Many people associate roosters with being aggressive nightmarish birds recalled as the barnyard terrors we encountered on our grandparents’ farm. Sadly, roosters are often type cast into this role by an unfair association.
Roosters are amazing creatures, worthy of admiration. Recent breeding methods have changed as the backyard chicken movement has exploded and evolved. The selective breeding methods by many breeders have yielded roosters better suited for the backyard setting. In our grandparents’ day, when a flock was kept for food be it meat or eggs, a defensive rooster was needed. However, chickens today are kept more often as pets that have the benefit of making breakfast.
The breeding industry has responded, breeding for behavioral trait qualities such as docile, calmness and friendly. Many breeds available today have roosters that possess these qualities. Breeds like the Polish, Silkie, Cochin and Orpington all are breeds that are widely available that typically have well behaved roosters. I have all of these breeds and can validate for good behavior in roosters of the aforementioned breeds.
Don’t get me wrong, roosters have a job to do and take it seriously, but most backyard flocks have well-behaved gents. Sometimes, a rooster can be so well-behaved that they are for all purposes useless.
How can a rooster be useless, you may be wondering. Allow me to introduce you to Pantaphobia, the useless rooster.
He is afraid of food:
Pantaphobia is not the fear of pants, it’s the fear of everything, including pants. As his name suggests, Pantaphobia is afraid of absolutely everything. He is afraid of ordinary mundane things chickens often encounter in their environment, such as bugs. While the other chickens in the flock can be seen chasing a juicy morsel like a fly or a moth, Pantaphobia is often running from these meals to go. Since he is also afraid to go into the coops, this also means that he does not partake of the food readily available in the feeders. He lives on weeds, grass, worms, and other morsels that he can find crawling on the ground.
He never hunts for the girls:
One of the necessary things that a rooster does for his flock is a food search. A rooster will take it upon himself to actively look for morsels for the girls to eat. Once he finds something of value, he calls his girls over to partake in his hard work. It is by evolutionary design that a rooster knows that the hens need extra nutrition to sustain the flock population. If there is anything left, only then will he eat. A rooster is a self-sacrificing soul, caring more for his hens than himself. He is more concerned about their welfare than his. Pantaphobia is quite the opposite. He spends most of the day occupying himself with hunting for grubs in the grass, but he has no interest in sharing with anyone, including the hens.
One thing that a rooster is supposed to be able to do very well is mating with the hens. In Pantaphobia’s case, this too is something that he elects not to participate in. He will never approach a hen with the intent to try to woo her for a date. He simply ignores the hens and occupies his time looking for grubs to dine on. For this reason, he never gets into many confrontations with the other roosters in the flock. He simply keeps to himself, hunting and pecking his way through the day.
He never warns the flock of danger:
It is a rooster’s primary job to keep an eye on the skies, constantly scanning for danger. While out in the yard with the rest of the flock, it is the other gents that keep watching for any threats. If the alarm is sounded, Pantaphobia will run for cover along with the hens. He will not attempt to protect the girls from the imminent threat like the other roosters in the flock. He simply runs and hides till the “all clear” is announced.
He hardly ever crows:
If there is one attribute that is always associated with roosters, it’s crowing. Roosters crow for many reasons, to establish dominance in the flock, to check in with the other roosters when free ranging, to warn the flock of danger, and just because they can. Pantaphobia, on the other hand, has no interest in this time-honored tradition. He will sometimes crow in the mornings as dawn moves over the land, but other than that, nothing. He is the quietest rooster that I have ever had. Early on, I wondered if he was a hen, but there is no question, anatomically and definitively he is a rooster.
So, why keep him?
You may be wondering why I would hang on to such a useless rooster. Well, here on The Kuntry Klucker Farm, I allow my ladies and gents to live out their natural lives. I keep Pantaphobia for the same reason that I keep my senior hens who are no longer laying, all have value. Although he performs absolutely no service for the flock, he is still a delight to watch.
Additionally, he is a White Crested Polish, my favorite breed. The Polish have the habit of being flock comedians, due to their head crests that obscure their vision. Pantaphobia does not disappoint in this department. While the other Polish residents have figured out what to be afraid of and what not to fear, Pantaphobia has not. The other Polish members will actively chase after a flying treat, Pantaphobia will run in terror. You have not adequately spit out your coffee till you see a rooster run from a butterfly.
While he may be useless in every other sense of a rooster’s role in the flock, he is not a disappointment when it comes to the entertainment value. In this respect, I got my money’s worth and then some.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. While most of today’s roosters are well-behaved (a far cry from the game-like aggressive breeds of yesterday), roosters come in all personalities. Some make good caretakers of the hens, others not so much. A rooster is a creature that it is worthy of respect and admiration, even those who are a bit of the special needs variety.
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