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How a ladder is helping an ageing Norfolk cockerel to rule the roost

09:19 23 July 2014

The cockerel at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary, who has ladders to help him up his tree to roost at night safely away from the foxes. Picture: Denise Bradley

The cockerel at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary, who has ladders to help him up his tree to roost at night safely away from the foxes. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2014

An ageing cockerel at a Norfolk animal sanctuary got a boost after being built his own personal ladder system.

The cockerel at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary, with his ladders to help him up his tree to roost at night safely away from the foxes. Picture: Denise BradleyThe cockerel at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary, with his ladders to help him up his tree to roost at night safely away from the foxes. Picture: Denise Bradley

The cockerel lives with Wendy Valentine, who runs Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Frettenham, and was left homeless six years ago after his owner died.

Wendy said: “He came to us as an adult bird so he must be around seven or eight years old now.

“His owner died and she had a whole flock of poultry, but there was nowhere for them to go.

“We got a call and we took the whole lot in.”

The cockerel at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary, climbing his ladders helping him up his tree to roost at night safely away from the foxes. Picture: Denise BradleyThe cockerel at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary, climbing his ladders helping him up his tree to roost at night safely away from the foxes. Picture: Denise Bradley

Now in his golden years, Wendy noticed the cockerel begin to struggle getting up into his favourite tree to perch at night.

Worried that he might be at risk from predators if he couldn’t get to higher ground at night, Wendy knew something had to be done.

She said: “If he couldn’t get up there he wouldn’t last five minutes with the foxes.

“He doesn’t like going in the shed so I thought about getting a plank of wood to help him get up.

“One day when I came into the office, someone who works for the sanctuary had made him a whole ladder system.”

Now he can stroll up the rungs until the tree branches are small enough for him to negotiate safely and reach his favourite spot.

Wendy said: “On the first day I didn’t know if he was going to use it or not, but he’s up there in a flash.

“Right from the first day he jumped right up.”

She noticed he seems to prefer his own company up the tree and only socialises at feeding time.

She said: “He just likes hanging around on his own.

“When he first came here he had a white hen girlfriend, but two or two years later she died.

“He tried to make it with a couple of old battery hens but they didn’t hit it off.

“He goes up the yard to socialise when we feed the poultry but mostly he has his own little routine.

“He has a quiet life and he does what he wants.”

It might seem a lot of trouble to go to for one old rooster, but Wendy doesn’t see it that way.

She said: “You try to help all the animals and make life a bit easier for them.

“We’re always pleased to help.”

Do you have an animal story for us? Email polly.grice@archant.co.uk

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