When we received the message that Washington County Animal Control was bringing a rooster for us to assess and provide temporary shelter, we had no idea what we were in store for...18 pounds of a gloriously handsome, white rooster that was shy but gentle. With his size, we suspect he is Giant Jersey (breed). He was found wandering along a road in Jonesborough, Tennessee. But the thing was he could not fly. So how did he escape? Or did he?
Our medical staff noticed swelling of the right leg, instability when walking, exaggerated head shaking, poor feather condition, feces matted to his feathers, and a raw, featherless abdomen. Dr. Brooke Jones did her magic and discovered that the right leg thankfully was not broken. The swelling just involved his soft tissue, and this was a chronic condition. She did notice however that his cervical vertebrae just below his skull had a peculiar appearance. It was obvious that his neck was traumatized at some point involving his spine.
We kept the rooster in our avian quarantine area observing his behavior. Dr. Brooke also noted that he sounded raspy or was wheezing especially if stressed. We did everything to minimize any stress while he adjusted to his new situation. Dr. Brooke prescribed various medications to help with internal parasites and a possible upper respiratory infection.
It was apparent that this gorgeous rooster was not used to having room to move about. He stayed in one area and barely walked around to explore even after moving to a large enclosure. Why was this?
Well, determining what happens to an animal that cause them to end up at a rescue like ours is like trying to put together a puzzle without all of the pieces. Was he kept in a small enclosure where he could not walk around? That would explain his excess weight, his raw abdomen, his matted and damaged feathers. And that would certainly explain why it took him weeks to feel secure enough to explore his new home.
If you haven't guessed by now, we obviously fell head over heels for this gentle soul. We got the okay from Washington County Animal Control to officially adopt him into our Tilted Tavern family. Our rooster continued to improve. He began to trust us and greet us with his spectacular Cock-A-Doodle-Do.
Yet his wheezing didn't go away completely. And the mystery of the neck trauma? This could definitely explain his continued raspiness and his exaggerated head twisting. But what caused the trauma?
While we will never know for sure, putting the puzzles pieces together as best as we can leads us to suspect he was caged and meant to be eaten. Whoever had him before attempted most likely to dislocate his cervical vertebrae to dispatch him. When that didn't work, they abandoned him along a road...alone and scared. And then through the kindness of our local animal control officer, he found his way home...To rule the roost at Tilted Tavern. So meet our gloriously handsome Dr. Pecker lovingly named by our staff and volunteers.