This particular 4 month old Ameraucana rooster was listed as 'free to a good home' by the original Charlie, a kind hobby farmer in nearby Kingston. I helped catch him all brimming with braggadocio as he showed off in front of a brood of hens. A fine specimen, his plumage was less plain the closer you looked, layers of subtly iridescent purples and blues.
On arrival home, Sanha fetched the camera to record the release. Sunim came over, and Osaek, finally Achala, with his little dog Chi-Chi in tail. Needles to say reality here clashed with our naive expectations. As I released him in front of our hens he bolted in the opposite direction. Chi-Chi chased after him. Thoroughly spooked, he ran next to the wood shop, Chi-Chi yapping close behind as Achala and Osaek chased him around the shop. It was a veritable shit-show. He spent the first night up a tree.
Sanha brought a hen to the foot of the tree, but he showed no interest. All the food we laid out in and around the barn went uneaten. We tried a number of things, one evening me and Osaek hauled the chicken coop over to where he was most frequently spotted and made it as inviting as possible, complete with fresh watermelon.
Feeling parental yet ignorant, that we should know what is best and impose it, after all we were charged with his care. Meanwhile our clumsy efforts had driven Charlie into the thick brush behind the barn. Farmer Charlie said he was happy it was us he ended up with, little did he know. We were off to a bad start I told Osaek.
Then one day Charlie showed up in the back yard, he had cornered himself. There are two easy ways to catch a rooster it seems, one is as he roots at night, the other is with two people and a corner, as we did on the first day. Too easy! And this may be our last chance.
But to my surprise the very idea of catching him was not a universal given, and I got no assistance. I thought just as it's his job to run, it's our job to chase him. But now instead we'll just let him be. Let him camp out as Sanha put it, and enjoy his freedom.
After this Sanha and Osaek picked out another rooster, Linus. I hate to sound too partial but he's definitely no Charlie. Each morning and evening Charlie crows, and we know he's OK. He still hangs around, appearing here and there. Our hope now is that he will settle in naturally at his own pace and in the mean time to stay safe from danger.