotten all turned around.

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    1. He must have, because the coop is so much closer than the neighbor's bushes!

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