Last week, whilst on the phone with a friend who keeps a small flock of laying hens, she had a moment of confusion when she heard one of her girls crowing. I assured her that it's not unheard of for a hen in a flock without a rooster to adopt the traits of one, such as crowing or growing spurs. I, myself have had two hens grow spurs, one a Silver Laced Wyandotte and the other a Golden Spangled Hamburg. It didn't take her long, however to find the source. A large rooster had found his way into her yard and was nestled down and hiding in the shrubs calling to her girls who eagerly huddled around him. She assumed he'd been dumped in a nearby quarry as animals often are there but decided to go door to door asking her neighbors if they'd lost a rooster before figuring out what to do with him. Keeping him was not an option for her after some issues with one neighbor and her last rooster so when she had no luck knocking on doors, she put him in a crate that night after he went to roost so she could take him to the local animal shelter the following day. The next morning, I stopped by her house and my 11 year old daughter said she loved this rooster - he reminded her of our first rooster whom we all adored (lost to a fox years ago) and did that thing that children do - she gave me that sad, can-we-keep-him look. That very same expression I used to flash at my own parents whenever I found an animal in need. Having had one great and two far from great experiences with roosters, I wasn't so keen on the idea of bringing another home. My girls are happy without one and when they're happy, I'm happy. However, I do have a small isolation coop and he was clearly in need of some care so home with us it was. During his first day here, he was very quiet and shaking a lot so I left him in the crate in a quiet area with some fermented feed with Echinacea drops in it (an herbal antibiotic/immune system support), apple slices and plenty of fresh water with RAW ACV in it while I prepared his new coop. I would check on him occasionally and talk to him. His eyes were clear and bright but he just seemed to be in a daze. He was in shock. That evening, I moved him to his coop and noticed he was having a very difficult time walking up the ramp from the run and he kept stumbling over the roosting bar inside. When I saw that he was nestled down in the bedding instead of on the bar, I removed it to give him more room. I was able to get a much better idea the next morning of what I'd be dealing with. His comb is covered in scabs, obviously from being pecked by his previous flock mates and half his tail feathers and a large amount of the fluffy feathers around his vent and between his legs have been ripped out. He's still having trouble walking on the hard ramp and when he lays down, he moves very slowly. This boy has been through quite an ordeal and one can only speculate the events. Day two, he ate more apple and cucumber slices and three small bowls of fermented feed with Echinacea. Working from home has made it quite easy for me to be able to spend some time just sitting beside his little coop, talking to him and observing. I noticed that any time I would leave him for too long, he would crow until I would go sit beside him again although he would hide when he would see other people and either my dog (a very loving and protective Newfoundland) or cat (who keeps a very healthy distance from my flock) and chatter in distress. As this behavior continued throughout the day, it seemed to me that he'd either had no exposure to chicken friendly dogs and/or cats or that his current condition could have been the result of an attack but such a predator. Either way, it was disheartening and I was glad when my dog decided to lay beside the coop with his back to this frightened boy. That's a dog's way of letting one know that they mean no harm and the rooster began to relax a little. When my daughter came home from school she couldn't wait to see him and give him treats before my mum came by to take her to a horseback riding lesson. No sooner did she leave then my phone rang. It was the friend whose house he'd made his way to. She told me a man and his son had arrived at her house looking for their rooster. My heart sank. I was already growing quite fond of him and had begun looking forward to integrating him into my flock and my girls had taken an unusual interest in him from across the yard (they didn't like the last two roosters so much, so I found new homes for them). She put the gentleman on the phone and as it turns out, his son, my daughter and my friend's daughter are all in the same class at school. He told me their rooster had been missing for days after an attack in their coop, either by a dog that has been a nuisance in that area or by a bobcat that has been sighted there many times recently. They had lost 6 hens and one of their roosters and their flock is now down to 38 members. They were very eager to get him back. They arrived at my house to collect him and as I was telling them about the condition he's in and how much better he was doing then than he was the previous day. They told me some more about his history; they'd adopted him from the local animal shelter a couple of years ago after he'd been picked up as a stray rooster several towns away and how wonderful he is with their girls and that they're the reason his comb is so covered in scabs. They also told me that one of their broody hens was sitting on 8 eggs all fertilized by him and how beautiful his offspring have all turned out to be. They offered me a cockerel from the new hatchlings but I declined. I explained how I'd had such a hard time seeing what my girls had gone through with my last adolescent male and I didn't want to put them through that again but if they ever decided to replace this sweet, beautiful boy with another, he would be welcome here. In turn, they said if for whatever reason it wasn't working out here, to give them a call and they'll take him back. I couldn't believe it what I was hearing! So, this boy remains here and despite being in isolation, he seems to be recovering faster than expected. I think the interest my girls have taken in that "handsome new fellow" who's saying all the right things to them from across the yard has far more to do with it than the TLC he's getting from me. Even my eldest hen who has fought off the advances of all three of our previous roosters is climbing up to the highest branch in their run, clustered in with all the other girls to get a glimpse and swoon over him as he coos and flexes for them. His constant flexing and stretching to impress my girls has been great for his sore muscles. I wanted to give him a few days for his pain lessen before handling him too much but I think now he's ready so tonight he'll have a lovely warm Epsom salt soak to hopefully relieve his bare skin and tender feet and I should be able to examine them closely. I'm not quite sure if the spots I'm seeing on his legs and feet are puncture wounds from the attack or whether it's a possible case of bumble-foot (staph infection). I'm also not sure how prepared I am for surgery, if that's what will be required but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime, I'm grateful to have plenty of BYC threads to read through to prepare for such an event and to help see this guy on the road to wellness.