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.

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