Sunday, August 3, 2008

Queen of Hearts

It's true I enjoyed my little vacation. But there's more to the story. You see while the men folk were missing from the picture, I still had eleven roosters. Anyone who knows anything about chickens knows that's about ten too many. But I love my chickens. Especially the roosters, cause they're so full of spunk and personality.

Before the engineer left I had him slap together a little lean-to type structure, or a mini run-in shed if you will, to leave in the outdoor run. It could serve the purpose of both keeping the food dry and protecting the birds from a hail storm if they so chose to use it. So when the engineer left, the setup was 18 hens and Hermie the Love Chicken in the main coop, The Pirates in the storage side of the coop, The Stew Brothers with the run-in shed in a sectioned off part of the run, Bob in his bachelor pad and The Scallywags inside in a brooder. I should have been good to go.

But anybody who knows anything about chickens knows that even if the roosters can see each other, that's too much contact. I'm now one of those people. I wasn't before. The roosters pace back and forth at the fence line with their chests all puffed out and every once in awhile throw in a little dance action, which is kind of amusing if you're on the right side of the fence. There comes a point though where someone has to go in and feed them. After spending all day pacing and dancing all their sense of reason seems to drain from their little heads and their pent up aggression has to come out. Even if the visitor is trying to sustain their lives with food and water.

I expected removing Bob from the main coop would let Hermie the Love Chicken calm down a little and return to the sweet, loving rooster he once was. I was wrong. It seemed that The Stew Brothers being in close proximity was the bigger issue. So I returned Bob. And moved The Stew Brothers to the bachelor pad. I came out of the ordeal only slightly maimed. And everybody seemed happier for oh, 24 hours or so. That's about the time Hermie the Love Chicken turned into Hermie the Maniacal Maniac.

You see, I tuck my chickens into bed every night. I go out and shoo them into their little chicken doors and lock them up. Then I lock up the run. This makes them doubly secure inside the coop where nothing can get to them. I do this because I love my chickens so much, I don't want them to get hurt.

Hermie the Love Chicken decided he no longer needed this service. When I went out to lock up he charged and attacked every time I tried to get near the chicken door. I have the flesh wounds to prove it. Hermie the Love Chicken spent the night in the outdoor part of the run.

The next day was about the time I noticed one of The Stew Brothers hadn't left the perch in a long time. I made a mental note of it and went about my business. The Scallywags were getting restless and starting to cause little dust plumes to erupt from the brooder. Bob busied himself doing his bumbling act while Hermie continued to get more and more of a crazed look about him. I could actually see the pupil of his eye shrinking then growing, shrinking then growing, it was freaky. He attacked again and spent a second night outside.

Another day passed and when doling out the rations I noticed that one Stew Brother was still on the roost. I eyed one of the others suspiciously and wondered if maybe he wasn't allowing the first one to get down. So I grabbed the roosting rooster and stuck him inside the storage side of the coop while The Pirates were out and about. I gave him some food and water and the poor bugger nearly stuck his entire head in the water dish he was so thirsty. That told me I needed to get the bully rooster out of the bachelor pad but I'd run out of places to put him. So he spent the next few days in a clear plastic tub with wire attached with clamps as a lid on the back porch. Where the cat nearly died of a heart attack when she just happened to be casually passing through at the same point he let out a crow. She loves watching the baby chicks but apparently not so fond of a full grown rooster.

So at this point I have seven different rooster locations going. And scars and flesh wounds all up and down my arms and legs. Did I mention how much I love my chickens? (said through gritted teeth) It was all I could do not to meet the engineer at the door with a meat cleaver in my hand and denounce "Off with their heads" upon his return. But I was afraid he might turn around and run seeing how I now had the same maniacal look in my eye.

(to be continued...)


Sandy said...

You poor thing. I must admit I just about died laughing at the part about the cat!

StitchinByTheLake said...

Christine I laughed out loud reading this! I can just picture you, and the cat. :) For a while I thought I might like to have a few chickens. You have made me see the error of my ways! Blessings, marlene

Amelia said...

Well it appears that chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, baked chicken, etc are going to be on the menus this week.

Enjoy the week - or maybe I should say have the boy scout motto:

"Be Prepared"


Kristie said...

You are just too funny!!! We have several chickens here on the farm. I let mine just run loose, they go in with the horses, pigs and everywhere. My oldest son also has several chickens that he keeps on the coop. Sometimes we have trouble when his and mine try to get together!!! The roosters can be a little hard to keep from fighting sometimes.

Carol said...

I'm sorry to say this but I laughed so hard, I could just picture it all. I hope all is much better now. I never knew any of that about chickens never having had one.

Jayne said...

I know I shouldn't laugh, but....Wow, is that funny!! When I was little my Aunt Hulda (cool name, huh?!) had chickens and I thought they were so pretty & fluffy that I could never understand how she could wring their little necks. Now I do. Poor you, with peck marks all over you.

Lise said...

I had no idea that chickens and roosters had such personalilies,,, sorry I too had to laugh hard, I have a great imagination and could picture every moment you were telling...and I'm sorry about your flesh wounds, I hope your ok...Lise