Cheryll's Writing Journal

Musings, rants and ravings, plus gems of insight nobody wants to hear now that I've finally got them. Also neat stuff I found on the 'Net when I should have been updating this blog....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Gotta Move Someplace with More Neighbors....

That is the opinion of my husband (and maybe also the current neighbors).

Okay, I'll admit that since I don't watch TV, neighbor-watching is a major part of my entertainment. But I always figured God made neighbors long before there was TV for that sort of thing…so my interest is natural, right?

Living out in the country as we do, most of our neighbors are pretty far down the road.  We rent the granny apartment on an organic farm, so I do have that family and all their critters as part of my landscape.  It may not be enough however.

See, I spent a couple days last Fall interfering in the love life of one of their roosters.

Now, wait!  Let me explain: Hunter is a magnificent hunk of rooster, shiny black with robust comb and neon greenish lights in his sleek feathers.  But he has a problem: he's old.  And not very aggressive.  So the younger and bigger roosters pick on him.

He has spent the last two summers very happily out in the orchard with 8 or 10 hens for company.  But when the frost comes, he must move to the barn with all the other chickens, where life is pretty unbearable.  He is not allowed any girls or space or even food, without the big white rooster and the silver Wyandotte rooster trouncing him.

So this year, he opted out immediately and returned to the orchard, even though it would soon be much too cold for a single bird to roost there.  Also, all of 'his' equally elderly hens went to the stew pot, but the family was sort of attached to him as their very first rooster, and wanted to spare him.

I felt sorry for the poor fellow, and continued to give him scraps from my kitchen, because he couldn't even get near the barns for any grain without not only the main rooster, but also a gang of adolescent cockerels from the spring meat chicks, hounding him.  Hunter wisely stayed away from all that hormonal chaos.

So a couple days after the great chicken move, I noticed two of the pullets from this summer's chicks were hanging out with Hunter near where I put out scraps at my front door.  (The house is between the barns and the orchard) I figured it wouldn't hurt his street cred with them if I just happened to toss out some more bread.  Make them think he is a great provider, so maybe they would stay with him and provide warm company.

Worked well until sunset.  They spent all day with him and were top heavy with crops full of all the good stuff he found for their delictation.  But they didn't follow when he went off to roost in the orchard.  And it got dark on them and they were then lost!

So eight o'clock at night they are still standing on my porch, which is a fair piece from the barns, but still. It does kind of support the notion that chickens are brainless.  Of course, maybe they were just using the 'old' man, hanging with him for the food he found, but not willing to actually commit…

When the farmer found them out there where they didn't belong, he wasn't patient and understanding with them, if you know what I mean.  Probably ruint all my work, I thought, since the traumatic end to a beautiful day would no doubt stick in their heads.  Poor Hunter might have to live on his memories.

Hunter showed up at my door next morning with the light.  It was a very foggy and drizzly daylight, so you can't exactly call that bright, even if it was early…  A couple hours later, I noticed that the two girls were back!  And they had brought along a friend.

I was thrilled, of course.  A successful matchmaker admires her work….until she notes that the third 'girl' is actually an adolescent rooster.  He was not aggressive, however, and Hunter accepted him without rancor.

Which lead me to wonder about this chicken's sexuality…like maybe it's confused?  It seemed to prefer Hunter's little harem to the absolute warfare out in the chicken coop.  Who wouldn't?   

But still…

When I shared my concerns with the aforementioned husband, that's when he declared that our next move would be somewhere with lots more neighbors!



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