I have never, I repeat, never owned a rooster. Nor did I have any plans on ever owning a roo while in our current location. Of course I know they are big. And loud. And crow all day, not just when the sun comes up, but also when the sun goes down, or across the sky for that matter. I’ve read about their role in the flock and aside from the obvious, I understand they are guardian, defender and food locator. I have read and heard about roosters being so aggressive they attack the hand that feeds them, when it’s feeding them. But I have heard roos can also be nice guys.
What I didn’t know is that raising a rooster from an 8 week old cockerel can be both heartwarming and hilariously entertaining. Enter Bleu, our, yes I said OUR, Blue Copper Marans Rooster (well, almost Roo). If you have been following my blog for more than just a day you should be well acquainted with my Chicklets. If not, you can choose to get to know my little threesome here or here and even here
Of course the original plan was to send the blue one back if it turned out to be a roo. (I really knew it was a roo from the start.) Then there was a run on Marek’s Disease where he came from and we agreed to keep the fellow for the time being. He was never going to be sold out or culled as he was to be used as the rooster in a small Olive Egger breeding program.
For week’s I started my sentences about Bleu with “If he stays…” or “should we decide to keep him…”. I really knew I wasn’t fooling anyone, not even myself. I finally conceded to the obvious and made it official a couple of weeks ago, Bleu is staying. I don’t have the heart to tear him away from the love of his life, Cleo. Besides, we aren’t the first people on the block to house a rooster and Bleu is such a nice guy. It doesn’t hurt that he has a serious crush on Midge. Every night he waits for her to “tuck” him in. He climbs onto her hand, arm or lap if it’s available, lays down and actually falls asleep on her.
Heart = Warmed
Humor, I said raising a rooster is hilariously entertaining. Well first off, ever heard a young rooster learn to crow? Our Bleu sounded like a dog squeak toy being wrung out. Watching him as he tried wringing every last bit of air out of his lungs in his attempts to crow like the big boys in our ‘hood, you just couldn’t help but giggle.
Our rooster, at 18 weeks old, is a big ol’ ninny.
When we offer the three some new tasty treat, he always makes the girls try it first, while he prances around in the background like a girl grossed out by a worm. Only once he is convinced both girls aren’t going to die will he finally sidle up next to them to tentatively taste the tidbits.
Now cut to integrating the 3 into the flock. The first supervised together time and our tiniest girl,
cross-beak Chiquita bum rushes Bleu and starts an all out attack. Head feathers raised (think velociraptor), feet flying at each other, beaks grabbing for face, neck and wattles. All the while, not a single sound out of either birds. No hollering, squawking, not a peep. We’re worried about Chiq Chiq with her cross beak, laughing at her attempts to bite Bleu. That was, until she actually got a hold of his bright red wattle. DANG Girl!
Just when I am about to send Midge in to referee, the mood took a swift turn. The fighting begins to slow, lights dim, the Barry White comes on low in the background. Ok, there was no lighting change and the music didn’t start to play, but the fighting abruptly turned to snuggling when, instead of going in for the grab, Chiquita ducked and tucked her head under Bleu’s left wing, then she came at him again only to turn and rub against his chest! OMGoodness, I think we just witnessed love in the making and I think Bleu was as surprised as we were! They both came out a little worse for wear though, Bleu had some bloody spots on his wattles, Chiquita lost a good portion of her beard but had no blood drawn. I guess it’s true what they say, Love Hurts. Bleu was so worked up that night he crowed and talked well past sunset.
I am not sure who started this one since my back was turned. I was standing in the middle of the lawn with the flock spread all around me, when from behind me I heard a huge ruckus, I turned to find Bleu, in FULL rooster style, on Cinder’s back! My poor little Cinder was just about to become Bleu’s first when a barred rock rushed Bleu and chased him off. See, Bleu has started at the lower end of the pecking order and is still trying to work up the nerve to “man up” on the two top girls, the barred rocks, Freddy and Ricky. That boy runs like, well, like a big chicken, when either of the Rocks are even in sight. They have him so scared, they don’t even have to look at him to send him running in the opposite direction!!
It just gets better. The other night we were all hanging out, people, chickens, dog, as is our normal after work routine (Happy Place). We were just giggling over Bleu being smitten with Chiquita and Ginger when he takes his crush to the next level and attempts to woo Chiquita with, what I can only imagine is, his attempt at a courtship dance.
I have got to capture this on film! I have never witnessed a roosters courtship dance and all I can say is, Bleu had better work on refining (or changing) his moves. He tried them on both Chiq Chiq and Cinder and both were FAR from impressed. I can’t say I blame them, all I could do was laugh out loud at this awkward attempt to woo the girls. Picture this, if you will, Bleu stands tall, drops his left wing down and reaches under/across his chest while trying to side step, crossing his legs and strut(?) in front of the object of his desire. Poor boy, the girl it was intended for simply turned her beak up and walked away, thoroughly unimpressed. And no wonder, it looked like he was doing a pee pee dance!!!
He spent the rest of the evening peering around corners, over flower pots and through the fence at these girls, grasping at every opportunity to strut his stuff again. The best was the time he was making his approach on Chiquita when a barred rock jumped up on a planter, effectively scaring the pants off him. He’s all “I got this. Uh, No I don’t!” as he makes a swift U-turn just as he was finishing his approach. Watching Bleu trying to win the affections of the girls is like watching the guys in A Night at the Roxbury.
The 3, Bleu and his girls, are far from being fully integrated into the flock but each day brings more progress. And each day seems to bring Bleu a little more confidence and courage to take over the entire flock as his own. Well, I think he’d happily leave Beatty and the Rocks to fend for themselves if he had the choice (he doesn’t, it’s all or nothing)
And here I am, once again proving my weakness to the power of poultry. Never keeping a roo at this house, Ha! Never hatching incubator eggs, Riiight! No I don’t want a broody, no I’m not breeding, no I don’t want a large flock, nope, nope, yep! I should really learn to stop drawing my lines in the sand during low tide.