Two-year-old Maurice lives on the island of Oléron in southwestern France and greets each sunrise with a song – much to the annoyance of nearby holidaymakers.
His owner, singer Corinne Fesseau said that the owners of a neighbouring holiday home have made numerous complaints about Maurice's crowing, which recently escalated to threats of legal action.
After complaints from the neighbour in May and July, Fesseau has tried several strategies to quieten the cockerel, including lining the hen house with egg boxes in an attempt at soundproofing, and keeping him in his cage overnight so that he couldn't see the first daylight.
But the bird won't be silenced.
Now the neighbours have escalated the row, and Fesseau says she received a letter from a judicial conciliator, claiming that Maurice's crowing was a “nuisance that posed a risk to their health” and threatening legal action if no solution to the problem could be found.
In response, the singer has started a petition to raise awareness of Maurice's plight – and so far more than 32,000 people have signed. The population of Oléron is just over 20,000.
“I live and was born on the island of Oléron, and we have always had a hen house long before a residence was built behind our wall,” wrote Fesseau. She added that the neighbour in question only visits their holiday home three times a year, and no other residents have complained.
“The crowing of the cockerel is the life of the village,” wrote one of Maurice's fans, from nearby Rochefort, in a comment on the petition. Others said the noises of rural life were preferable to those of the city, and argued that vacationers should adapt to the ways of life in the countryside.
As well as the petition calling on local authorities and residents to get behind Maurice, Fesseau also organized a march through the town to drum up support in the community.
The stunts appear to have worked, with local mayor Christophe Sueur vowing to defend the bird.
“A municipal by-law to protect a cock would certainly be a first,” Sueur told France Bleu. “But here we have a rural fabric of life, the song of the cock is part of this, and I will protect the cock to defend our way of life.”