I moved to this old house a little over a year ago. It was my grandmother’s farm. She passed away a few years ago (at 101) leaving behind the family homestead and no one to live on it. At that time, I’d been in Oregon about 26 years and was quite settled in with my own business, home, long-time boyfriend and family of friends. But I always knew I’d live on this farm, and so move I did. Sold it all, packed up the dogs and kidnapped my best friend to drive across this grand country of ours.
And as I said, it’s been a year, now. They say, never do anything rash in the first year. Pretty good advice, but it sure makes for slow-going!
One thing I did do was get me some chickens. Or, chicklings, as I find myself calling them. A gent with a petting farm a few miles down the road offered to hatch out some eggs for me. I bought a dozen eggs from his “rainbow flock” (read: a little bit of everything) and waited to see what would hatch out. Oh, my goodness, but they were cute! All sorts of colors and downiness! Some had fuzz running down their legs, others had little spots on their heads. A friend loaned me her duck-raising gear, and I spent many hours just watching those chicks (and later pullets) in wonder.
Well, had I known then what I know now, I never would have taken that white chick. White, we call him (how inventive of us). He has been a mean bugger since the day he hatched, and every day he gets meaner. If you ever come to steal him, make sure you lead in with your foot. (Oh, and no returns on that rooster…the others I’ll take back!) But all kidding aside, the question is, do you do in a mean rooster, or do you keep him because he can stand down all four of the dogs at the same time? Since he’s matured, we haven’t lost a hen to any sort of marauder, so he definitely has a place. It’s a conundrum, I know.
There used to be three roosters total. Red (yeah, there’s that imagination at work again), who was a truly handsome bird with long green tail feathers. My mother sold him for $5 to an unsuspecting man, who was even newer to farming than me. And then there is Frank–Frankenrooster–who could not decide what color to be. He’s a little brown, a little white, a little black… Pretty silhouette, protective but not nearly as vicious as White. Truth be told, Frank’s a bit of a horndog with the ladies, who all have big bald patches on their backs because of him.
So here’s the rub: a friend with a couple of acres has gotten into chickens. She has a young, handsome, gentle lavender Orpington rooster she needs to rehome (in the pet world, we call it rehoming). I’m thinking, he might be a good one to get…. You know, cut down on me getting ambushed and save on feed through the winter. Of course, it’ll mean doing in White and Frank….
Tune in next time for….To Kill a Rooster….