Friday, June 20, 2014

The Runaway Rooster

In early May, one evening as I was finishing up washing dishes from dinner, my husband walked into the kitchen and asked me if I had noticed a rooster in the field. Now, our house backs up to a field that basically is surrounded by houses. No one lives on it and it belongs to the Church around the corner from us. We live smack dab in the middle of the city. It is pretty secluded and we have really enjoyed it over the years as we have no one who lives behind our house.

So often, I hear what my husband is saying and I answer, without really PAYING ATTENTION. So as I have so often done, this time was no different and I answered with  "No, I had not seen the rooster"..........but I really was not paying him much attention, and honestly put it out of my thoughts and mind.

Three days later, I was driving around town, and I had a thought that if this rooster was still in the field, chances were he was not going to be there long, as I knew he did not have any water. I worried about that all day and when I got home, I started combing the cabinets for anything I could put water in to take to this poor guy. All the time I was banging cabinets open and shut, I was worried I had not paid attention when I should have and this guy was a goner.

I filled a large tea pitcher with water and found a old Christmas tin that I did not care to keep and off I went to the field behind my house. Once I was behind my house and in the field, I sat the tin down on the ground and started pouring the water in the tin. The rooster frantically ran or I thought he was charging me and I stood there thinking that I was going to be attacked. He was starving for water, and could not get to me fast enough. I felt so ashamed of myself for not thinking he would not have water and paying attention in the first place. Bless his little heart, he drank for a solid thirty minutes. It was that very moment I felt nothing but love in my heart for this rooster.

The arrow shows the tin I used for several days to hold his water.  That first night, once he had drank all I thought he could hold, I moved the tin by this tree. Poor little guy only had three tail feathers....three!!! My imagination ran wild with explanations as to why he ended up in the field. I was sure that wherever he had came from surely they were fighting the roosters and he escaped......poor Steve said that was not the case, he must be a young rooster......I was skeptical, and thought something had horrible had happened to him for him to be so scrawny. I fell in love with the darn rooster that day.....much to my husbands dismay........

I knew nothing about chickens before this day.....did not even know what they would eat. I had some corn tortillas and he ate those for a couple of days before I went to the feed store and bought him some real chicken food.

We had a couple of weeks with threatening weather coming our way, and this rooster would not let me close to him, touch him, or much less pick him up. He always stayed just out of reach. He found a grove of trees and he had been roosting in there. But with the weather coming, I was worried about him having someplace to get out of the bad weather. So after much debating and insisting, I had my husband construct a make shift shelter.

I can not say for sure if he ever really went underneath this, but I sure felt a lot better knowing he had the option if he wanted to.

I had Steve move it to under the tree and that is where it has stayed.

I guess if you are a wild rooster, this looks cozy enough, I sure thought so anyway. 

I really had no intention of keeping him for first. I never really thought about it.  But I fell in love with this guy, and named him Benny....and you know what happens when you name an animal....well for me, they become family. 

We fell into a routine, Benny and I.  That routine has worked out pretty well. Each morning, I'd go out to the field with fresh water and food. Then the first thing I would do when I got home was go feed him again and talk with him about my day. If you could have heard the conversation I would have with Benny you would think I had lost my mind. I talked about everything and rambled on and on. I was so sure, if he heard my voice, he would soon not be so scared around me. I am happy to say all I have to do is go outside and call his name....and he comes running!

By now after a few weeks, I was doing research on keeping chickens and read several blogs and websites that had to do with their care. I was beginning to think this was going to be much harder than I ever dreamed in taking care of a chicken. I posted a few times on facebook and had several tell me how dangerous it was for him to be out in the open and not have a real chicken coop and shelter. I had to ask myself several times why stress and animals seem to run hand and hand......

After about three weeks of enjoying my new rooster, my husband said the man down the street had mentioned that someone who lives around the block from us had lost a rooster, and told this man if he saw him to catch him and bring the rooster back. My heart skipped a beat or two and I felt hot and panicked.

I am sure many of you would be surprised to know that I will stoop to what ever level I need to do to rectify a situation. This situation needed my attention and an idea ever so quick. First off, if the original owner had not even looked for him and worried about his safety for three weeks, in my mind, he darn well was not getting him back. NO WAY. 

It just so happened that on a Monday, I was off of work, and I was unloading groceries out of my car and into the house. I looked up the street and saw the man who was supposed to be looking for MY rooster walking down the street. An idea just popped into my head and I dashed into the house to put a plan in action.

Now, I may or may not have ran to the bathroom and swung open the medicine cabinet and grabbed a gauze pad and some band aids. I may or may not have slapped that gauze pad over one of my eyes and taped it to my face....and then added a few band aids on the other side of my face for good measure. I may or may not have walked back out the front door to finish unloading groceries about the time the man was in front of my house. I may or may not have slyly asked him if he thought he was going to catch a wild rooster loose in our neighborhood. I may or may not have informed him as to the damage that rooster would do if he tried to catch him. I may or may not have pointed towards my face and said that rooster almost took my eye out and scratched my face all to pieces. I may or may not have warned him that the rooster had spurs and knew how to use them. All I know is that man looked at me all wild eyed and said very surly he was not looking for a rooster..."No ma'am, he surly was NOT." I can however admit, that was the end of me worrying about Benny after that!

He was happily living in the field, happily spending his time with me, and I was making progress on taming him. After about a month, my next door neighbor started teasing me about putting my chicken on the grill.....that is another story all together, but I assure you, he forgot about putting my rooster on the grill about as quick, if not quicker than the man who was walking down the street. 

 My neighbor did however have a plan up his sleeve......and it sure put a little damper on my one on one time with my new rooster....Benny!

~stay tuned for the next installment..........


  1. Suzanne, you have a very kind heart. I am afraid of birds in general but Linda at Prairie Flower Farm raises chickens and she has one that follows her like a dog and goes where she goes. If you don't know her please go over there. They live on a farm in Kansas and Linda is just a real gem. Benny appears to be very loved by you. I am chuckling about your bandages and scratches! Hee Hee! Reminds me of some movies my kids loved when they were small. "Bingo" the dog and The Air Bud series of movies too. When our son Jeremy found Stella, his rescue dog in the road a police officer told us, don't tell anyone I told you this, but get her chipped and registered and if the original owner comes searching, tough luck. He knew, like we did that she had been abused. Five years later the girl rules this house! Enjoy Benny. He seems like a fine feathered friend. You tell a terrific story too. Hugs, Anne

  2. Enjoyed your story very much Suzanne. I knew nothing about keeping chicken till we moved to the country a few months ago. We hatched our own eggs and ended up with 4 hens and 2 beautiful roosters which we have had to give away which broke my heart...i'm too soft xxx

  3. thank you for livening up my breakfast!! waiting for the next instalment !!!....... please don't let it be sad!!!

  4. Oh no, we have to wait to her more. First I was a little sad reading your story, thinking something was going to happen to Benny. Then when the bandages came out it was funny Now I can't wait to hear more. You do have a big heart..


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