Stray rooster wandered in... What do I do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by heypaula, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. heypaula

    heypaula Hatching

    Feb 4, 2013
    Hello! Let me say that I need some help, please!

    About a week and a half ago, a stray rooster wandered into my backyard. We discovered him when he began waking us and our neighbors at 3:30 AM every morning. I've asked around, and there are a bunch of stray chickens in my neighborhood, so it doesn't seem he belongs to anybody.

    Animal Control, nice though they were, gave me a too small trap that was great for catching cats (we got two in it!) but was never going to work for the rooster. We tried shooing him away with a rake (scratched it on the ground behind him, the rake never touched him) and out of the neighborhood, but that night he was back in our tree. I heard feeding him would help with the crowing; it hasn't. (We're giving him a gentle squirt with the hose every time he crows between midnight and 6 AM which I feel terrible about, but I live in the city and I really am worried one of my neighbors is going to do him harm, and the hose seems to be working. Down to two bouts of crowing a night, from a high of six. He still crows during the day and if he feels threatened day or night. Or just wants more corn, possibly.)

    Someone at the SPCA may know a guy that knows a guy that raises chickens, but short of that, I think we've got ourselves a pet rooster. We absolutely had not planned for this and hadn't done any of the due diligence you should before getting a new pet. (I should also mention we're vegan and ARE NOT going to eat him, and even before I was vegan I couldn't have killed an animal, so it's not an option.)

    He's feral, sleeps in a tree, and spends his day in our flower beds or bushes, but he'll come right up to me when I bring out the food in the morning. I feed him microwaved frozen corn and scratch, and I keep finding half-eaten worms in my backyard. I want to provide him with some shelter, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around how we could get him into a coop safely, allow him to roam as much as possible, and not leave him a sitting duck for predators.

    All on a budget, because I've priced coops, and like I said, we weren't planning on a pet. Oh, and I almost forgot, my neighbors think I went out and got a rooster that wakes them up every morning and am a real jerk. :\

    ANY HELP AT ALL is much appreciated! Is scratch the right food? I don't plan on ever having hens. Thoughts on the crowing thing? Will we ever be able to get him into a coop, since he was born feral? What don't I know that I should know? Feel free to link me if you don't want to rehash something explained elsewhere.

    Thank you all so much!

  2. tmfineg

    tmfineg Songster

    Jan 1, 2012
    Gallatin TN
    If he is not to high up in the tree, the best thing to do is just walk up to him and calmly pick him up at night while he is sleeping. I would put an ad on Craig's list to see if any one wants him, or you can find a local thread here on BYC and post there. Hopefully someone will want him. Good luck!

    We found and injured rooster 2 years ago and nursed him back to health, then found him a home.
  3. heypaula

    heypaula Hatching

    Feb 4, 2013
    Thanks, tmfineg! I've read that it's much easier to move chickens around when they're asleep. Unfortunately he's about 20 feet up!

    I hadn't thought of Craigslist, so I'll definitely check that out. We're really at our wit's end on this. :)

    We're planning on building a makeshift coop this weekend, so even if Craigslist doesn't work out, maybe we can carry him down out of the tree on a ladder and put him in there are night. We're really ready to try anything!

    Again, thank you!
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, if you choose to buck the wishes of your neighbors by keeping him, scratch isn't the best food for maintenance - it's a high carb treat. Get him some commercial feed like Nutrena All Flock, or Purina Flock Raiser. Save the rest of the scratch for treats, which can be used as training aids.

    Make sure he has a source of water, too. You can throw a smallish coop together out of pallets, either making it out of them as they are or pulling them apart and using the wood to make a more secure coop for him. Be sure to give him a roost bar, as it's evident that's important to him. ;)

    Roosters, while noisy, are very interesting creatures. I wouldn't have a flock without 'em.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  5. showbarnmom

    showbarnmom Songster

    Dec 16, 2012
    south central Texas
    A dog house can make a good coop for a single chicken. You could even get just one of the plastic dog crates for.him to use.
  6. heypaula

    heypaula Hatching

    Feb 4, 2013
    Thanks greyeyes and showbarnmom! We're not sure we're going to be able to get rid of him, at least in the short term, so while we don't want him to be a nuisance to our neighbors, we feel we need to do something with him since he's let us know he's not going anywhere. He's keeping everybody up (even the neighborhood kids who need to go to school).

    I think we're going to do a plastic dog crate. We're taking a look at Petsmart tonight. We're going to wait until he falls asleep in the tree and then bring him down. We'll have to use a ladder to get to him. My husband's going to be doing it, so should he plan on wearing gloves and thick longsleeves? My mom, who admittedly only knows what she's seen on animal rescue shows, said he also needs face protection and to turn him upside down. Is any of this accurate?
  7. cyw iar

    cyw iar In the Brooder

    When we've needed to move one of our flock at night, we use a laundry basket and a towel. Catch him around the wings and chest with both hands (if possible, way up in a tree!), put him gently in the basket and cover him with a towel (this helps keep him calm). Move him to his new coop, and place him on the roost. You may need to do this a few nights running, but he ought to get the idea and put himself to bed eventually! Good luck!
  8. ll

    ll Songster

    I would leave the rooster alone - you are attracting him by feeding him & of course your neighbors are upset. Don't lay claim to the bird and I'd continue spraying with water to keep him away from your property. He may not even be healthy, harboring some disease.
    Get him away [​IMG] let him go back to wherever he came from.

    Edit: Sounds harsh, but better safe than sorry!
    Would hate to have your husband injured on a ladder at night catching a wild rooster. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  9. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    More likely, being feral, he is very healthy. If diseased, he wouldn't be alive, 20 ft up in a tree and crowing.

    I rescued a feral hen 8 years ago and still have her. She tamed down quickly with a little handling as more important than whether they are feral is what breed? Some breeds are flighty and others extremely friendly -- this is as much genetic as handling/ environment. I agree that he needs better feed than just scratch. He should be easy enough to catch at night, moved and adapt to being in a coop or confined. You will need to confine him to where you want him to stay for at least a week (or more) or he will just return to the tree. Chickens are creatures of habit so he likely isn't going anywhere. I kept a pet rooster when I was a kid -- they are very personable and make good pets.

    Have you caught him yet? How did it go? Good Luck to You.

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