There have been a few issues with having chickens other that the sorry state of the hen house. Not the least of which has been that at some point, the hormones kicked in for the 13 roosters and they started to become a little aggressive, flapping their wings and running toward the girls, but not pecking or using their claws, when the girls would go out to get the eggs or to visit with the hens.
I should interject here that the roosters had always been destined for the freezer. When they are little it’s a hard to stomach that you are diligently and lovingly raising these beings and then will summarily dismiss them at some point to eventually place them on your dinner table.
But as the roosters’ aggression increased, this ambivalent feeling wanned and was replaced by a sort of pushing back on my part – as in "Hey, buddy, let’s not forget who’s in charge here." They began to charge out of the hen house whenever I would walk into the coop area and this made me uncomfortable for my girls especially because the roosters, when they stretched out and flapped their wings could get almost eye to eye with my youngest daughter.
Then, one day, the feeling snapped straight into true aggression – as in, "It can be too soon for you buggers to leave." My girls were outside in the coop area playing with the hens and getting upset that the roosters were jumping on the backs of the hens. In other words, mating. When this first happened the hens were a mess. They ran away, they squawked and basically sounded as if they were under deadly attack. And I have to say, I don’t really blame them. Woman’s rights hasn’t really filtered down into the chicken world and the hens didn’t seem to think this was a mutual good time.
My girls were in the pen when this happened and one got pecked right next to the eye. Then I walked into the pen and the rooster charged directly at me. The mama bear in me was so strong that the only thing that kept me from swinging that rooster from it’s feet was the fact that my girlies were right there watching. From that point on, the girls weren’t allowed in the pen until after the roosters had joined the steaks in the freezer.
And I have to admit that even though I was past ready for them to leave, it took months before I could actually cook one.
This year someone else is raising our meat birds
© 2008 Baggywrinkle Publishing