Thoughts on chicken "emotions"?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by So Cal Chick'ns, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. So Cal Chick'ns

    So Cal Chick'ns Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 8, 2011
    Okay's an embarrassing question...
    I have a VERY small backyard flock of 3...two Buff Orp hens, and one BR roo...who was supposed to be a hen. (Insert bad word here!) I purchased them together, brooded them in their little box together and they are definitely one happy little chicken threesome.
    Since I am not supposed to have chickens (AT ALL!) and they are all about 10-12 weeks now, my roo is a crowin' away. I've been searching for a place to send him (the feed and tack store where I originally purchased my darling chicks will "buy" him back for $15.00...I'd pay ten times that if I thought they'd find him a good home where he could flourish). Unfortunately, in my neck o' the woods, there are more tract homes than acreage. The other bad part is, if I sent him to the feed store, my roo would have to live in a dog cage in the back of the store until they found someone to take him.
    Although my little flock is in their coop and run part of the day, they do get to travel all over the yard freely whenever I am home. The rooster actually now believes himself to be a dog (I have four medium size adopted mutts). He hangs with the dogs, plays fetch with the dogs, expects dog treats (and he gets them with a very nasty peck on the nose!), and when the dogs are rough-housing, he's right there telling them how to do it! Buuuut...he is also fiercely protective of his "harem" and they do whatever he tells them to with absolute submission. The girls are completely inseparable (they TOTALLY freak out if they can't see each other at all times...sometimes one of the girls goes behind a bush, and the other nearly has a heart attack trying to find her!), and they aren't very happy when their fearless leader isn't within ear-shot either.
    A friend found a strawberry farmer today in central California who will take my rooster (the farmer's are friends of friends, who already have a small flock, do not use their chickens for "meat" and are happy to have my boy for breeding purposes). I know if I asked, they'd probably take my girls keep the sweet little threesome together.
    My THAT just being ridiculous? Does a chicken remember tomorrow who he used to hang out with yesterday? Will my little roo find new girlfriends immediately and totally forget his "ex's"? Will my girls pine for their boy bird, or be incredibly happy to be free of a domineering drill sargeant?
    Thoughts please from those who have observed chickens for longer than 10-12 weeks, like me.....
    (to be VERY honest, if my boy is going to forget about his girls immediately and not find himself traumatized and heart sick, I really don't want to give away my girls too....)
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Hi So Cal,

    wow, it almost sounds like you would be risking your Hens (do you have an HOA?) by keeping the Rooster. Have him go to the farm to live happily ever after, and explain to the hens that it was necessary, and in time they will probably adjust.

    good luck.
  3. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2011
    Madison, CT
    Chickens definitely have emotions for example i've had chickens that sometimes grieve when another dies.
    But they can move on and get over things pretty easily. Lots of animals live in the NOW.
    If hes going to a home with other chickens i think we will be fine and happy to have ANY flock of hens :]
    Your lucky you found someone who will take him and not eat him!
  4. JayneMae

    JayneMae Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2011
    they will act sad for a while, but should get over it in a few days to a week. when we moved to our new house, a dog got into their run and all three of the chickens got away. we were able to find two of them, but while it was just one she was very sad and calling out a lot. got the second one back a couple days later and they both seemed better. i'd say, since they will still have each other, they should be fine. though, if you don't want to risk getting in trouble with the law or hoa or whatever, i'd send the whole flock to live on the farm where they're allowed...
  5. So Cal Chick'ns

    So Cal Chick'ns Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 8, 2011
    Chickens are okay with our county and city codes, but yes...I have the dreaded HOA!!
    Fortunately, I also have very lovely neighbors (whose children are louder than any hen flock could possibly be) on one side, no one behind me, and the neighbors on the other side are too far away from the coop to hear much and be bothered (they've put up with litters and litters of foster pups on the dog run on their side, so yes...they're pretty lovely neighbors as well). I live on a cul de sac and most of the people around me are long timers and friends (and many of them have even adopted some of my foster pups), so I know no one will care about a couple little egg laying hens. A rooster? Well...he might be a different story. He's crowing now between 6:30 and 7:00 am, but I know that could change to 5:00 am, any day now.
    Thank you all for your input...I am happy to know that you all think with a couple days of grieving, life will go on. I'd hate to see any of them fall sick from heartbreak :)
  6. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Just an aside, my birds sleep in an insulated coop, so the roo's crowing is very muffled in early a.m. I strive not to let them outside too early. This has kept neighbors happy!
  7. So Cal Chick'ns

    So Cal Chick'ns Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 8, 2011
    I have taken to covering the coop with a giant blue blanket which has kept him quiet until he hears his dog friends collars' clanking on their way out to do their early morning "thing". Then, he isn't pacified until I let him out at which point he must announce to the entire community that he is free and there is daylight (just in case anyone didn't notice the sun). This morning, I stripped the dogs of their collars, opened the slider door ever so slowly and reminded them that from now on, until our bird friend finds greener pastures, morning poos must be covert.
  8. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I think all species at times must learn to separate from old attachments and form new. If we humans are expected to leave home and parents, leave best friends from college, kiss kids goodbye as they move across the country, etc. then we should expect that chickens may also need to learn to "love the one you're with."

    I'd keep your girls and tell the roo to go party with some new gals. A good roo home is too rare to pass up.
  9. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2009
    West Central WI
    He will be fine. Better than fine.

    The girls will miss him for a week and be fine.

    Enjoy your birds!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by