New Brunswick

Travis, the rooster who 'found his voice,' rescued from stew pot

It's been quite the journey for this city rooster. But after weeks of searching, his former owners finally found him a home in rural New Brunswick.

A special provision says Fredericton residents can have up to 3 hens, but roosters are prohibited

As a chick, Travis lived in a homemade coop in Pamela Mowbray's backyard. Then she found out he was a rooster and had to find a way to get rid of him. (Submitted by Pamela Mowbray)

A noisy neighbour can be tricky.

So when Travis, a baby chick, started to crow from his Fredericton home earlier in the summer, Pamela Mowbray knew she had to do something about it.

"I had to make sure that he wasn't singing to the neighbourhood," the chick's owner said.

At first, Mowbray found the squeaky sound to be quite adorable.

And then it grew louder.

"One morning, he totally found his voice — like a month early," she said.

Pamela Mowbray and her son Riott Mowbray-Carruthers were forced to get rid of Travis once they learned roosters were prohibited by the City of Fredericton. (Submitted by Starr Bishop)

Immediately, she jumped out of bed, ran outside, grabbed Travis and brought him inside. 

Travis is a serama rooster, meaning he's a pretty small bird.

But in the city, his voice was anything but small.

"He was just getting louder and louder."

Starr Bishop, who lives outside Perth-Andover, rescued Travis after learning no one wanted him and his former owner couldn't keep him in Fredericton. (Submitted by Starr Bishop)

Every time the sun came up, Travis got up too. And Mowbray was worried neighbours would complain. 

"I was like, 'Oh my god, he's not stopping,'"

Pet roosters are illegal in Fredericton

Mowbray initially bought Travis as a gift for her nine-year-old son, Riott, who had been working hard on his schoolwork during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of June, she bought Travis at Feather Patch Farm in Perth-Andover, along with three other chicks — Tiny Diamond, Clara and Kimmy. 

"Out of them all, we really bonded with Travis," Mowbray said. "He was our favourite."

Travis 'and the girls' at their home in Fredericton. (Submitted by Pamela Mowbray)

They bought the four chicks when they were just two days old, and didn't know whether the farm animals were male or female.

So they bought an extra chick, just in case one turned out to be a rooster.

About three weeks in, Travis started developing his comb.

Travis and Riott bond in their backyard home. (Submitted by Pamela Mowbray)

According to a special provision, a maximum of three hens can be kept per Fredericton household.

Roosters are prohibited.

Shasta Stairs, a spokesperson for the City of Fredericton, said hens are permitted because they can lay fresh eggs.

"Since roosters don't lay eggs, they are not permitted," she said.

Secondly, the "unpredictable nature and noise level of their crow" is another reason residents aren't allowed to have pet roosters in the city. 

Mowbray knew right away that Travis had to go. 

Weeks of rejection

In the meantime, she put a curtain over the homemade coop that sat in her backyard, so Travis wouldn't know it was light out.

And before she headed to work every morning, Mowbray had to put Travis in the basement so the neighbours wouldn't hear.

His daytime home consisted of a large container filled with food and straw. She put chicken wire over top so Travis couldn't get out and roam the house and dirty the floor.

"They poop so much," she said. "They're pooping machines."

When she came home, Mowbray would put him back outside with the girls. 

Travis didn't crow often. But when he did, it lasted about 20 or 30 minutes. 

One's enough

Mowbray's quest for a new home started a few weeks after she brought him home.

"Going into this, I didn't realize how hard it would be to get rid of a rooster." 

She looked all over the region for someone who would take Travis. She called about 10 people, including a farm and petting zoo.

But no one wanted him. 

Travis, a particularly small rooster, is friendly with children and other animals at his new home. (Submitted by Starr Bishop)

"Everybody was like, 'No way, I don't want a rooster.'"

Many of the people she called already owned a rooster, and it can become problematic if a new one is introduced. 

Some roosters can also be quite aggressive. 

"I was like, 'Oh, great. Now I have this rooster in the city that I cannot get rid of.'" 

The fateful stew pot 

Finally, one family agreed to take him — on one condition.

"They told me he would end up in the stew pot." 

The couple already owned a rooster and eat a lot of their own stock.

Mowbray even loaded Travis up in a crate and drove nearly 200 kilometres to Perth-Andover, thinking she could change their minds. 

But it was no use. 

You can't not love a rooster named Travis.- Starr Bishop

"Logical brain was like, 'Pam you have to let this rooster go' … but my emotional brain was like, 'Oh my gosh, my son. He would be devastated.'"   

But the near-fatal visit eventually led Mowbray to Starr Bishop in Lower Kintore, a settlement about 14 kilometres south of Perth-Andover. 

Bishop's family is known for rescuing birds no one wants — including roosters.

"We don't want them to be eaten," Bishop said.

And she felt bad for Mowbray's son Riott, who was "super in love" with his pet rooster.

So Bishop took him.

Travis 'the head of state'

Travis, who has been living with Bishop since September, has really adapted to his new life in rural New Brunswick.

Bishop has two ducks, who think Travis is "the head of state" and follow him everywhere.

Travis is known for his low crow, which he practises almost every five minutes. (Submitted by Starr Bishop)

She also has five hens, which Bishop refers to as Travis's girlfriends.

"They're in love."

Even Beetlejuice, the family cat, spends his day chasing Travis around the yard. 

Travis sits obediently as Bishop's seven-year-old daughter, Renesme, plays with him. (Submitted by Starr Bishop)

At night, Travis sleeps in his own coop in the garage. And throughout the day, he's free to roam around outside.

But he usually sits perched on the TV antenna — his favourite spot.

And whenever one of the five kids wants to hold Travis, he never flies away.

A 'little rooster miracle'

Although Travis's departure was difficult for Mowbray and her son, they still get Travis updates on Facebook.

"Now Travis is living the life," said Mowbray. "It's like a little rooster miracle."

As for his crow, Bishop said it's about a tenth of a regular rooster's crow — and lower than normal.

But he uses his voice about every five minutes.

"You can't not love a rooster named Travis."


Elizabeth Fraser


Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip?


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