To the editor:
I grew up on a chicken farm in Pennsylvania. We were small, as chicken farms went, and never had more than 1,000 chickens at a time. We rarely had roosters because the wholesaler would not pay as much for fertilized eggs (there’s a spot on the yolk that identifies a fertile egg). I learned a lot about chickens in my youth and even had up to 25 at my home in Andover so my children would learn something about livestock.
We didn’t intentionally buy roosters, but occasionally got one in the lot of chicks I bought. When he started to crow, the nostalgia actually relaxed me and seldom woke me in the morning. However, our next door neighbor was not soothed, but irritated by our crowing rooster.
For those of your readers who are having problems with a crowing rooster, there is a solution that does not involve killing the rooster. Roosters need to stretch their necks in order to crow. So each night, after my chickens had roosted, I picked up the rooster and put him under a crate that wasn’t tall enough for him to stretch and crow — problem solved. In the morning, when I released him, he would crow continuously for a half hour as if to make up for lost time, but that was after our neighbor was up for the day.
By the way, I’m not surprised that people complained that neighborhood roosters sometimes crowed at 2 a.m. If the chickens are kept in a pen with windows, a bright, full moon will trigger the crowing. My chicken pen didn’t allow this, but, I suspect that, if the enclosure could be completely darkened at night, the rooster would not crow. The crate is a more sure way to guarantee no crowing.
I hope this helps some of your readers who have neighbors that complain about their crowing roosters.