Red Roo: 16-Year-Old Maine Girl Takes in Unwanted Roosters

Posted by Allie Layos
Nevada Rooney holding rooster
All images by David Roza via The Ellsworth American

Roosters no one wanted are getting a second chance at a happy life thanks to this girl in Maine. 

It's no secret that roosters are not popular pets. They don't lay eggs and they often disturb neighbors with their loud crowing, so even chicken lovers rarely want to keep more than one. Since every batch of chicks seems to turn out more roosters than hens, unwanted roosters can often become a big problem.

That's why Nevada Rooney, a 16-year-old from Orland, Maine, founded Red Roo Rescue, to take care of -- and potentially find loving homes for -- roosters no one else wanted.

There are many rescues in her home state for dogs, cats, and even horses, but Red Roo may be the only one that specializes in roosters. While many of her roosters were dropped off because of their loud crowing, Rooney believes that they have a lot to offer. They eat bugs like ticks, protect hens, help create more chickens, and they're nice to look at.

two roosters

In an interview with The Ellsworth American, Rooney said:

"Roosters are gorgeous. And if they have to be here for the rest of their lives, then I'm perfectly fine with that."

Rooney's love of birds began just a few years ago when she was 14. She decided she wanted to have fresh eggs, so she bough two chicks from the 4-H stand at the Bangor fair. While one of the chicks died within a week from choking, the other, Marshmallow, became a beloved family pet.

She taught Marshmallow numerous tricks, like how to jump up on a stool, and how to give hugs with her neck.

"She acted just like a dog, basically," Rooney said. "That's when I realized chickens aren't just food and producers of eggs."

Rooney had always been an equestrian, and while attending local horse shows she noticed that people were constantly giving away roosters for free, just to be rid of them.

"Eventually I was like 'You know what? I'm going to collect some roosters,'" Rooney said. "I'm just going to save some and try to find new homes for them where they're appreciated."

The rescue took off quickly. After launching her website, people began driving three to four hours to drop off or adopt animals from Rooney. Shannon Whalen, a Prospect resident who adopted a rooster and two hens from Rooney last year, thinks highly of Rooney's operation.


Whalen said:

"I think it's really awesome what she's doing. She's giving sanctuary to these unwanted animals and she really takes care of all of them."

And since her parents work full-time jobs, Rooney does it all by herself. The monthly costs range from $500 to $800, depending on how many animals the rescue is currently housing and the time of year. Though she gets some money from drop-off donations and adoption fees, Rooney also does housework and dog sits to keep the rescue afloat.

"I don't make any money," she said, "and I spend all of my money on my animals."


That's because it's hard to adopt out a rooster by itself.

Rooney said:

"Usually I have to adopt them out with hens. Because otherwise people are like 'Eh, I don't really want just a rooster, because I want eggs.'"

In addition to its 33 roosters, Red Roo is also home to nine hens, seven ducks, five goats, two turkeys, two geese, and two pot-bellied pigs. Before Rooney adopts out any of these animals, she makes sure the adopting family is well informed about the animals and their needs.

"I'll just ask them questions or I'll provide them with information," she said. "This year I'll print out factsheets for the animals."

READ MOREGreen Acres Farm Sanctuary: Advocates for Abused and Unwanted Farm Animals

Rooney plans to continue her own learning as well. Next year she has plans for a veterinary internship. After that, she would like to attend the University of Maine at Orono, to study veterinary care and equine science.

No matter where she goes, she will continue to take care of the animals around her.

"I feel like not everything needs to give back everything that it's taking," she said.

What do you think of this teen's efforts? Tell us in the comments below! 

All images by David Roza via The Ellsworth American.

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Red Roo: 16-Year-Old Maine Girl Takes in Unwanted Roosters