Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2021  
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  Sad Tale of an Urban Rooster
April 28, 2021

Can someone help us rehome a rooster? It’s either that or coq au vin.

Here is the sad story.

On September 12, 2020, someone cruised through my Point Richmond neighborhood and dropped off an unwanted rooster on the street. Richmond Municipal Code Section 15.04.610.070 states, “Prohibited Animals. No predatory wild animals, roosters, endangered animals, or protected animals are allowed to be kept within the City,” putting roosters in the same category as alligators, grizzly bears, bald eagles and platypuses. Whether said rooster was the surprise maturation of a once cuddly chick of gender mystery or a beloved family pet no longer tolerated by neighbors will never be known.

With remarkable self-confidence and self-reliance, the rooster took up residence in the narrow strip of hillside separating Buena Vista Avenue from East Scenic Avenue, scratching for bugs and periodically announcing his presence with a hearty “cock-a-doodle-do.”

My son, Daniel, noticed him and posted on Nextdoor, “Anyone missing a chicken, Buena Vista Avenue.”

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Figure 1 - Yet unnamed rooster scratching out a living between Buena Vista and East Scenic Avenues

Over the next week Nextdoor lit up with over 40 comments and photos on multiple strings, including:

  • We fed him some wild bird seed and slightly past their best days strawberries today and he was pretty hungry. REALLY thirsty. He did not understand how to drink out of a dish but drank frantically out of an upside down water bottle. Poor guy. I looked online and found hen rescues but none for roosters. Anyone know of any.
  • _____, you should take the poor guy in.
  • Here is a nice shot of Mr Rooster

Figure 2 - A handsome bird

  • _____ wants to, but our dog strenuously objects. Our near neighbors likely would too if he crows early!!
  • We had two beautiful roosters but some non-country neighbors bitched to the gestapo so now they live at Berkeley Marina!!!
  • Doesn’t that house at the top of Tunnel on the east side have a big yard with w/ a big chicken coop? (Below the East Scenic retaining wall and all the foliage?) Maybe The Rooster escaped from there...or maybe they could take him in.
  • One thing is certain, he won't last long on this planet on his own......
  • Anyone missing a rooster? There’s a white rooster on the vacant lot for sale on Scenic Ave. (near Buena Vista Ave.) We saw him a few days ago, looking a little lost. Since then, he’s been kindly waking us up at 6am. Does he belong to anyone??
  • Oh, yeah - I saw him? yesterday evening when I drove by and forgot to post up. I thought it was a hen. It's LARGE, and gorgeous.
  • Seen yesterday afternoon by me. Same location. Beautiful feathers.
  • asking some Petaluma friends if they can take him
  • He is a really good looking rooster, fairly trusting toward people. We have a kennel we could try to lure him into with food and water.
  • _____ went to feed and check on the rooster this morning and he was not there. Hope he found someone kind.
  • He was there; I saw him twice. Put out more food and water. He is drinking from the bowls. He was just down the slope scratching for bugs. I have a crate right next to my garage.
  • There is another string about this rooster...
  • Found white Chicken on East scenic near the hairpin turn. This chicken is walking there right now; it looks like someone left food and water out for it so there must be someone searching, or maybe just looking out for it. It’s friendly, walked right up to my dog and me. My dog was trembling with excitement (Even though she totally ignores turkeys – she pretends not to see them, probably because they are taller than she is)

Figure 3 - Rooster on the shoulder of East Scenic Avenue

  • There’s another posting thread about him too -Apparently he’s been around for a few days.
  • I thought I saw a poster in my area referring to this chicken as fluffy. City center area. I'll see if I can find the poster again
  • Poor little lost guy. I call him Rudy the rooster. I hope the owner claims him soon.
  • It’s sad that no one wants a rooster. He was probably dumped when his gender was discovered. He is just discovering his crow that he shares with the neighborhood at dawn and dusk.
  • Oh yes, I just saw him and posted, not having seen this post first. He walked right up to me and my dog
  • If you end up hanging on to him until he is placed we have chicken food I can drop off to you if you need some.
  • Sorry guys struck out with Petaluma peeps. Have reached out to a friend of a friend in Pacifica.
  • Lynne at Milo said she could take him, but it'll need to be after the sanctuary survives the fire. So if we could keep him safe for a while, he has a future home!

Then disaster struck! On September 15, 2020. A person walking a dog off-leash allowed his dog to attack the rooster, and mayhem resulted. The rooster was across the street from us on East Scenic when squawks from the dog attack alerted our dogs who ran to the fence along East Scenic but could go no further. Our crow, Covid, joined the dogs, but being airborne was not stopped by the fence, and joined in the fray, ultimately succeeding in scaring off the attacking dog. Although Covid was successful in thwarting the attack, Ironically, this was the last day we saw him, as he flew off to join the wild crows – mission accomplished.

Figure 4 - Covid the corvid, the day before breaking up the dog attack on the rooster

My neighbor subsequently reported, “Only feathers on the ground now.”

My son, Daniel, followed up with, “He was attacked by a dog and injured, but does not seem to have puncture wounds or anything broken. A neighbor rescued him and he is temporarily in a recovery pen in my garage.”

Another neighbor added, “he still has a hard time putting weight on his leg, but seems to be improving. I secured an old coop I have and he is resting there now.”

And finally, Daniel posted, “Update: Fred (who was nearly dead - my kids named him) is fully recovered and doing great.”

Figure 5 - The rooster, now called "Fred'" recuperating from dog attack

Well, this story almost had a happy ending, The handsome rooster they named Fred came to live with a flock of hens.

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Figure 6 - Fred with hen

We thought Fred had found a home where he could live happily ever after, but it was not to be. A neighbor was offended by Fred’s melodious dawn greeting and called City Code Enforcement, who invoked Richmond Municipal Code Section 15.04.610.070.

Fred needs a new home outside the City. Can anyone help?

Fred is a Brahma breed of rooster, very docile and very sweet. From Wikipedia, “The Brahma is an American breed of chicken. It was developed in the United States from birds imported from the Chinese port of Shanghai, and was the principal American meat breed from the 1850s until about 1930.” And, “Brahmas are extremely friendly (including the roosters). And it goes on as they grow older. Brahmas wouldn't hurt a fly (except maybe probably, a real fly). They're the most docile birds we've had around… even the roosters are in no way frightening, ever.”