I think this may be one of the most unique wedding anniversary presents, a rooster. I received Claude (my present) a couple years ago, he was free, most roosters are. He was living (uninvited) on a friends property up on the tablelands and every night he slept in one of their garden sheds. Lots of roosters get dumped and find some new area in which they can call home, this can be a nearby lake, farm, transfer station. Unloved and without a flock of girls to protect, they live what seems, a life of rejection. But the moment we saw him, we thought, how bad could a rooster be? So on the day of my 8th wedding anniversary I got a rooster and we named him Claude.
At first our flock of girls completely ignored him and he got left on his own while the girls took off through the day to forage their well known territory.
My initial thought was that a crow at 6am wouldn’t bother me as most of us are nearly awake by then. So off I went to sleep only to be woken in the dark at around 4:30am by the first crow, this continued every 10-20mins until about 6am. The chook pen is 20 metres from my bedroom window. Once up, I realised that the only reason the crows had died down was that my husband (very handy man) had handmade a rooster collar (yes they are a thing) and put it on Claude. This preventing him from making loud sounds. I don’t think Claude liked it.
I felt immediately sorry for him and started googling ways in which people managed rooster crowing. The collars were a popular option but I felt it stopped Claude from being his true self, and I wanted to enjoy his earthy sounds through the day.
I finally discovered the box at night option. So we (meaning my husband) made a timber box that would fit a sleeping rooster in it but not so large that it allowed him to strut around and launch his head up high and crow very loudly. The box also helps keep it darker for longer. That way we would let him out in the morning and he could crow as he pleases through the day. This worked a treat.
The girls finally accepted him as their leader. Well maybe he thinks he is their leader, they really just let him follow along! Personally I think they could give a bit more appreciation towards Claude since he is the one that watches out for them when predators come. He also finds food for them and makes a special sound, they all come to him and eat the food while he stands back and watches. Whenever one of them lays an egg up the hill in the pen, he hears them from down wherever he is and he runs all the way up our big hill to make sure they are okay.
Also he is a gentlemen and he rarely subjects them to his male urges.
What amazes me is that we have had other roosters, from hatch-lings of our own and they have been horrible to the girls! They do the same “I’ve found food noise” only to be lying, and when the girls come they jump on top of them! Trickery!
Plus some have even tried to replace Claude as leader and fight him in a duel. Claude is not a large rooster and he is not the aggressive type, plus we think he is actually getting on in age, so he isn’t great at fighting. I can’t let these young whipper snappers take his prestigious place, so I intervene and we make sure we only have one ruling rooster. Some roosters have tolerated having Claude above them, so they can stay. But having more than one rooster means that there is more crowing because roosters always want to be heard over other roosters.
Someone down the road had a rooster once… Claude would hear it from all the way up the hill and crowed every time that one crowed to make sure his voice was the loudest. When Claude is the only rooster in the suburb, he doesn’t crow very often.
Claude is actually a pure bred Golden Spangled Hamburg, they are very decorative small-medium sized chickens. We bought him a matching female and her name is Flora, she is divine and is the best mother out of all the flock. She is small and lays small eggs, but she is diligent. Just Like Claude.
I have said that if we ever move within Australia we have to take Claude with us, and Domino (the cat). A cat and a rooster in the car with us. Apparently roosters can live up to 15 years! So maybe Claude will be in our lives for some time and we can enjoy his noises, his looks and his gentlemen ways for years to come.