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Review by (2014-10-12)

How to keep your rooster from crowing - no crow rooster collar

As one of the few urban residents with an actual back yard, Mrs. Feathers and I are very fortunate to have the best of both worlds. With $7 and a little bit of walking there is always a warm meal available somewhere nearby, we save gas by using bicycles, and our hearts go out to the poor souls who sit in 4 hours of traffic everyday.

There are definitely some drawbacks to the city life, however. Lousy air quality, dog poop has to be picked up, the constant threat of a zombie outbreak, and of course mowing the lawn naked is a big no-no. I used to have roosters up on the list of Babylon no-can's up until the day I picked up my third batch of chicks (silver laced Wyandottes) and noticed one of them slowly grow slightly bigger than the others. His comb came in early and initially took on a rockabilly crew cut appearance, so I named him Elvis.

Mrs. Feathers and I dreaded the day we would hear Elvis start to sing. For a long time he was very quiet good looking specimen, and his ladies followed him around everywhere. Maybe we would get lucky and have a silent rooster. Nope. Our hopes were dashed one day when he finally started to practice. It wasn't so bad at first but after about a week the backyard turned into his all-day concert venue and the show started promptly at 5:30 in the morning.

Having a crowing rooster is actually a big bonus in my book. It wakes us up early, which is a great way to start the day especially if you like getting in a surf session before work. He also helps keep the other girls in line. Chickens can be very mean to each other as I've learned with past flocks. He's not the friendliest to them sometimes, but his monopoly on violence is usually short, swift, and followed up by lots of sex which is better than the all-day henpecking that used to go on. We don't have many natural predators here, but a couple times small dogs have squeezed through the fence into our yard and hassled the birds. We're not sure if Elvis is the fighting type, but it's a little piece of mind that he's there in case Chubby the Chihuahua decides to come back for an unwelcome visit.

No Crow Rooster Collar or How To Keep Your Rooster Alive

Unfortunately none of these are a bonus for my neighbors, who's houses basically create a wall around the property. They are mostly the 9-5 types or stay-at-home parents who don't really need to wake up so early, and although they've been really cool so far I'd rather not push it. Part of surviving in the city is staying on good terms with those around you. People who look out for each other are much less likely to be victimized, suffer property damage, or end up in silly legal disputes that cost lots of unnecessary time, energy, and money. After doing a little research on the backyard chicken forums around the net, we found a possible solution called the No-Crow Rooster Collar from My Pet Chicken. At first we scoffed at the $14 price tag and opted to try a bodysurfing fin tether, but the material was too soft and only altered his pitch without significantly affecting the volume. Some people have had some luck cutting the ends off of baby
socks or using the 2" velcro straps, but with our vacation to Bali looming we were concerned about leaving him with an unproven restrictive device while our friends (not chicken people) were watching him. I put in the order a couple days before we left but it took a full two weeks for the collar to arrive, so plan accordingly.

Elvis, the non-singing rooster
Meet Elvis, the singing rooster.

The collar was waiting when we returned, and while our chicken-watching friend was not getting a lot of sleep he did mention scoring some glassy uncrowded waves on the early morning surf sessions and wasn't too upset about it. The collar has to be fairly tight to work, but it's designed with mesh in between three velcro strips so that it's breathable and flexible so he doesn't suffer too much. On the website they say no more than a pinky finger should be able to fit between the collar and his neck, but they must have really small pinky fingers. In our experience it takes two people to put on the collar properly, and we had to adjust it three times to get it snug enough to turn the ear-splitting roar into a sad choking gurgle. Apparently roosters inflate a separate chamber in the neck for crowing, so the collar doesn't restrict his ability to eat or make regular chicken noises. We feel sorry for him and maybe one day we can all relocate to a place where people appreciate an old school alarm clock, but at least for now he's not soup.

Our rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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