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Noel’s Story

Noel And The Pullets

Noel and the Pullets

A Little Love Story

Today I’m going to share a LONG story with you about Noel. It’s gonna get a little sad and depressing in the middle but, I promise, it gets better at the end. This rooster has had a seriously rough time lately but things are definitely looking up for him now.

First, a little backstory.

Noel has always been sort of an anxious fellow and he’s always been low to middling in the pecking order. Before I split my extra roosters from the main flock into their bachelor pad, Noel was a loner. The only other chickens he really spent any time with were our hen Ruby and occasionally our rooster Rederick (who was also a loner). Our head rooster in the main flock, Eleven, used to chase him and pull out his neck feathers. Noel was completely terrified of him and would sprint out of the coop every morning to get away from him.

Eleven is a great rooster in every other way, he really didn’t like his little brother Noel though.

When the move to the bachelor coop happened, Noel gained freedom from his tormentor but lost both of his friendly connections as well. Rederick initially moved to the bachelor coop but ended up not being able to get along in there and had to go live with the main flock again after a big fight with Margaret. Eleven, can keep him in line and does so without resorting to violence.


After the move the bachelor coop, Noel initially seemed relieved and relaxed. He walked around eating everything in sight without having to constantly look over his shoulder for his brother, Eleven. Eventually, as the other boys settled in, a new pecking order was established and the small grace period Noel had been given evaporated. He was now the lowest rooster in the rooster hierarchy, before he was at least above Rederick. He started hiding in the coop for hours in the morning to avoid the other males with higher status than him. Rooster hormones run high first thing in the morning and right before bed and that’s when most of the squabbles and chasing happen. His staying in the coop allowed him to avoid all of the jostling completely.

We were given a trampoline for Noel and I was hopeful it would make him feel more comfortable around the other roosters when he did come out of the coop. Being up on something is a sign of submission to a rooster and generally makes the other roosters leave you alone if they are chasing or picking on you. There was a trampoline in the pasture of Noel’s original flock and it was his safe space there to escape Eleven. I was hopeful it would be the same in the bachelor coop.


A week ago one of the roosters in the bachelor coop, Margaret, died suddenly of what appeared to be a heart attack. He was walking around being a chicken one second and gone the next. Of course, Noel had just finally decided to come out of the coop for the day just minutes before Margaret died and he was checking out the trampoline for the first time when it happened. The resulting hustle that happened in the next few minutes as I rushed in to tend Margaret (who was already gone just a minute after he collapsed) scared him and he flew away into the woods.

After Margaret died, the pecking order needed to be settled yet again. Margaret was second in command and Ted wanted to make sure that he was going to take Margaret’s spot. Margaret and Ted were also best buddies so I’m sure some of Ted’s behaviour was fuelled by grief. Regardless, this was bad news for Noel again. Ted started picking on him to establish his dominance and Noel became increasingly anxious. His hiding time got longer and longer until he just wasn’t coming out of the coop at all.

We started taking Noel out for one on one time away from the other boys so that he had a chance to get some exercise and eat without worrying. He loved the hours he spent out with us but he’d often get attacked by Ted when we snuck him back into the coop after his little break so I’d have to close him in the coop until Ted was distracted enough to ignore him being there. Eventually Ted started going in and starting a fight with Noel as soon as I’d open the coop, no distraction was enough to keep him from attacking. Noel started flying out of their pasture to either hide from Ted or come find me and it got to the point where he was out more than he was in his designated space.

Through all of this, Noel was still sleeping in the rooster coop at night. He had to wait until Ted was on the roost and settled before he could go in the coop or else he’d get attacked (again). This meant he had to stay out WAY past the time he was comfortable being outside in the evening. Lucky would wait for Noel every night though to make sure he made it in safely.

Despite the fact that they couldn’t get along during the day, all three roosters would be snuggled together by the time morning rolled around. Initially there seemed to be a truce until the coop door was opened. Ted wouldn’t pick a fight as long as the door stayed closed. Eventually whatever truce kept Ted from attacking while the coop was closed up expired and he started picking on Noel as soon as the sun came up. 

This story is about Noel but can I just take a minute to say how awesome our boy Lucky is? Lucky is the head rooster in the boy’s coop. He would correct Ted when he got too pushy with Noel and break up fights anytime he could. He did his best to take care of Noel. Lucky is a really great rooster, we’re pretty “lucky” to have him. 😉

Anyway, a few days ago I decided to take the trampoline out of the rooster pasture, wrap it in chicken wire to make a pen and put Noel in it during the day. It was safer for everyone for him to be separated for a while. He was 6ft away from Lucky and Ted in the rooster pasture. Any closer was intolerable for either Noel or Ted. They could still see each other and interact from a distance if they wanted to and Noel had a chance to be outside and have some space where no one could physically harm him.

Although he complained whenever I was around, I sometimes saw him doing regular chicken things on camera when he thought I couldn’t see him. He was eating a little bit and I even saw him scratch in the leaves once or twice. Mostly he sat in one spot though.

The plan was to move the trampoline pen closer until it was back in the pasture and then (eventually, once everyone was comfortable) to try letting everyone live together again without the fences.

At this point, poor Noel had morphed into an anxious mess who was constantly in “flight mode”, ready to run from any real or imagined threat. He’d stopped grooming himself, stopped dust bathing, stopped crowing and mostly stopped eating and drinking. He’d been spending his days mostly sedentary for a couple of weeks. He lost weight and I was worrying that we were going to lose him soon. He seemed to be just fading away. All of the love and special attention he was getting from his people wasn’t helping anymore. The poor guy was seriously depressed.

