Last Sunday, we found a rooster on the side of the road, a block away from our house. People dump lots of stuff out here. I guess it's common knowledge that if you don't want to go all the way to the dump for your trash or an animal shelter for unwanted pets, the desert will work just the same. Refrigerators, sofas, bags of trash, a live turtle (not a desert tortoise, a red-eared slider turtle, in the middle of the road), a dog, and now a rooster. One of our favorite things about living here is the wildlife. But, if we were to have left this guy outside, coyotes would almost certainly have had him for dinner. So, we took him home.
There's a few houses not far from us who keep chickens and horses, so I figured this guy had just ran too far from home. After having no luck going door-to-door, I did some calling around. That's when I started to suspect "fowl" play. This was NO accident. Apparently, from what I was told, many roosters get abandoned by people when they don't know what to do with them anymore. They buy baby chicks for their kids on Easter, the chick becomes a rooster, it crows in the morning, they throw it over someones wall or leave it in the middle of nowhere. AND, nobody would take him in due to over-crowding of unwanted roosters! The only lead I had sounded less like a Rooster refuge, and more like a back-yard cock-fighting ring. He took roosters, he had a small yard, it was shady....
We kept him in the house over night, and sure enough.... at 5:00am we were awakened with a LOUD "cock-a-doodle-do!" I was really excited because it actually sounded like a cartoon, but it ended up going on about every 30 seconds until we left for work (Roxy was less excited). The next day I fenced in the space under the grill to make a little "coop" for him to sleep in. I know, it's pretty ironic I had him sleeping under a BBQ but it worked pretty well. Each day that I kept him, I grew more and more attached. My dad raised show chickens when he was young and I've always wanted some. I've been convincing Roxy since we moved here that our yard is perfect for chickens. It's almost an acre, but right now it's just a big unfenced lot so I couldn't keep him. I REALLY wanted to keep him though, he was so cool! It was like having a little dinosaur running around the yard. He needed space though, and apparently he needed a hen or two as well because we found him getting pretty intimate with my shoe. Anyways, after I built a second, larger coop I realized the longer I kept him, the harder it would be to give him up.... Roxy finally tracked down a bird sanctuary that would take him so I took a 30-mile drive out to Gilcrease.
The guy who owned the place was way cool and the sanctuary was HUGE. Big, open spaces where chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys can run free and play. I felt much better once I checked it out and saw how relaxed all the animals seemed. Even though I'm really gonna miss the little guy, I know it's the perfect place for him and he will be happy, especially with all of the hens.
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