I’ve discovered that “Roo” is what “chicken people” call roosters.
Turns out, I am definitely a full-fledged “chicken person.”
See how I snuck another chicken joke in there?
So far, our roosters have been mostly great. They are 6+ months old, crowing like crazy, and loving the ladies. We have three Roos- one for each breed of chicken we have.
Head Roo. He’s a tank. Looks just like a linebacker in full pads running down the field when he comes barreling towards me. That is watermelon juice you see on his chest in the picture below. It gets on his wattles (those hangy down red things on his chin) and then drips down his front… #bigwattleproblems.
He’s bossy, but not mean. Kind of like me. :)
The ladies just love him, and rightfully so- he takes such good care of them. He is so kind to “his” hens and very protective of them. He has a group of girls that follow him around all day. Or maybe he follows them…
And he dances! He’ll stretch out one wing and do a quick little two-step hopping jig in front of a hen. He looks like a country line-dancer. I’d do an impression for you if you were here.
He was my favorite chicken for the longest time (until he hit puberty). He always came running to see me, and would sit on my lap for as long as I’d let him. He just always wanted to be near me. A Red Ranger meat bird, he was spared because he was so friendly.
He’ll still take food from my hand, but doesn’t really want me to pet him, although he will let me. He still comes running when he sees me, but I think it is because he figures I have treats and he wants them, plus he likes to keep an eye on me.
I think he knows that I help protect and take care of his girls.
His favorite past time is catching bugs for the ladies. He’ll find a good morsel and give a really low-pitched cluck to attract a hen over, then let her have what he’s found. What a sweetie! I might add, he often has ulterior motives.
But his cock-a-doodle-do… oh, it’s so pathetic. It’s deep and loud but not quite full. More of a “cock-a doo-ooo.” And it’s not that he’s still learning, or that it will come in full later- I think that’s just how he sounds.
He’s also a little bow-legged. He’s been like that since two or three months old. Bless his heart.
The good-looking one. He’s the Roo that everyone oogles over- he is stunningly gorgeous. I always tell him that he is the finest looking rooster we have. He’s at the bottom of the pecking order, so I figure it helps his ego.
He is an Easter Egger. He has the perfect cock-a-doodle-do. It is loud, long and assertive. Him and Buddy have back and forth crowing matches all day.
Otto is friendly to me, but cautious. Always interested in seeing what treats I have, but forced to hang back or Buddy will snap at him. In the morning when I feed the chickens, I save back a small handful of food for Otto. He follows me away from the others and I let him eat out it out of my hand. Otherwise he gets last pick of the food. I think he appreciates the gesture.
He is a little bit of a loner. And he’s only allowed to mate with the hens that aren’t laying eggs yet, or that just started (per Buddy’s orders). He spends a lot of his day trying to get some alone time with some of Buddy’s girls.
I think the ladies know he’s bottom of the pack. Sometimes he’ll find a nice bug and try to entice a lady over to him with it. They don’t always take him up on his offer like they do for Buddy. After several “clucks,” if no ladies come over, he’ll just eat the bug himself. That’s when I really feel bad for him. I can almost here him say, “fine, I’ll just eat it then!”
On the other hand, I’ve also seen him trick the hens with this maneuver. He pretends like he has a bug, but it’s just a piece of leaf or something. The hens might be on to him. He thinks he can get away with it because he’s so good looking.
Lately Otto has become a touch aggressive, and I’m not sure why. Possibly because is his bottom of the pecking order and always having to watch his back and defend himself, which makes him extra flighty.
He attacked Karl’s dad the other day- didn’t hurt him, but the attack was not directly provoked. Karl and his dad were in the yard, near Otto’s coop and his egg-laying ladies, making loud noises with power tools (working on the coop). On one hand, that is what we keep him around for… to protect the hens, which is what he thought he was doing.
We talk over sunflower seeds on the porch. I try to reason with him, telling him that I really like him and don’t want to have to put him in the freezer. His fate is still to be determined. He’ll have a couple more chances, but not too, too many more.
Free-Range Extraordinaire. Our Buff Orpington Roo, there is no grasshopper, earthworm, or… um, toad that he won’t eat.
Often, he meets me over in part of the yard where lots of crickets and grasshoppers live. I walk slowly, shuffling my feet and kicking up the ‘hoppers. He goes after them! Together we work the yard until every bug has been exposed. It’s pretty cute, and one of my favorite daily activities. I’m pretty sure it’s one of his too.
He is the middle rooster- below Buddy, but above Otto. He’s kind of like the middle child. Calm, quiet, friendly, plays well with others. He just wants everyone to get along. The ladies seem to like him, probably because he is just a sweet guy.
When we put in the new nest boxes, he was one of the first ones to go in them. It concerned me at first, but after doing some research I learned that he was just showing the hens that this was a good, safe place to have his babies.
Some of the hens picked up a bad habit of gently pecking me in the leg when they wanted treats. I let them, because I thought it was cute, and it didn’t hurt at all. Bolivar just picked up this habit as well (my fault), and the only problem is that he pecks much harder! It isn’t aggressive but it does hurt, so needless to say, I am now trying to break this behavior. Which is difficult, because I try hard not to come off as aggressive in any way to him. Who knew relationships with chickens were so complicated?!
I like that Bolivar lets me pet him, which I attribute to all of our one-on-one time catching bugs. He’s also my grilling buddy. He’s right there as soon as I fire up the grill. He stands there, giving me his best impression of puppy dog eyes, and I give in. I break off little pieces of whatever I’m cooking and accidentally drop them on the ground.
I think he’s the smartest one of the group.
Our roosters are such a valuable part of our homestead. They really do protect the hens- they are are always the first ones to sound alarm when a large bird flies overhead, or someone walks into the yard. And I know they’d risk their lives to protect the gals. They spend every single minute of every day taking care and watching over them. I can see that most of the time the hens adore their roosters.
As long as they continue to be kind to the hens and humans, the roosters will have a home here.