A Foul Fowl

So much for my care for our dear survivor chickens (referenced in my previous blog) . . . This past week I turned my back on our rooster and learned the hard way not to do that. The next thing I knew, I felt claws at my back that were tangled in my hair.

My Facebook update, referencing this event, led to all manner of snarky comments from “You never know what a cock-a-doodle-do” (thanks Dave), to the help from my cousin who gave me the title to this post (thanks Rhea), to Randy wondering if I’ve been eating too much at Chick-fil-A thus provoking the attack, to Maggie warning me that PETAR (People for the Ethical Treatment of Attacking Roosters) had caught wind of what happened and are now watching me.

He is a foul fowl indeed.

I admit, we don’t know much about chickens. We have to go to Google every time we have a question about what to do next. We naively let 12 of the original 15 get eaten by the local wildlife, but so far have been able to keep these last three safe. We recently visited Menards to look at paint swatches for a decorating project we’ll start next month to make this place look more “us,” and in the process, wandered into the gardening section. The helpful guy in that department listened to our dilemma and suggested that we get both chicken wire to build a pen and a set-up with low-voltage electrified wire to run around the pen that would gently zap our marauding fox should he venture too near.

We put up the chicken wire fence, creating a large area beside the barn for the chickens to wander and be safe. We never got around to installing the low-voltage wire because it didn’t take more than a couple of days for the chickens to realize that they could simply fly out of their protective area and continue to wander the yard. The three of them stay together, cawing and clucking, and, yes, cock-a-doodle dooing. Then, when they want to, they all fly back inside their penned-in area.

And apparently Mr. Rooster has decided to let us know that he is in charge here. I didn’t know that roosters crowed ALL DAY LONG. Call me stupid, but I thought they just crowed at dawn. But no, they merely START at dawn. We can tell where the three amigos are in our yard at any particular moment by listening for Mr. Rooster.

It’s funny to watch him. While most other farm animals make their noises with half-sleepy nonchalance (mooo, baaa, cawww), Mr. Rooster works hard to make his presence known. When he gets ready to cock-a-doodle-do, his neck stretches up as high as it can go, his eyes bulge out, and the piercing call comes from the very depth of his being. He is here, he is large (at least, he thinks he is), and he is in charge (ditto). The two hens will follow him in and out of the protective area. “OK lady, bring food, bring water, open and close the chicken coop door, but don’t forget who I am. Cock-a-doodle-doooo!”

Just don’t turn your back on him.