Frustrated? Exhausted? Having sleepless nights because of a rooster crowing in a nearby tree?
There's ways to solve the problem, short of the "Harry Powell solution" (clean shot to the head) or the "Lucretia Borgia solution," (poisoned food)-- both of which are highly illegal in Key West.
Here's a secret: Roosters can dish it out but they can't take it. They really hate to be awakened in the middle of the night. That may be why they are crowing at night-- in response to the alarm clock of someone on the night shift, or a burglar alarm, or a motion-sensor light tripped by a passer-by. Or they may be responding to another cock who is responding to an alarm clock creating a daisy-chain effect which has roosters sounding off at all hours, city-wide.
Chickens are creatures of habit. They will return to the same patios day after day where cat food is regularly served, and they will roost in the same tree for generations, if left undisturbed. If you have a rooster problem, look around and see where they are eating, and where they are sleeping at night. Ficus trees are a favorite. There will be abundant chicken droppings on the ground below their favorite limb.
Don't leave cat or dog food out all day. It is a generous gesture, but one that only invites trouble. Pets can learn to eat at certain hours. Leftovers attract not only chickens but also raccoons, roaches and rats.
Most roosters will find a new night roosting spot when they discover they are no longer safe on their habitual perch. You dont' need to wait for them to crow. At sundown, harass them until they move. Shine lights on them. Target them with a Super-soaker. Flash an umbrella out the window at them. Punch a paper sack or balloon.
If you want to keep penned roosters, be a good neighbor and prevent your animal from crowing at night. Cover its cage or keep it in a dark room so your bird's sleep will not be disturbed by those annoying car alarms, security lights . . . and other insomniac chickens.
Do you have someone on your list who's impossible to buy for? How about a gift certificate to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) with a special cat or dog ornament as an SPCA "thank you"?
Here's a list of certificates and how far your gift can go:
$5 buys a large box of milkbones or catnip toys;
$10 buys a large dog bone or treat or a cat-scratching post;
$15 buys food for a month for one dog or testing a cat for Feleuk/FIV;
$20 buys shampoo for bathing puppies for a month or feeds all cats in the playroom for a week;
$25 buys a dog bed or spay surgery for a cat;
$40 buys a spay surgery for a small dog or Advantage flea protection for cats;
$50 buys enough food for all the cats and dogs in the shelter for a day!
$75 buys a spay/neuter for a large dog or a cat gymnasium for the office cats;
$100 buys Frontline flea and tick prevention for the dogs or cat litter for a week;
$150 buys initial Heartworm treatment for a shelter dog or a large condo tree for the cat playroom;
$200 buys emergency after-hours veterinarian care for a cat or dog;
$500 buys 20 tons of pea gravel for the playyard or new cat cages.
The Shelter also welcomes all donations of dog or cat food. Bring a bag to put under the tree! Info: 294-4857.
For more information on gift-giving, memberships, or animal adoptions, call the FKSPCA at 294-4857, Monday through Friday, 9-6, or on Saturday, 9-2.