Okay, so you know we have a rooster. Actually that should be Rooster with a capital “R’ because since Betty has “come out of the hen-coop”, as it were, she has been crowing up a storm.
For those of you who think I’m confused by naming a rooster Betty and calling her (him) a her, well, let’s just say it’s a long story in which newbie chicken owners are still trying to figure things out.
Yup, and if you ever wondered about all those cartoons you’ve seen, roosters really do cock-a-doodle-doo at the crack of dawn, and also when they are hungry, tired, bored, or just want attention.
Betty can bellow with the best of them.
We didn’t know until we had fully bonded with her that Betty was a he. But unlike some other roosters I’ve been hearing about, Betty is gentle, clever, and loves to be pet. She also has a loud voice and let’s us know that she is there.
In an effort to not create discord with out neighbors after all, we set out on this experiment to get eggs (OF WHICH WE HAVE STILL NOT YET GOTTEN ANOTHER FROM THAT FIRST ONE!) we have been trying to curb Betty’s crowing.
After all, we just wanted eggs, we didn’t want pissed off neighbors.
This is what we do when we hear the crow of the cock: (which is a term that sends my teenage boys into into paroxysms of laughter)
Whoever hears it first jumps out of bed and runs out to the pen to open the doors so that the hens can get into the fenced in area. We also come bearing gifts of stale bread and vegetables from the previous night’s dinner with the logical thinking that an eating bird is a quiet bird.
I’ve read that if you put the rooster in a dog crate and cover it with a blanket then you might be able to fool the bird into crowing later at your convenience. We haven’t tried this and unless we are at a last resort don’t plan to. For now the food bribing seems to be working relatively well.
During the day when Betty crows, I stop my work to check on her. She has me trained well, if I’m on a conference call and she starts crowing (not exactly the epitome of professionalism while on a group call) I throw bread out to her. Lately, all I have to do to get her to start crowing is for her to see me put my phone set on. We have some very Pavlovian chickens.
Perhaps the best way to deal with a rooster’s crowing? Well sometimes, it’s simply making peace with the situation.
Having a rooster crow reminds me that nature is all around. It’s a fun, happy sound (even first thing in the morning) much like a baby’s giggle, or a dog’s happy bark. Sometimes Betty crows because she (or her flock) need something – they’re out of water, they’d like more apple peelings. But sometimes she crows just because the sun comes out from behind a cloud or because the wind has shaken the leaves from a tree and she sees them dancing about her.
In truth, it’s also not such a bad alarm clock and at this stage in my life I find that I need a little more incentive to get out of my warm, comfortable bed than just for the reason “I should”.