Could This Heroic Rooster Have Been Saved? [Graphic Reading]

Henrik Petersson

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
646
1,073
312
Karlskrona, Sweden
This summer, I sold a surplus rooster to an acquaintance who already had chickens. The rooster was young but fully grown, a mix between a Red Sex Link and an Araucana. Out of all the four brothers hatched in that brood, this particular one was the most assertive - he chased his three brothers away from our old hens, and was the only one who deliberately moved away from the chick coop into the adult hen coop. But he was infallibly nice to humans, and so tame that I could just walk up to him and pick him up most days - even though he was hatched naturally.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and his new owner informs me that they'd had to kill the rooster after he'd taken a severe beating after saving his new flock from a hawk. However, before that, he'd managed to actually beat the hawk to death, a feat I've actually never heard of.

Said the new owner (directly translated by me):

"The hawk had broken its neck and was just lying down panting, so we had to end the suffering with our ax. The rooster did a good job. He took the hawk in the air as it was about to lift off with the hen [my note: I don't think a hawk can actually lift off with a hen; my friend had probably only seen the hawk sit on top of the hen and flap its wings], we thought we'd have to kill the hen as well, but she was perfectly fine. I couldn't see much of what was happening, just a blur of feathers and screams that was over in a few seconds. The rooster won, at least; he was still standing afterwards, but had deep gashes all over and two broken toes. The hawk didn't show much damage, besides one wing and the neck hanging limp. I've never seen anything like it. The hens are a little spooked today and the hen is under observation, to make sure she has no internal injuries, but she seems fine, just a few feathers short".

That's quite a story. In a later message, she said that the other roosters on her farm had ran off and hidden when they'd heard the commotion.

I suppose this story itself is thread worthy, but I mainly want to ask a question that's been at the back of my mind for a while: Could that rooster have been saved?

I'm thinking something like this:
- Cleaning of the deep gashes, and taping them together with some strong medical tape.
- The two broken toes are another matter. I would probably fix each of them to some very stiff stick, perhaps short wooden sticks that I'd laid on the toes, after which I'd taped the toes tightly to them with strong tape, such as duct tape, and left it in place for several weeks. I would probably let him go with the chickens immediately, no need to keep him inside a rabbit cage or whatever and stress the hell out of him as long as his wounds are securely patched up.

I mean, what an awesome rooster. How often do you get a rooster that is a perfect gentleman with humans... And cuddly with humans... And nice to the hens... And apparently the chicken equivalent of Rambo at the same time?

I absolutely don't condemn my friend's killing of him; I'm just saying that I'd probably have done everything in my power to save him and his tremendous genetics.

Me and him few weeks before he was sold:
 
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coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,517
10,906
611
North Florida
I'm so sorry!! I personally always make every effort to save a particularly good roo, but that's a personal decision of course. Sounds like he was a really good one. It's very hard to say without seeing the bird if his injuries were treatable or not. They can often recover from some pretty horrible injuries, but it does take time and effort, something that not everyone is able or willing to do. Also possible that his injuries were too severe. But it's also a kindness to end their suffering if it's something that can't be dealt with for whatever reason. I had a roo fight off a hawk, broke a spur off - I hope the hawk wore it when it left, while my other roo hid in a bush, the good ones are special.
 

Henrik Petersson

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 9, 2009
646
1,073
312
Karlskrona, Sweden
depending if nothing serious was damaged and he wasn't suffering too bad,he probly could have been save
Thanks... Do you have any ideas more specifically about what could have been done?

Nice story. It's so hard to say if he could have been saved, I think it is best not to think about it, as it is too late now. If you still have the parents, you could try raising another clutch from them, maybe you'll get another good one. He sounds pretty awesome.
Actually we culled his dad a month earlier due to heart failure, he started panting and turned blue in the face one day (so much for great genetics, huh?) and the hens are also sold.

BUT... I can get another araucana rooster from the place we bought his dad from...
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,517
10,906
611
North Florida
I'd like to post a follow-up question: Is it normal for a rooster to kill a bird of prey? I tend to hear that "no chicken has weapons enough to match a predator"...
Some of them will try. They are usually outmatched if it's an experienced adult raptor, if it's young and inexperienced they may be successful in driving it off. But often the truth is that they don't survive and really do sacrifice themselves in attempting to protect their flock.
 

townchicks

Free Ranging
Dec 1, 2016
1,998
6,504
666
Contra Costa county, Ca.
I'd like to post a follow-up question: Is it normal for a rooster to kill a bird of prey? I tend to hear that "no chicken has weapons enough to match a predator"...
Normal- no. Possible- yes, he probably got in a lucky hit in the right place. I wouldn't expect it to happen again, even if the rooster had lived.
 

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