This a story that happened in the past but is way too good to pass up telling. This is the story of how we got our Rooster, Brewster.
After two hawk attacks, I read that adding a rooster to your flock can increase protection from birds of prey. Apparently roosters will keep an eye up for danger and set off warning calls to take cover when hawks are present. Perfect! Just what we need.
Joe decided he wanted one of the classic Kellogg Cereal Box looking Roosters, a Welsummer.
We searched long and hard and lucked out one Friday night when we saw an ad on Craigslist, in our own town, for a 5-month old Welsummer rooster needing a new home! Wow! This is a sign! No need to travel across Wisconsin or compromise with the breed! We instantly emailed them and set up a time the next morning to come collect him. So excited, we went to bed, woke up early and jumped in the truck with the dog crate in the back.
(This is a long story, but bear with me)
We arrived at a small property that had chickens and a huge garden surrounding a unique house. We were greeted by the owners and chatted with them for quite a while. We ended up having so much in common. We talked gardening, land clearing and chicken raising. What a great couple. So the time came to collect the rooster and head home. The lady explained that the rooster was hen raised and not handled at all, so they were going to corner him into the coop and use a fishing net to catch him. Wow, I pick up all my chickens and pet them, we may have our hands full with this guy.
So after half an hour of rounding up this rooster that they called “Wellie,” we finally got him in the dog crate in the back of the truck. The owners started asking, “How are you going to quarantine him? We weren’t sure…
Being the super nice, awesome, couple that they are, they offered us their small mini coop on wheels to take. We just had to bring it back after we acclimated him. We told them we’d have to come back for it since Wellie was taking up the back of the truck in the dog crate, and that Joe and my father-in-law (who were arriving that afternoon from Chicago) would come later that afternoon to get it.
So, off we headed with the rooster in the back and a few bags of corn they gave us. We were just thrilled to pieces! What a great experience, what a great couple, we were just besides ourselves with excitement!! Joe decided he was going to name his rooster Brewster. I thought, oh that’s a cute rhyming name. Then he explained to me the name came from an old joke his Uncle told him that involves a horny bird… Which you may read here.
We pull in our driveway and park the truck. We unload the dog crate with Brewster in it and set it down. Joe goes to get Basil from the back, and I go get some water and food for him. And this was the start of the disaster…
I bend down, open the cage and reach in to put the water in and Brewster, being scared, threatened, stressed and who knows what else, jumps (flies) up and over my arm and out he went! SHIT! OMG!! I immediately start chasing him. He can run and fly, he is not a sweet little babied hen like my chickens. He took off straight up the hill and into the woods!
I ran after him as best I could, being in shorts and flip flops, jumping over wild, thorny raspberry bushes, I just couldn’t keep up. I lost him. 😦
By this time, Joe came out front with Basil with a look of shock and confusion on his face as I explained what had happened. I never felt so terrible in my life. I had the reaction of a 4-year old and started sobbing. Brewster was gone. He made it to the farm for 5 minutes and now he’s gone. I took Basil up into the woods to try and find him and flush him out but unlike other times, we came up empty handed.
How awful! My in-laws were about to arrive any minute, we were supposed to go back to get Brewster’s temporary home from the nicest people we’ve met. Oh God, I was mortified. What were we going to tell Them? “Yup, we got home and didn’t listen to what you said about him being hen raised and we lost him. Sorry. So much for giving him to someone that would give him a nice home!”
I finally calmed down enough to where Joe would finally speak to me and he decided, lets just give it till the end of the day, maybe he’ll come back, then he’ll call the farmers and tell them what happened. I really didn’t want to tell them what happened, I felt so embarrassed.
So, I spent the day listening for Brewster, trying to follow any rustling sound in the woods that I thought I heard but by the end of the day came up empty handed. To make things worse, when we got back from dinner, Joe got an email from them saying how grateful and excited they were for “Wellie” to be at our farm. They had such a nice time chatting with us and wanted to know how he was settling in…
The guilt was tearing me up!
Somehow I fell asleep that night and awoke Sunday morning to my chicken forums I read and post on to get advice regularly. I started researching on how to get your rooster back. Apparently and thankfully, I am not the only one! I couldn’t believe how many people out there have similar stories to mine! Most people suggested putting out a live trap. Some said if you can see him but just can’t catch him, wait until sundown. Then keep your eye on him and wait until he roosts for the night in a tree. Chickens become nearly blind at night, which is why they always return to their coop when at sundown. Others said the hens would maybe entice him back on his own…
So, I set out a live trap, hoping that would do it. All day I checked it and it was empty. I tried tossing my hens into the wooded brush hoping he would still be there watching and become attracted to one of the ladies…
I stopped hearing things in the woods and by the end of the day started coming to terms with the fact that he was in fact gone, probably something’s dinner at this point.
