This is the only chicken we have named. By virtue of his polite and gentle demeanor, our blue Australorp rooster Sir has won his name and his place as flock protector. Despite being quite the gentleman, he does sometimes act a little cocky. Who can blame him? He’s outlasted twelve other boys so far, who have all ended up in the pot or the freezer. Some were aggressive to the point of seeming vindictive, others have been lackwitted or overly nervous.
We bought Sir as a day old chick along with nine others, five of which turned out to be cockerels. The two Welsummer roosters looked impressive once they had feathered out, the quintessential Cornflakes rooster! But they were highly aggressive and inconsiderate of the hens, often attacking them relentlessly. One of the Polish x Araucana roosters suffered an illness at three weeks old and we kept him as a pet, separate from the other chickens who would pick on him. The other Polish x Araucana male was downright vicious, making life in the coop a terror. He was the first to go, and I must say part of me enjoyed seeing his head come off.
Sir was the lowest ranking rooster of the lot, and he became our favourite because of the way he would look after the girls, calling them over to eat some tasty treat he found, and always waiting for them to eat first before he would take anything for himself. He has become more confident now he is head of the flock and the Cornflakes cocks are long gone. He’s a fantastic guardian, always keeping close to his girls when they are out free ranging, hustling them to shelter when he spots a threat. I feel happy to leave them out with him around – he spots eagles long before I do, and I have no doubt he would fight to protect his girls.
I do sometimes wonder whether Sir ever feels threatened, when the latest batch of roosters disappear from the coop, never to be seen or heard again. We’ve threatened Sir with the pot on many Sunday mornings when he won’t shut up and we’d really like to sleep in. He has a deafening husky crow which goes ragged at the end – not the most appealing crow I’ve heard. I’ve even dreamed about surgery to stop him crowing… Sigh. No crow sounds good at 4am.
Luckily this boy has redeeming qualities. Of all our chickens, he is the most submissive, happy to be patted and cuddled! And occasionally sniffed by a gigantic horse.
I’m hoping our bantam Araucana cockerels will heed the lesson – it pays to be a gentleman!