Now, here’s where the happy ending starts.

Three days ago, Noel flew out of the rooster pasture as usual to escape Ted and made his way over to the driveway where we’d take him for his one on one time. None of the other chickens can even see him over there so it was the best spot for him to have some alone time.

Yesterday, I had moved the little chicken tractor pen that the four Easter Egger pullets spend their days in to that area. The night before I had made arrangements to sell the four pullets because I had nowhere for them to live this winter if I couldn’t get them integrated into the main flock. I had tried several times to introduce them to Noel hoping that he’d take to them and that they could all live together this winter but he wasn’t interested in them at all. So, I gave up and decided to sell them.

A woman who had taken one of our baby roosters way back contacted me about them and I knew she’d provide a great home so we made arrangements for her to come get them. There was a chance she could come that evening but it ended up being too late so she was going to come the following weekend instead. Anyway, the pullets were near the driveway to make caring for them a little easier until they went to their new home.

Well, Noel saw those girls and it immediately became his duty in life to care for them. He spend that entire day feeding them through the fence, laying against the fence so they could snuggle up against him and keeping watch over them. The whole entire day they had his full attention and the girls ate it right up. They loved having him there with them too.  He started grooming himself again. He ate and drank normally. He got exercise and had a purpose and I saw the light come back into his eyes for the first time in weeks. He was actually happy for a change.

I’m awfully glad that it ended up being too late for the pullets to be picked up the evening before, Noel would have completely missed his chance at happiness.

At bedtime that night, after spending the day with the girls, he made it clear that he didn’t want to go back to sleep with Lucky and Ted. He initially wanted to come in the house and then decided to sleep on my lap when I told him that that wasn’t an option.

The little spare coop I was building was ready for someone to sleep in it and I thought he might choose to go there but I also set up a dog crate in the garage right next to the pen where the girls have been sleeping (since they have no coop yet) just in case.

As I put the girls in their pen in the garage Noel started to get anxious again and started pacing not knowing where he was going to sleep. I called him into the garage and showed him the crate so he knew it was an option. I was determined to let him choose where he wanted to sleep. Well, that rooster ran right into the crate, hopped up on the roost and started chatting to the girls like he’d been doing it every day of his life and then settled down on the roost to sleep next to them. No stress. No fighting. Easy. I checked on him a few times but he never moved off the roost all night. He was happy there.

I did my best to explain to Lucky that Noel wasn’t coming to sleep with them that night and he went into the coop like he understood me. I’m sure he actually didn’t but it certainly seemed like he understood.

Ted, of course, didn’t miss him one bit.


Yesterday morning when I went out to let everyone out for the day, I heard a crow from the garage! Not gonna lie, I teared up a bit hearing him crow again after being silent for so long. Once again he dedicated his entire existence to those four pullets for the whole day. Never going more than a few feet from them. He’s eating and drinking and grooming and dust bathing and crowing again, just like the old Noel. He went to bed in the crate next to the girls in the garage again and had another great night in there.

Today, he’s still taking care of them and when I go outside he comes running to see me like a dog all excited to chatter away about what’s been happening while I wasn’t there. He even brought me a gift again today, a scrap of plastic canvas material that he found somewhere. Noel is happy again and 1000% in love with those four girls.


Now obviously, I can’t separate him from these pullets after all he’s been through. I think it might actually be what finishes him off if I did. So I contacted the woman who was supposed to come buy the girls this weekend and explained the situation to her. Thankfully she was really understanding and the girls are staying here with Noel. Eventually they will move into either Ginger and Shiro’s coop (when those two join the main flock) or they will move into the spare coop.

I’ll have to wait until the pullets are old enough to mate though before they can be together full time because Noel showed me yesterday that, although he loves them, he can’t control his urges to mate them and they just aren’t ready for that yet being only 16 weeks old. Hopefully it’s not a whole lot longer before they can be together without a fence between them. Until then, Noel and the girls are all super happy and Noel is learning that life isn’t terrible so that’s the most important thing. 


Wish this little harem luck in the future, I’d really love to see Noel happy and healthy with these four hens (left to right: Posie, Artie, Nemmy and Nyxie). Together they will make beautiful bearded babies who will lay blue or green eggs. If you buy Easter Egger chicks from me next spring, this little group will be their parents.

I’m sure you’ll see lots of updates on Facebook and Instagram on this little love story. ❤️

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About The Author

I’m Krystal and I’m one of those quirky, super-introverted folks that’s in legit danger of becoming a hermit. You know the type. I generally leave the mountain once a week for provisions, fill the car to the brim with chicken feed, shavings, groceries and any building supplies I need, and then hurry back home where it's quiet and less people-y.

Working to turn our property into micro farm with gardens and chickens has become my passion. On any given day you're pretty much guaranteed to find me outside doing something if you happen to stop by. Whether it's building (yet another) chicken coop or some other project I've dreamed up, cleaning out the coops I've already made, working in the garden or just spending time with the chickens you'll find me outdoors most of the daylight hours, every single day. If you happen to catch me indoors, I'm probably either in the kitchen or in a heap of papers planning my next project.

We are a homeschooling family and I homeschool my 11 year old son. We love the freedom it gives the whole family.

When I'm not doing any of the above, you can find me working on a website design project for a client. Over the spring/summer I take very limited bookings because things are so busy but I get back to it in the fall/winter months when the garden is gone and the chickens go to bed early. If you're curious, you can check out my design work at

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