Roosters can bond with each other as buddies and enjoy spending time together.
Cedric and Sebastian are two of Roostersong Sanctuary’s longtime residents. They were adopted from the Marin Humane Society in 2006 and recently celebrated their 8th Hatch-day! Originally from a larger group of socialized mixed-gender birds, they decided to become best buddies shortly after arriving at Roostersong.
Socializing new chickens into an existing flock is possible if one has patience and takes the time to observe the interaction between birds. Chickens develop complex social groups and use their own basic form of logical reasoning to understand where they might fit into a flock’s hierarchy. Roosters may buddy-up to gain a higher ranking within the flock. These rooster teams might choose to mate with hens when the opportunity presents itself but will mainly keep company with each other.
Cedric and Sebastian partake in daily chicken activities with the general flock but also go off on their own to forage for food. They take dirt baths together, protect each other and have their own special coop in the Chicken Resort. Both have mellowed with age and have sweet, quirky personalities. It is a sad truth that most animals are youngsters when they are slaughtered. We rarely have the benefit of knowing them as seasoned adults and lose out on experiencing their unique elder-wisdom which can only come with years lived.
Cedric eyes his Hatch-day snack dispenser wondering why there is a picture of a dog on his box!
Feathered proprietors of the famous “Buk Buk” Bed and Breakfast Inn at Roostersong Sanctuary where meals are always a delicious vegetarian fare.
-Singing Luna 9/27/2014
Seed for thought: Consider adopting a rooster from your local shelter or Humane Society!
Before makeover: This handmade shed was repurposed into a coop by adding a small chicken-size door.
Time to spruce up the old coop! This ex-shed came with a large walk-in door which made it easy for cleaning and a window covered with chicken wire which works great for ventilation. The smaller door was added later to make it chicken friendly. Both doors can be shut and secured against any predators when necessary. The exterior paint was two years old and starting to crack from the weather so it needed some updating. I started the project by hosing and scrubbing down the exterior of the coop with water and letting it air-dry during a warm afternoon. I decided to give it a cheerful tropical-style makeover…
After makeover: A fresh coat of paint, colorful accents and a few decorative elements can transform an ordinary chicken house!
I started painting with a warm ivory base color using a brush (a roller probably would have been faster but I enjoy the process of brush painting). You can often find small cans of quality paint for free at the local paint recycling center and sometimes paint stores will sell their customer-reject colors at reduced prices. I began layering swashes of color over the ivory by giving broad strokes of lemon yellow, magenta, and cornflower blue. The lime green was acrylic craft paint (also found at the recycling center). I used a dry brush technique to pick up the weathered texture of the wood….
Decorative elements add a whimsical accent to the coop.
This cut-metal gecko was purchased at a discount variety store (it was cheap even though it was handmade and fair trade!). You can find interesting art pieces to decorate your coop at thrift stores and yard sales. I’ve found some interesting items left on the sidewalk with “free” signs attached. Even ordinary things such as tools, colorful kitchen decor, recycled shingles or children’s toys can be painted and attached to your coop exterior to give it added personality.
Chicken safety note: Always make sure any decor you use is securely attached so it can’t fall on anyone (chickens). I generally place elements high enough on the coop where they can’t be pecked or become a hazard. Use lead-free, water base paint and have your chickens entertain themselves in another part of the yard while working with any open cans of paint and wet surfaces (I distracted mine by giving them a little tropical party with leftover fruit and greens!).
-Singing Luna 3/1/2014
Seed for Thought: What are some simple improvements you can make on your coop?
Annabella arrived at Roostersong Sanctuary in December 2008 with her four sisters.
Annabella was one of five factory farm hens adopted from the Humane Society in December of 2008. When I first brought the girls home to Roostersong Sanctuary they were a bedraggled bunch with patches of bare skin, scabbed combs and missing tails. I could not imagine what they must have been through before their rescue. Although they received good veterinary care before I adopted them they continued to have health issues related to their stressful early lives and one by one I lost four to reproductive organ failure (a common ailment with factory raised hens). The fifth hen, Annabella seemed determined to survive and she thrived with a vibrancy that was truly inspiring. Annabella loved to run and fly and I enjoyed witnessing her exuberance (she had a strange skipping motion when she ran due to her years of living crammed into a battery cage). It took a few years before she was comfortable being touched and I was so honored when she finally allowed me to hold her and stroke her feathers! She lived long enough to become friends with my recent factory rescue hens and in the evening they would be roosting together side by side in the coop. I have known and lost many birds over the years but this one did not make me sad. She had five extra years under our care and she lived them to the fullest. During her time with us I watched her blossom and gain trust. She taught me a lot about the resilience of the spirit and of finding the courage to rise above the limitations that are initially given us.
Annabella, fully feathered, enjoying the spring grass in 2009.
-Singing Luna 1/12/2013
Seed for thought: What is your earliest memory of feeling compassion toward someone?
Roosters are valuable guardians of the flock and will courageously keep predators away.
Chickens enjoy social interaction much like humans. Roosters contribute to an important natural social structure in the flock and perform certain “duties” which they take very seriously. Roosters will keep an instinctual eye out for predators and make a distinctive alarm call when danger is near. Contrary to the stereotype, they are also quite courageous in confronting creatures much larger and stronger than themselves to protect their flock. I have observed roosters escorting hens around the yard, finding food for them and partaking in communal dust baths. I have also noticed that a rooster will “attend” a hen when she goes into the nest to lay an egg. I am not exactly sure what transpires during this quiet interaction between the two, but he will stand attentively alongside the nest until the egg is laid. When the egg arrives he will jubilantly announce the event followed by the entire flock joining in the chorus.
Roosters have a certain call they give to tell hens that they have found food. Often they will stand aside and act as a look-out while the hen eats.
Roosters will keep a hen company while she is laying her egg.
-Singing Luna 12/10/2013
Seed for Thought: What valuable rooster behaviors have you observed in your flock?