Friday, July 18, 2008

In Critter Farm Rooster News...

Roopert, the Silver Laced WyandottePip, the White-Crested Black Polish

After just five months of being a chicken mom, here are some things that I can personally attest to:

1) Roosters crow very loudly.
2) Every rooster has a unique crow. Like our individual voices, each rooster sounds different.
3) Roosters generally like to be the only rooster in the flock.
4) In flocks where there are two roosters, one of them is going to be the dominant one. They aren't going to share the job.
5) The dominant rooster will randomly, and for no particular reason, beat up on the less-dominant roo.
6) The dominant rooster may even try to run the less-dominant roo completely out of town. Really.
7) Sometimes hard decisions have to be made.

Regarding Point #1 (roosters crow very loudly), you already knew this, didn't you?

I, personally, was in serious denial about it. I thought it would be cute. Still do, actually. However, my husband didn't and doesn't. After explaining, in a previous post, the no-rooster PROMISE that I made (and then wickedly broke) to my husband, I thought I should let you know that we (my Jim and I) have come up with a compromise-slash-routine that seems to be working for us. The result is I get to keep my roosters (for now) and Jim isn't woken up by Roopert at o'dark thirty every morning.

Our evening routine now goes something like this:

8:15PM - 8:30PM - The chickens run back into the coop and begin their nightly rowdy roosting ritual.
8:35PM - The bickering begins to subside and the chickens finally agree on who should be where.
8:45PM - I sneak into the coop and scoop Roopert up into my arms. He used to fuss at me, but now he's getting used to the nighttime journey.
8:50PM - Roopert is placed in his big dog crate for the night.
8:51PM - After a quick story and a kiss on the head, I say goodnight to Roopert and punch the button closing the electric garage door.

Every morning now goes something like this:

Jim can't hear Roopert in the garage and Roopert can crow as early in the morning as he wants to. Roopert comes out once the rest of the household is awake. Everyone's happy. Right?

Regarding Point #2 (every rooster has a unique crow), Pip, our second rooster, is allowed to remain in the coop overnight, because his crow is much quieter. He has not, up until now, disturbed anyone's early morning ability to sleep:

Point #3 (or, roosters generally like to be the only rooster in the flock) is made clear just by watching Roopert. That's him inside the tub:

Roop's very much the ladies' man and is at his best surrounded by his girls. On a good day, he ignores Pip following him around like his shadow, mimicking his every big boy move. On a bad day, he's nasty-evil to Pip.

To Points #4, #5 and #6 (the role dominance - or lack thereof - plays in getting beaten up, run out of town, etc.), well....poor Pip. He came in second in the dominance race:

Imagine never knowing when you're going to be walloped up side the head by this big guy:

This situation is more difficult to solve than the crowing was and I fear a relocation may well be in Pip's future. He recently spent the whole night outside -in the open- because our entire family couldn't locate him after Roopert ran him off. We thought he was a goner. But, early the next morning, there he was, crowing away from the middle of a blackberry patch, almost like he was asking to come back home.

Pip is such a funny bird...he definitely adds an interesting dynamic to the group:

But no matter how mighty he tries to make himself:

He's still the low man on the totem pole:

And so, Point #7 (the difficult decision) is still in the air. Will the garage crate solution work for us, and Roopert, long term? Will Pip and Roopert be able to work out a peace between them?

We shall see.


  1. Aww, poor Pip. Maybe Roopert is after him because of his funny hairdo. Kids can be so cruel, ya know?

  2. Okay. Roopert totally knew where he was going! You let him out and he just ran next to you and made his way right back to "his" coop to check on his ladies.

  3. Pip is so cool looking. I fear though that he and Roopert will not be able to get along.

  4. 'Twil be a difficult decision.... Poor Pip! Maybe Roopert goes and Pip should stay as he's quieter?

  5. Perhaps it's Pip who should get to stay since he's gentle, quiet and interesting. I don't have either breed but I know that my large breed roosters are very loud. My Hamburg, on the other hand, is quieter and easier on the ears. In time, Roopert may show some aggression toward people, which could be a deciding factor too. What a dilemma you are facing!

  6. What a dilemma is right! Roopert is so beautiful and loud. And Pip is so . . . well . . . unique looking and soft-spoken. What a dilemma.

    I love how Roopert follows you like a puppy dog, knowing exactly that he's gonna see his ladies. How adorable is that!

  7. Let me start out by saying that kittens are so cute. My baby has a fuzzy-wuzzy teddy bear.

    That said, I'm with Amy. Screw that Roopert. Off with his head! OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!

    You're gonna need to toughen up if you're gonna be a farmer.

    Roopert's loud and abusive.

