Friday, July 10, 2009


Meet Henry. He's a Speckled Sussex Rooster and he's my favorite.

He was the first to start his comb and wattle and for a first time chicken-owner, made it easy for me to spot which was the male from a group of straight-run chicks.

He's very tame and lets me hold him and he settles down in my arms and goes to sleep. His beak will rest on my chin and I can feel his warm breath. I never imagined I would come to like a chicken as much as I do Henry.

Here's the sad thing.

Henry is on the bottom of the chicken pecking order.

From my research, that means he gets pecked and cannot peck back.

See his eye? (above) I think he got pecked in the eye and he seems to not be able to see out of that eye. His other eye looks fine.

Here, the chickens are doing their usual chicken business. It's like they're the popular crowd in high school and where's poor Henry?

All the way over there, all by his lonesome.
Poor Henry.

That red rooster in the middle is a Rhode Island Red and he takes his job very seriously.
We call him Rocky. (We watched 'Chicken Run' a little too much and borrowed the name from there.. Rocky Rhode? Get it?)

He keeps all his women in check, sometimes even Archie the cat! (that's the other speckled sussex rooster on the right, not Henry)

When they all go to bed at night in the coop, sometimes a hen isn't quite ready to go to bed yet and pops back out. Rocky comes running after her, as if to say,

"Get your feathered butt back in the house!"

Oldest cracks up when we say that.


Here's the thing:: Out of 11 chickens we have 5 roosters and 6 hens. Rocky has taken the lead and has proven to be very good at his job. The one Buff Orpington rooster has been challenging Rocky but so far, Rocky remains on top. There is another Speckled Sussex rooster and both Rhode Island Reds are roosters.

Obviously, there are too many roosters and I have to pick which are destined for the dinner table. I hate to do Henry, as he is my favorite and I really wanted him to be the father of all my future chicken babies. Go ahead and laugh, but I really love him and I want him to have a good life, not a life where he gets pecked on and spends his day all alone, either in the yard or in the coop by himself.

Any chicken experts out there? Any suggestions? If I get new baby chicks and separate them with Henry, will he be King of the Roost or will it be a waste of time?

Did I ruin it for Henry by favoring him over the others? Did they smell human on him and shun him for betraying his chicken-ness?
My uncle tells me I would be wasting my time and to go ahead and take him and the 3 others to be butchered. Is he right? Is there no future for Henry?


Carol said...

Awwww, poor Henry!! I can't believe that they peck on him...wee soul!!

I don't know anything about chickens but I have a friend that has owned chickens for years so I shall e-mail her and see if she has any suggestions.

C x

Karen Mayes said...

I am wondering if the rootsers could be hired as "studs" for other hens owned by other people? Stupid question, I know... showing my ignorance of farm animals, huh? ;o)

Stephanie D. said...

I wish I knew the answer. Poor Henry. Must they always be macho to be in charge?

I don't think I could eat him, either.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Your uncle is right, but you still have to decide what you want to do. Unfortunately Rocky is doing his job well, if you have a predator attack, Rocky will defend his flock to the end. Henry probably wouldn't. If you keep him for breeding he will be passing on his beauty and probably his passiveness too. You just have to decide what you want in your flock. Another thing too, is maybe his testosterone levels may be low too, and so he doesn't want to fight and he might not be a strong breeder either.

It's never easy to own animals, because hard decisions have to be made. They are animals, not people. It's a toughie, When our dear Gregory Peck got killed by an owl, we were sad for months!

Deaf Animals said...

How about finding a home who will let Henry live out his life? There are some people who want one for a pet and ther are homes who will not have their roosters or hens butchered.

It is possible Henry would do fine with just chicks who grew up with just him and become hens. There'll be no roosters to force him out.

Just a thought.


Deaf Animals said...

One more thing. I have a friend who lives on a 100 acres of land in Pennsylvania. He doesn't butcher any of his roosters or hens. He also does rescue and help find some a home.

If you want to find him a home to live out his life, I can talk with him about taking Henry in. Do not hesitate to let me know!


Deaf Animals said...

The person who lives on 100 acres of land is willing to adopt Henry and let him live out his life. He has several pens. This way, you'll always get an update about your beloved rooster :)

Email me at if this is something you would consider. Transportation can be worked out.


Karen Mayes said...

I think it's great of Katherine to offer a helping hand. I do hope that things will work out great for Henry. keep us posted... or not, it's up to you.