The roosters humped two hens into oblivion. By oblivion I mean there was one dead when I went to release them to their yard that morning. I figure it was a terrible way to die and still feel pretty bad about it. Especially, because I had noticed that week the poor hens were scared and stressed. It cannot be fun to be humped every time you move.
The first eight rowdy guys gave me only the trouble of a frantic chase, that ended with them being lightly tossed over a fence to time-out. It was when I put my sights on a speckled one, a Plymouth, that I met my wild-rowdy match.
He had been caught twice before and released outside the yard and found himself lower in the pecking order by the time he returned. Now I know, roosters do not get easier to catch every time you catch them. When I put my eye on him, his beady eye met mine as if to say, "Not today Lady. You aren't going to separate me from my chicas."
And he meant it. As soon as I made a move for him he startled me by making flap his wings and lifting off the ground to eye level with his back legs and spurs drawn forward. It sounded like a helicopter. If you have ever seen Crouching Tiger or any movie that makes fun of the slow motion martial arts effect, it would have been an appropriate comparison.
I faltered. I hesitated. The speckled rooster saw it. So, within a couple seconds, I had stepped back about three feet and his flapping wings brought his feet to my right arm for what he thought was going to be a good scratch fest.
I think I put my other arm out to defend myself, but while there I grabbed a hold of that cock's toe and with a crack, I chucked him over the fence with the other eight. The rooster round up was done for me for that day. One broken cock toe and just a couple battle wounds, but I mostly do not like to hurt critters. Even rowdy roosters who hump hens into oblivion.
And, so it was time to butcher and so we did. My man and I spent Sunday morning with one and only one goal in mind. To be rid of this big fat rowdy rooster problem. Or better said, to be on the other side of the chicken massacre of our own design.
I will save you all the gory details, but this: About midway through the mess of feathers and boiling water and realizing I STILL do not know how to sharpen my own knife, I thought: this has to be one of my most red neck moments ever. A few minutes later I suggested to my mate, we never take on such a venture again. He agreed with me whole heartedly. I guess chickens are not going to be our thing.
Just so you know out of what was probably 50 chicks we have a finial head count of 20 (or was it 22) hens; two really pretty roosters; and two really ugly roosters (at least we think they are roosters). And, over the course of 23 weeks I morphed from a chicken novice to a chicken expert, who still ought not be allowed to touch the eggs. Who brags about that on their resume?
All I know, is balance has been restored to Heidi's Hen House and I'm ready to give out 5 wildnevadan hump day chicken scratch-it facts.
1. Old broken toe was the first to go.
2. There is no good reason to keep chickens, except maybe (and maybe being a very strong word) the ambiance of it.
3. A rooster's testicals are bigger than their heart. (Physically and metaphorically speaking!)
4. Happy hens take dirt baths. (Hoo-raw, me too!)
5. I got a good giggle when my man checked the freezer and found I had marked one, "Broken toe." He said, "You are a sick woman. You know old broken toe is going to be in there until he gets freezer burnt and we have to throw him away." L.O.L.
I hope your Wednesday gets wild but not this wild.
July 20, 2011