Lots of Laughs
A misbehaving rooster gets his comeuppance.
Reeling in a wild rooster.
My 7-year-old daughter was in heaven when my brother-inlaw gave us 12 chicks. The baby birds were cute and fuzzy, and she loved them. But as they matured, and their peeps transformed into clucks, their plumage changed, too. One bird became more resplendent than the rest, and we realized we had ourselves a rooster.
Initially, the rooster excited us. We could be subsistence farmers, perpetuating our flock. Yet as this guy grew more beautiful, he also grew bold. He crowed and chased the hens. When the flock roamed free in our yard, he attacked our feet. My daughter’s pink sneakers were his favorite thing to peck.
Eventually, I put an end to the chickens’ free-range strolls. Each morning, I’d lift the hatch door to allow them out of the coop and into a dirt pen. The rooster would dart out first. I’d secure the hatch, run the 4 feet to the pen door, race out and slam it behind me before the rooster could attack. I did this quickly, but the faster I ran, the faster he would pursue.
One day, this routine ended differently. It was raining hard, so I donned a jacket, hat and rubber boots before heading to the coop. Anticipating the rooster’s attack sent nervous chills throughout my body. By the time I reached the coop door, I was shaking. But why was I so scared? I was bigger than a rooster, and I was smarter than he was, if not just as gutsy.
I opened the hatch and the rooster darted out. The ground was slippery as I ran to the pen door. I whipped around to slam the door, but the pesky rooster was already at my heels. Swinging around to kick at him, my other foot slipped; I heard a crunch as I fell. The rooster was lying face down and motionless under me.
The hens glanced briefly at the heap of scarlet and gold feathers in the corner of the pen, and then went about feeding and clucking. But I felt sorrow; it was not my intent to kill a chicken.
Today we have 39 chickens— nine from the original flock. Four of them are roosters, and they’ve become as much of a nuisance as their predecessor. They’re surely hoping I watch my step.