    Pip's quieter and has a Flock of Seagulls hairdo.

    In a high school metaphor, Roopert's like that big idiot jock that got all the cheerleaders.

    Pip's me. I bet all the hens just want to be friends with him. Let's just talk, they say. You're so sensitive and understanding, they say.

    You see where I'm going with this? Off... with... his... head. Give a brother a break.

  8. Oh but Roopert is so handsome and intelligent! His feathers are so striking. You really should keep him. He will be a good protector of his flock. Your video of him is amazing! It really cracked me up how he followed you so closely and really did know exactly where he was going. Very smart bird. Wasn't Pip supposed to get a helmet to protect his head, or am I remembering wrong?

  9. I love the video of Roopert.

  10. And the saga continues…..Hope it all works out for Pip too. Thanks for the morning routine Danni!!

  11. Hi in the chicken coop is rough, lemme tell ya. If you look just a little bit different, watch out!

    Hi frugalmom - of course he knew where he was going. He's a very smart boy. :-) Nothing like a few teenage girls to provide some motivation to an adolescent boy, you know?

    Hi Mim, I think Pip is amazing looking. My husband thinks he's ugly as sin. Go figure. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :-)

    Hi henbogle, yeah, I've thought of that possible option, however, I don't like how Pip treats the ladies. His idea of wooing is to peck them on the back of the head when they run by. He's not having much luck with this so far. He's also not as protective as Roopert and he doesn't share his treats very often! :-)

    Hi Amy - Again, I may be in denial, but since I pick Roopert up daily and he continues to eat from my hand, hang by my side, etc., I'm really hoping I have one of those "friendly roos", and not one that suddenly turns aggressive. You're right, though, if he does, he's OUTTA here!

    Hi californiagrammy - I know, I do this every morning with him and it still brings a smile to my face. I'm really pretty attached to this big guy, despite his rude treatment of his fellow roo.

    Well, hellooooo Urban nice of you to give your opinion this morning. :-) There was far too much sweet-talk going on over here without you. Interesting that you identify so much with Pip, read above for how he deals with the ladies...perhaps this was your problem - did you smack the girls you liked in high school on the back of the head as they walked by? :-)

    Hi farmer jen...yes, Pip was supposed to get a helmet, but then I saw things improving, but then they got bad again but THEN the donkeys came. You get where I'm going with this, right? I dropped the ball. And I keep thinking that, one of these days, he's just going to say "NO" to everybody pulling his head feathers out like that. Roopert does seem smart, doesn't he? As long as he uses those smarts for good and not evil, he will have a good life here. :-)

    Hi solomon! I'm glad the video came across as well as it did. I think it's hilarious how he runs straight into the coop at the very end. Such a good boy (when he isn't picking on Pip)... :-)

    Hi eve, it does seem like a saga, doesn't it? How funny. The trials and tribulations of farm life...what will it bring next??!! :-)

  12. What urban hayseed doesn't understand farmgirl is that you are a gentlewoman farmer with the emphasis on gentle. I love that you will escort him to his room and then back again in the morning. You can have your own style of farming.
    With that said I have to agree that Pip may be the better one to keep if one has to go, and hopefully you won't have to choose. But my imput is not based on unresolved high school issues. I just don't want to read a post about Roopert chasing you around the barnyard. And we all know that the nice boys make better husbands.

  13. I love your blog for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is your fabulous video docu-dramas! Just when I thought nothing could beat racing donkeys, I meet Roopert the running rooster. Too fabulous for words.

    PS- Thanks for asking about the book. I'm happy to tell you more if you'd like. Feel free to email me any time (

  14. Maybe re-homing Roopert would be a good idea? Pip is so cute!

  15. Heya-
    Thanks so much for the correction to my blog. (I added your correction just now--it makes a good addition to the story!) I'm embarrassed not to have known that Lowly was a WORM and not a snake. Still, he looks mighty fetching in his bowler hat, don't you think?

  16. Aww, that video was so sweet! Roopert just followed cute. Poor Pip! He, and Roopert, are SUCH GORGEOUS birds...poor little Pip.

  17. We could never keep more than one rooster. They always fought and actually became quite mean to us. I was forever having scratched up legs while in the pen from them attacking me. That is except one little banty rooster. We have decided not to have roosters because we really only have the chickens for the eggs and such and when it is time to change out the older hens we just buy some new spring chicks.

  18. I have a very unreasonable desire to have a rooster. This has only added fuel to the fire. Living in a condo complex, as I do, I'm having difficulty coming up with ideas on how to smuggle one onto my balcony without the neighbours finding out.....must give this more thought.

    Between you & 7MSN, I now also want a donkey. Or two.


I ♥ it when you leave a comment.