More chicken bits
I believe the last time that I wrote a post about our chickens we had just introduced a rooster to the flock of 7 hens.
Rod, affectionately named, due to his demeanour and Rod Stewart rock star hair style, lol.
Rod was shy at first and hummm... hen-pecked, lol, by the ladies, for a few weeks. But as he got older and bigger, I guess he realized that he was in fact a rooster. From there, he started to get aggressive with the ladies.
We love our hens, partly because we've had them since they were chicks and partly because they possess such human-like personalities. Some, we've affectionately named after our neighbours, lol. Plus they provide us with uniquely coloured eggs :)
So when we saw how aggressively Rod was treating them, well he simply had to go.
We named our second rooster Judge, because of his sort of ceremonial ministerial jewel crusted, robe-like coat/robe around his neck. Even though he was the same age as Rod, he was somewhat smaller than Rod but that did not make him any less fierce. When we returned Rod to our neighbour and while observing to see which other rooster of theirs we could take home instead, the two of them got into a hummm.... cock fight? lol,
They both drew blood and we were so impressed with Judge holding his own, despite his size. Our neighbours told us that Judge was often picked on by their other 3? roosters??? and that he was shy but vocal. In fact he would be the first to crow each morning, starting 5am!
Now, it's bright by 5:45 but this was oh 2 months ago? So yeah, that is early. But we didn't mind :)
Unlike Rod, he was very gentle with ladies and a true gentleman, yay!
So why are you reading this in past tense? Well, about 3 or so weeks after his arrival, he started to make subtle threatening poses & gestures, at us?? We didn't understand it and we didn't care as he was still very gentle with the hens.
And then he started to make subtle & mild charges at us. Again we disregarded them as confused chicken & laughed them off. Until...he started getting really aggressive towards....us!
At first, we couldn't understand this behaviour. After all, we had saved him from his previous situation and we were feeding him and taking care of him just as well as our hens.
Well, it turned out that as a rooster, he wanted to be the one providing? the meals. It all came to a blows one day when he attacked me. It was so shocking & violent that I found myself running out of the run with the door open. He gave chase. I stood my grounds. My hart was pounding, I was still very much shaken by what had just happened.
I was only in there to feed them, as I only do for literally 2 minutes.
He was staring me down and was ready to charge. I felt that I was ready for him too. I had my big winter boots jacket, safety glasses and my work gloves on. 140 pound man vs. a 10 pound rooster. Let's go!
He charged at me. I back-up as far as I could and held my right foot out in front of me to block him. He stopped but didn't move back. Huh, what now? If he charged at me again, I wouldn't have the time or space to try to do the same this time, due to still having snow piles around me.
The 2 ounce bird-brain had cornered me. I didn't know whether to bow down to him, as I was so impressed by that move, to run or to take a chance by swinging my leg back and give a kick that would have him flying out of the ball park and potentially killing him. Obviously I couldn't exercise any of those options.
So I decided to let him make his second move as the starring competition continued. By the way, this all took place in a matter of only 3-5 minutes?
He was starring me down this whole time as if he was trying to read my mind and with much success I might ad.
I was not showing any fear(I thought or I desperately tried) but I also didn't want to deliver a blow that would kill a creature far far less equal to my strength. I guess he read that thought and I guess he was challenged by it?
So he charged at me again. This time I had so much adrenaline running through me that I gave it no thought. How could I even? There was no time to think!
I swung my leg at him. All puffed-up, loud AND fast & furious, once again he stopped only an inch short of my boot. Wow he's good, I thought. I hadn't given him my full force because again, how could I live with myself, if I killed the thing.
However, this time, unlike the last time, he didn't stop for a staring contest. He charged at me again & again!
Wow, two more brilliant moves I had not anticipated!!!
This thing is a genius machine!!
I too upped the anti. I finally swung my leg with all my might...the first time. But again he managed to stop just short of meeting his maker, only by this time, as if he had calculated in his tiny brain that was obviously running on a quantum processor, that there was no way that I had enough time to swing my leg back, pick-up momentum and give it to him before his feather weight and obviously more nibble figure could strike....for the kill this time.
All I could do was try sounding louder, looking bigger & keep swinging my leg at him like an idiot. BUT he just kept coming at me. I may have even screamed for help around this time, I don't remember, everything was happening so fast!
Just about the only thing that saved me was the hens cautiously getting out of the run that got his attention and ran back to herd them back inside.
Are you laughing at me right now? lol. Pick yourselves off the floor & hear my defence,
Let me tell you, I may be no hummmm....spring chicken but up until seven years ago, when we arrived here, I was at the gym six days a week and have always worked-out. I also have pretty good reflexes. This past winter, I learned that in fact I am stronger than at least five neighbours twenty years younger!
Like I said, this thing was a machine!!!
Anyway by that time, help had arrived and armed with our sticks, we were ready for battle. Two humans vs. a rooster. Luckily for us, obviously at a disadvantage, sigh, he was so busy & focused at herding the hens back inside that we managed to catch our breaths as I stuttered to give a play-by-play description of this unbelievable past few minutes, to anyone who would listen.
Well, that was the end of that. Excellent rooster that he was at his job, Judge just had to go because we didn't want to go through that again. The next day he was on his way back to our neighbour's. We finally decided that we didn't need a rooster.
Our neighbour found that story funny....until their kids were chased around their property by one of their roosters. Thas what I'm talking about. And after a few more altercations, that rooster got traded with another breed from another neighbour and shortly after that, with the new-one loosing his mind and chasing the adults now, he too was...
Less & less folks are opting to have roosters for the identical reason. There are better protection & chick options than roosters.
As for our hens, they are still laying their pastel coloured eggs, everyday and we still feed them fermented Non-GMO feed + kale, spinach, chickweed, nettles, purslane, etc. Plus all natural calcium supplements.
They, like all animals, are quit beautiful beings. The bard-rocks for instance have gorgeous golden eyes, while the black-ones have iridescent feathers. If you ever pick a chicken up, you will immediately feel this indescribable(at least by my limited vocabulary, lol), emitting, happy warmth that is uniform, calming and peaceful :)
They can provide hours of entertainment as they go on with their scratching the soil hummm...sideways, or the way they lift one leg with a pause before setting it back down as if striking a yoga pose, lol. Or the way they sometimes tilt their heads & look sideways at something or someone that they deem suspicious, hilarious!
But they are also great company & quit curious. Just yesterday while I was picking raspberries from our planted patch adjacent to their run, they all came over and watched me and as if we were all gathered there for some quiet afternoon conversations amongst friends, they used their gentle clucking to connect with me. It was an amazing experience :)
At this time, we clean their coop every morning, while they are out enjoying their breakfast and we rake their run every night after they resume to their coop.
No disturbance, no oder and great feed should hopefully translate to happy chickens :)
There are folks who believe that in addition to us being recycled souls, upon completing the cycles, we may choose to come back as a service to others. These are short, selfless acts. I don't really know what to think of that but ignorant as I am, I certainly cannot discount that argument. All I have to do is look into a cow or a dog's eyes to see the contentment that so many of us humans lack. Or listen to a chicken comforting me with her therapeutic purr, to recognize them as higher/elevated beings. Regardless, I am thankful for such emotions and displays of affection.