Mister the rooster has apparently decided to go back to the neighbour’s place to live. He hasn’t come back to his night house for seven nights in a row (he left last Sunday), and during the week I spotted him with the roosters and hens next door, roaming around freely.
So I guess that’s that, then. He’s gone.
I always knew some or all of the chickens might decide to go back, but now that’s it’s happened I feel a bit sad and rejected.
He was a nice rooster, particularly when he was younger, though he had begun to get bossy with Baby: chasing or pecking him for no apparent reason. It might have been normal dominance behaviour, establishing the pecking order, but to me it seemed unnecessarily cruel and stupid, and I kept jumping between him and Baby to keep the peace. On the last morning before Mister left I clipped him across the comb for having run at Baby while they were eating, and later as he walked over towards the neighbour’s place he looked back at me for much longer than he ever had before, and I actually thought at the time that he was saying goodbye.
I don’t believe chickens say such things, but it sure was weird that it happened the last time he walked away.
Anyway, now there’s only Baby left. I don’t know what to do about that – whether to get some chickens as company for him (even though I still haven’t got a place to live), or whether to have him put down (killed by a vet, because I couldn’t do it myself and nor would I be willing to eat him). They seem to be the only options; he’s not the sort of rooster I could recommend for another owner (I suspect he has delayed development and possibly even a mental impairment).
Poor Baby is not happy alone, that’s the problem, and I guess that’s normal for chickens, to want a flock around them. I’m spending a lot of time walking around with him so he can feel safe scratching under the trees for insects, and dust-bathing, and so he can get close enough to the neighbour’s flock to at least see other chickens and crow at them. I doubt he’d survive a fight with any of the neighbour’s roosters (they have at least five now, maybe more) and none of their hens have broken ranks to run over and meet him, so I think it’s unlikely that he’ll want to follow Mister. So, the only answer appears to depend on me, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to decide anything or do anything at all.
I forgot to say that in the period between this post and the previous one it suddenly became obvious that Baby is a rooster, not a hen. Just once he ran over to where some of the neighbour’s smallest hens were grazing and flung himself about in a very rooster-like manner, doing a one-wing-raised dance, and pretending to find food for the hens, and then (when nothing else had attracted them) just flat-out chasing the poor things (until he was run out of town by the neighbour’s biggest rooster).