A few weeks ago I passed the chicken coup while walking out to feed the horses. It was a mild evening and the air was fresh and calm until a ruckus suddenly broke the serenity of the moment. On the back side of the chicken coup I heard Nancy yelling in anger saying things like, “If you want a piece of me big boy come and get it!!!” Frankly it was alarming until I realized she was yelling at Theodore the rooster who had attacked her for the third time that week. He used to be such a sweet rooster, but in recent months had started listening and responding to the voice of his bad angel who must have been telling him to get in touch with his testosterone.
As you may remember, Theodore was an orphaned rooster that had found me one day while I was collecting rocks out in the middle of nowhere. He was mysteriously sitting under a bush half starved when I first spotted him and he immediately came to me for rescue when I stretched my hand in his direction. He literally jumped into my arms. (See Entry #91 – June 9th, 2009 – “Our new mystery friend”) I brought him home and Nancy, being who she is made a special place for him to recuperate. She had lovingly cared for him and protected him from the other chickens until he was finally strong enough to hold his own. For months he was docile and friendly letting anyone pick him up and lovingly hold him in their arms. It took awhile for us to even figure out what kind of a bird he was much less his sex. He was always different than the other chickens and for a long time unaccepted, especially by the older rooster.
Early one morning I approached the coup before daylight with the feed bucket, and as I cracked opened the door I heard an adolescent sounding crow. As I turned on the light I spotted Theodore sitting on a high perch looking somehow different. I think the noise that came out of him was as surprising to him as it was to me. From that day on he started to change. He had gotten in touch with his masculinity and within weeks was choosing off the older dominate rooster. Actually it was kind of sad. Not only had we lost our sweet little pet, but our older rooster who had taken his job running the roost with dignity was overpowered by Theodore’s new aggressive urges. Theodore was now the king of the harem and it soon went to his head. Unlike the older rooster (who eventually died of a broken spirit) Theodore could fly. He could fly not only to the top of the coup fence (his new found place of superiority), but over the fence where he was not afraid to challenge dogs, cats, innocent children and to his demise, Nancy and I.
Even Lily our Labrador became intimidated by him and our granddaughter Hope started to arm herself with sticks and garden tools when walking across the barnyard. One day Theodore even chased a thirty year old friend of our son Brook into the back of his pickup truck. He was trembling in fear while avoiding the macho young rooster’s aggressiveness (at least that’s how Brook and his other buddies related the story to me.) That’s when Nancy had enough. Theodore was either going into the stew pot or going to receive some serious therapy.
Nancy soon learned that fighting fire with fire only made the problem worse. For example, kicking and hitting him over the head with a feed bucket in response to his spurring charges only seemed to make him meaner, feeling justified for his sneaky stealth attacks. Theodore always attacked when you least expected it. Not knowing where else to go for help Nancy finally resorted to the internet. As amazing as it seemed to me she actually discovered an article on taming mean roosters. It had been written by an old farmer who evidently had had the same dilemma. Anyway, for the past two weeks she has been catching Theodore any time he even gets that sly devious look in his eyes. She holds him tight in her arms and taking her index finger presses down his beak into his chest holding him in submission for up to ten minutes at a time. I don’t know if it will work, but it’s her best effort to save him from sure death and her from the trauma of losing her cool and ringing his poor little rooster neck in a fit of unladylike rage.
The following is a great article on taming mean roosters:http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070503071406AAJC8T1