Sunday, February 8, 2009
"The rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods"
H is for HENS
Chickens were one of the most fun and fascinating aspects of my move from city life to country living, I loved watching them, primarily in the hope I could glimpse an egg exit their fluffy bottoms.
My hens, it seemed rejected their nesting boxes and instead dropped eggs randomly...later I would find it was because there had been a rather large snake raiding the nests.
Totally fascinated by their routines, I would spy on them through a tiny section missing from the door to the roosting area. At dusk, they would retire to the tree branch that Keith nailed up in the enclosure, always lining up in the same order.
I decorated the walls in there with magazine photographs I found of poultry, hoping to make them feel at home. One day after a prolonged period of watching I was delighted to actually see it happen, one of the hens let an egg drop, and to my amazement, I could see it was soft as it came out.
The problem was the roosters, at first there was only one, but when I got a few more chicks from a neighbor up the road, hoping to increase the size of the herd and egg production, one of them developed into another rooster. And suddenly the heat was on, the girls had no rest, and the boys weren't just crowing at dawn, they were crowing all night long. Once they began fighting, I was told one of them had to go, or one of them would kill the other. Bad tempered, they went after my legs anytime they could and I became highly fearful not to mention increasingly irritated by the all night crow show.
One evening, I noticed in the local paper an ad for a free rooster, and so I called the number. I too have a free rooster, if you get more than one call please give them my address, his bags are packed.
It was just around dusk when a beat up pick up pulled into my driveway, and a petite older woman emerged with one leg in a brace. She limped confidently up my driveway and after peering through the peep show hole, I watched her fearlessly fling open the door, and in the blink of an eye she snatched it off the roost by its legs. It dropped upside down instantly sedate in her hand. She limped back down the driveway, effortlessly dropped that crazy rooster into a cage in the back of her truck, drove off and that was the end of my sleepless nights.