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N.B. ‘bird man’ rescues homeless roosters: ‘No sleeping for me’

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Sleeping in is simply not an option for Dave Keeping of North River, N.B.

“No, no sleeping for me,” said Keeping, who launched the North Lake Rooster Rescue of New Brunswick two years ago.

Keeping said he has been obsessed with roosters since he was 12 years old and fell in love with a rooster named Ralph.

“My mom used to give me a hard time bringing him in the house all the time and yell at me, ‘Bring that rooster back outside,'” said Keeping.

From then on, his fondness for his feathered friends only grew, he said.

Two years ago, after his wife of 15 years died of cancer, Keeping said he moved from Kitchener, Ont., to rural New Brunswick and launched the rescue.

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He now provides a loving home for a barn full of more than 130 homeless roosters so they can live out their days in collective song.

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“She would be laughing. She always used to call me the bird man,” said Keeping.

He said the roosters get along fairly well as long as they have enough room to roam.

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“Not one rooster sounds like the other one so I think it is kind of cool,” he said, noting that he has great neighbours who are not at all bothered by the crows that echo three kilometres away off the lake.

“My neighbours are good. They even bring food for them or treats,” said Keeping.

He said he appreciates any financial help he can get because, living only on a small pension, one-third of his income goes to keep the rescues fed.

“Right now it costs about $400 a month,” said Keeping, who has started up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise enough money to pay for his feed throughout the winter.

He said there is no cap on the number of roosters he will take in, welcoming those with disabilities as well.

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“Some have crooked feet and that is the hardest thing. People don’t know what to do with them so I bring them here,” he said.

The heart of that rooster-loving 12-year-old is obviously still beating strong as Keeping has even welcomed one rooster inside of his home yet again.

“My mother would say, ‘Not again,'” he joked.

“He’s got no legs,” said Keeping. “He got frostbitten when he was a baby.”