It was not pretty. A 256 pound two-legged creature of the species homo sapiens sapiens pilfering the egg of one gallus domesticus, confronted by a particularly fierce six pound male member of that species. Readers of this blog know this creature by the name of Sulyeman, named for the great Turkish Sultan of the 16th century. It all started when I went to do afternoon egg collection.
A particularly stubborn Rhode Island Red started to cackle when I disturbed its nest and reached under it to collect an egg – she was fiercely defending it and her cackling simply would not stop. Finally I collect the egg, along with four others already in my big coat pockets, when I see none other than Sulyeman running up to investigate.
Only this time he did not stop running. He fluffed up his wing and breast feathers, the silky down on his neck puffed up, and as he started to bob and weave and talk trash I knew at once we were about to go mano a mano. Now, I am not a violent man, and I don’t know if you are aware of this, but I am, and that is that the closest thing on this planet today to a Tyrannosaurus Rex is . . . that’s right, the gallus domesticus! Frightening, no?
Just remember what you saw go down with the Cornish Crosses in the front yard my friend . . . just remember!
So I had about a split second to cogitate on this fact: The descendent of this . . .
was now out for blood, and more importantly, not just anyone’s blood, but my blood. So my first instinct in something like this would be to . . .
But I realized instantly that . . . No. If I do that he will become the alpha rooster, and I can’t spend my whole damn life avoiding a free range rooster on my farm where I pay the mortgage and not him. So as he launched his attack I had no choice but to defend myself with my rubber boot. It was ugly – like Patroklus attacking Troy, thrice he assailed the mighty wall of my rubber toed mucker, thrice he was thrust back, until on the fourth try I affrighted him off, like Apollo’s mighty battle cry affrighted off Patroklus over three millennia ago. (Okay, it was less glamorous than that – I aimed to give him a swift kick with my boot, missed, and hit a bucket of chicken manure instead, at which point I think he had either had a enough or was satisfied that I was no match for him in battle).
That damn bird. A shame too, because just earlier today I gave him kudos for herding his girls under a tree when a large hawk passed over our pasture. He’s important, and we need him because he does such a fabulous job at protecting and herding our girls, and he passed through a big hurdle this week as we took down the fencing and allowed them to free range our property (we have only aerial predators, and there is nothing we can do about that, so we thought, what the heck, let them have at the whole barnyard!) His job is tough. I don’t know – maybe he was just stressed – but I hated having to thump him! Our point is to treat our animals humanely and to keep them as stress free as possible, to let the chickens be chickens, but sometimes they just tap their inner, well, dinosaur!
On other fronts – we had a great time meeting lots of fine people at the Nourish Yamhill Summit this weekend at Linfield, the Henny Penny Hilton is done, we are gearing up tomorrow for the arrival of our third pair of hands on the farm (aka Lori’s sister Nancy), and are looking forward to spring.
The Henny Penny Hilton will host a flock of layers that will do us the service of tearing up our front yard to put in a flower bed soon.