The Captain is an ex-cockfighting rooster who was seized from a cockfighting ring that was broken up in Colorado earlier this year. He and another rooster, named Nic (aka the Problem Child), were both rescued by Foreverland Farm, a small startup animal sanctuary in Ohio. There were 48 birds total that needed rescue and all of the birds eventually found placement all over the country. Brittney Kane, co-founder of the Sanctuary, saw a post on Instagram about roosters needing placement and immediately responded, offering to take in two of the roosters.
“We had no birds at the time and we have the room so I thought, why not? My wife (Leann) and I have zero experience with chickens and no knowledge of fighting roosters or how to rehab them, but we thought we could help so we did!” said Brittney.
The day the roosters arrived they both still had tethers attached to their ankles. Brittany and Leann were a bit tentative about how to handle the boys, since it was the first time they ever handled ex-cockfighting birds and weren’t sure what to expect. Their top priority was to get the awful teethers off of the roosters’ legs. Leann put on a set of gloves and a long-sleeve work shirt and pants---just in case. However, Brittany found that there was nothing to be scared of….
“Leann was holding The Captain as I was trying to remove the rope, and he started to fall asleep. I began to cry because it was so sweet and so symbolic of how he felt safe enough to relax in her hands knowing we were not going to hurt him,” said Brittney.
The Captain falling asleep in Leann’s arms (left photo) and the awful teether rope (right photo)
The Captain and Nic were housed next to each other, however in separate coops by themselves, without a joining fence line. This way they were able to see one another but remained separated, to prevent any possible fighting. Each coop had its own fenced in area for the boys to have access to free range.
The Captain and Nic in the background (left photo) and Nic (right photo)
“They occasionally will fight through the fence but it has decreased dramatically since they have been with us. They really enjoy being out roaming the yard, and typically keep to themselves. We have a lot of barn cats that roam around and some of our dogs roam around and there has never been a problem with them and the roosters,“ said Brittney.
Nic hanging out by the fence line (left photo) and The Captain talking with the barn kitty through the fence line (right photo)
Are they Really Fighters?
The Captain and Nic have distinctively different personalities. Both are handled regularly by Brittney and Leann. Besides the fact that their wattles and comb have been cut off (this is something traditionally done by people who use them for cockfighting), you would never have guessed either were in a cockfighting ring. They are sweet and enjoy attention from their humans.
The Captain is the more confident and laid back of the two, although he can occasionally get a little feisty when he gets excited about something, like when he is given his favorite treat—blueberries and corn! Every now and then Nic may instigate a feud with The Captain through the adjoining free range fencing. Whenever this occurs, Brittney and Leann will simply break it up, send them both back to their coops, and try again later.
The Captain (left photo) and Nic “Problem Child” (right photo)
“Eventually I discovered that they were more scared of me than I was of them. Now I am not scared of them and they aren't scared of me. Nic has taken a little more work, and is still a work in progress, but they are totally worth it. If you are scared or don't have the experience or think you can't work with roosters, you can! They are so sweet and funny and you learn as you go. They want the same things all other living creatures want, to feel loved and protected and that's the best thing we can offer!” said Brittney.
About Foreverland Farm
Foreverland Farm Sanctuary, located in Amelia, OH, is a startup microsanctuary that is home to the Lost Boys (rescued farm animals). Follow them on Instagram as they continue to grow - @foreverlandfarm!