Each morning, rain, hail or shine, the Valley is filled with the crowing of 26 roosters, some loud, some quiet and others melodic. People are often shocked and ask, why 26 roosters?
Of all the rescue animals which we assist, roosters are the most prolific and most difficult to re-home. Apart from the noise, they have a reputation (which is often false) of being aggressive and unfriendly. Nearly all suburban councils have banned the keeping of roosters, believing their morning crowing to be disruptive to residents.
|Big Red and his apples|
The plight of roosters, however, does not stop people breeding them. Backyard breeders and urban households commonly acquire a clutch of eggs to raise egg laying hens. Similarly, kindergartens and schools continue to hatch eggs to show children the wonder of life. Little thought is given to lives of the fifty percent of hatchlings which are roosters. They are unable to be housed and are of no use for egg laying. Millions of roosters are culled each year as youngsters, a by-product of the egg industry.
|Five young roosters resulting from a school hatching program, 2015|
Rooster behaviour can be complicated. Communal living works for some, while others will literally fight to the death and need to be housed in separate accommodation for their own safety and that of other Sanctuary residents. This can make management of large numbers of roosters a challenge.
Each rooster has his own distinct personality. Many enjoy a cuddle and pat and look forward to fresh apples from the orchard with their morning grain. The stories of some roosters can be quite sad. Over half have been found dumped in regional parks and are in poor condition. Some were fortunate to have been found before being attacked by foxes or birds of prey. Other roosters have come to us well loved, with owners unable to keep them due to complaints from neighbours about their crowing.
Sadly, there will always be more roosters than Sanctuaries can assist, but we will continually work towards providing more space for these unloved bachelors and attempt to re-home them wherever possible. We promote rooster collars for people committed to keeping their roosters. When used safely and with supervision, these can reduce crowing significantly, facilitating urban dwelling roosters to remain at home.
|Timothy helping out in the office|
If you can home a rooster, or know of someone who can, please let us know. Donations to contribute to more rooster housing are also welcomed, allowing us to give one more rooster a second chance.
|PVAS stall with public education roosters, 2015|