Benny from Garden of Vegan sits down with Victoria from Head over Hooves Farm, a family run animal sanctuary located in northern NSW. In episode 2 of this short series, the pair dive deep into the life of a Rooster on the farm, in this case, Mr Clark Kent.
On Victoria's lap, you can see the beautiful Clark Kent. Clark Kent is the resident rooster on at the Head over Hooves farm. He was rescued from the pound where he ended up alongside a few other roosters. Victoria explained that Clarke is an amazing boy who takes so much pride in looking after his girls (or chicks) and is always keeping himself very busy.
Benny stated that in today’s society it's all about cats and dogs, being the most common out of the animal kingdom as companions for humans. Maybe because they are one of the easiest to care for. Other animals like roosters, pigs, lambs and so many more, get overlooked.
Benny explained that as many people transition to a vegan diet or a plant-based diet, they begin to discover a deeper love for all animals and living things, even those that aren’t cats or dogs. Benny also explained that each animal, irrelevant if it's a cat, dog or rooster, is so extremely beautiful and unique in their own way as they each have their own personalities.
Victoria then explained that Roosters are known for being neglected and for having the worst reputation out of all the animals from the farm animal kingdom.
She continued to explain that Roosters are known for being super heroic. A rooster will literally fight to the death to protect their girls. And by girls, Victoria is referring to their chicks or chickens. They spend the majority of their day finding food for their girls, watching over them and protecting them like no other species.
When a Rooster finds food for their girls or chicks, they do a little thing that is called Tidbitting. Tidbitting is where the Rooster will forage for food, then drop the food in front of their girls and continuously peck at it, picking it up and down, until they get the girls full attention. Once the girls are attentive, they will then stand tall and watch over them whilst they eat, protecting them from any unwanted threats or danger.
Roosters are very job focussed. Victoria stated that nothing will distract them from getting their job done, which is providing for and protecting their chicks.
Whilst Benny was interviewing Victoria, you get to bear witness to just how gentle and at peace Clarke Kent was on Victoria’s lap. Not aggressive or agile. Just hanging out.
Victoria reinforced just how gorgeous Clark Kent the Rooster is and that unfortunately not enough people understand how beautiful Roosters and Chickens can be. A very sad reality is that most Roosters are abandoned or killed, just like the fate Clarke may have faced if it wasn't for Head over Hooves picking him up from the pound.
Victoria explained that one result of this unfortunate fate is chick hatching projects. Chick hatching projects aim to provide a learning experience about chickens and their life cycle, however ending in neglect, abandonment and in some cases the death of the newly hatch chick. Victoria described that from the project hypothetically, 6 eggs may hatch and from that experiment you may get 3 Roosters. Roosters don't produce eggs, so in most cases, they cant and won't be keept.
Victoria said it really just comes down to showing and teaching people how loving and beautiful these birds actually are, so that they don't get treated inhumanely or exploited in the name of a hatching experiment.
You can adopt Roosters however, most council areas wont allow it if you're living in suburban or residential communities. If you are living out on a farm or in a rural or more remote area, then adoption is perfectly fine. If you do have Chickens, Victoria said that they will feel safer when there is a Rooster around watching over and protecting them. This may help the health of your Chickens and the surrounding ecosystem.
Victoria shared a story with Benny, of a time when she was up at a lookout and came across Peter Parker, another Resident Rooster at the Head over Hooves Farm. Peter Parker had been neglected and abandoned. He was dumped up there at the lookout, along with another Rooster. The body of Peter Parkers Rooster friend was found dead, with Peter was left scared and sick, hiding under a log. Victoria picked up Peter Parker and she is now caring for him and providing rehabilitation. She found that he had 16 paralysis ticks on his face and body and was completely emaciated from lack of food, water and nutrients. Victoria has been feeding him crops for days now, just trying to get him back on his feet.
The good news is that Peter Parker is doing really well, thanks to Victoria’s care.
Victoria stated that this is just another example of how these beautiful birds are mistreated and how they are abandoned and left for dead. They really, truly do deserve much better.
Benny posed something very interesting. He said that if something like that was to happen to a native bird or animal, the RSPCA would be onto it straight away to ensure they were cared for and rehabilitated. He wondered why people can't make that same connection or treat all living things with the same respect.
Everyone can look after these beautiful animals.
We can do our part by educating people about Roosters and how we can care for them safely and adopt them.
Victoria believes that it is so important to get rid of the stigma around these birds as they have gotten a bad wrap. Roosters have been known to be quite aggressive yet they are so unique and beautifully natured, just like Clarke Kent. “Clarke loves cuddles” according to Victoria.
Stay tuned for some more episodes with Victoria from Head over Hooves. You will get to meet more of the family and learn about what Head over Hooves is doing to help rehabilitate amazing farm animals like Peter Parker and Clark Kent.
To learn more about how you can help head to; https://www.headoverhooves.org/
Or reach out to Victoria on social media @headoverhoovesfarmhaven