*Hang in there, we are just getting to the good part I promise!!***
So, Monday comes, remember this all started Saturday morning. Monday happened to be Joe and I’s 2nd wedding anniversary, also Labor Day, so we had another day to ourselves to recuperate from our rooster disaster.
Laying in bed, I hear a cock-a-doodle-do…I thought OMG that has got to be my imagination… then, I heard it again and Joe heard it too! He’s still here!!! Brewster!!!!! I run to the door, (only a few feet away) and start scanning the yard for him! I run back in and tossed on my flip flops and dashed back out. Nothing. Nothing at all. I couldn’t see him, I couldn’t hear him…Ugh, this was my chance! Came and went… 😦
I pulled myself together again, trying to think rationally here. Maybe the trap will work, maybe he will find it and get caught. We still have a chance! We can now at least tell the folks we got him from he’s still alive and hanging around the property! Wow, 2 nights out in the woods by himself, I can’t believe he is still alive!! My hopes started to get high again.
The day went on, we did our thing, I checked the trap constantly and still no rooster. As the day was coming to an end, Joe and I were munching down some blue cheese bacon brats from town and some Spotted Cow beers in celebration of our anniversary on the front porch when we heard it.
We jumped up and there he was, down by the creek squawking and strutting along the brush! We couldn’t believe it. I instantly jumped up, grabbed the fishing net and ran down there. Joe tossed Basil inside (we didn’t think he would be helpful for this task) and ran through the house to the back. We were going to come at him from both sides (a pincer attack, Joe kept saying).
Joe told me to keep my eye on him, he was going to go throw on his rubber boots! I did as he said and before you know it, Brewster jumped up and flew over to the other side of the creek. I ran across the creek as best I could to try and keep an eye on him but ended up loosing site of him. This was labor day so the woods were totally overgrown. Profanity started flooding out of my mouth as Joe came running back. Damn it! This was our chance, all we had to do was watch him, follow him until he roosted for the night then catch him.
We searched around the other side of the creek, which is more woods and brush, for what seemed like forever and finally gave up. Sulking back to the house, we at least felt like we were getting closer to getting him. There is always tomorrow right…? So, I moved the trap closer to the creek in hopes of getting him tonight or early tomorrow morning and we went back up to the house to finish off our dinner.
*We’re getting to the end I swear…!!*
The sun was setting and I started closing up the coop as the girls were all settled in for the night. As I’m closing things up, I see something down the driveway by the creek…Here we go again! It was Brewster! He came out of the woods and looked to be trying to find a tree to roost in for the night! I screamed for Joe! He again put Basil inside and we slowly very slowly walked down the driveway towards him. We kept our distance, knowing our only chance was to let him roost then we’d net him.
We felt as if we were playing army guys, stalking this rooster! He finally found a branch to settle in on, thankfully only about 4 feet off the ground. We waited as it got darker and dark out, not taking our eyes off of him. Joe snuck away to go get flashlights, bugspray (and beer…) while I watched the black shadow on the branch.
Finally, after sitting for some time, we decided it was dark enough to make our move. Joe got the net ready and we started to make our way closer to him, tiptoeing the whole way. As we got closer though, he making some noise. He was nervous, as were we. Finally Joe made the move with the net. He swung the net up over his head to bring over a top of him…..and the net got stuck in the tree above!! Brewster leaped forward and got himself wedged into a crook of the tree. Joe was still trying to free the net from the tree and I just went for it.
I grabbed his tail feathers and held on for dear life! I pulled that poor little rooster out of that tree!!! Joe freed the net, I dunked him in, still holding on to his tail feathers, we together ran up the driveway jointly carrying this escape artist back to the garage!
We were beside ourselves. I couldn’t believe we got him! We got up to the garage, closed the garage door and transferred him into the dog crate he arrived in. We turned around and high-fived each other (like two dorks) and literally jumped up and down with joy!
Wow, what an ordeal! Two nights in the woods, three sightings and finally a catch! Brewster, welcome to the farm!!
We ended up telling the people the whole story and they just laughed! She thought the story was great and still let us come pick up the temporary coop. We were able to transfer him into that coop very cautiously and without having to grab him. We wheeled him out and parked him by the ladies’ coop so he could get used to where “home” was going to be and see the ladies without interrupting their routine.
Nothing will ever beat our 2 year anniversary adventures with Brewster! What a great end to such a disaster!