We have a nice, big Barred Rock rooster. He treats the hens well, calling them over when he finds a tasty bug or something good to eat. And most of the time, he doesn’t give us any trouble. Most of the time.
Let me digress. One of the last roosters we had was just fine too, until one day, when I was in the chicken house feeding, he flew up and flogged me hard enough to leave big bruises on my leg, for no apparent reason. When Frank asked what was wrong, he was right outside filling up the water bucket, I told him the rooster flogged me and I was throwing a bucket at him. Next thing I know, in comes Frank with a 2 x 4, and shortly thereafter, we had no more rooster. All of this happened in less than a minute’s time. Frank looked at me and said, “That will teach him to flog my wife!” I stood there for a second looking at him, then started to laugh, and said, “Thanks, Honey!”
Well, back to our current rooster. A few weeks ago I was out feeding the chickens their morning greens, and one young Barred Rock hen didn’t go out into the chicken yard when I opened up the door to the chicken house. She was the only one. So, on my way out I tried to ‘encourage’ her to go out by trying to shoo her out the door. She didn’t want to go and put
up quite a fuss. In zooms the rooster heading straight for me. I was surprised and continued on down the steps, out of the chicken house. The rooster came at me again, flying through the air, feet first. So, I whacked him with the bucket I was carrying. And then I chased him around and whacked him again. We don’t cotton to flogging roosters around here. I kinda hoped I didn’t hurt him, but I wasn’t worried about it too much. He kept his distance after that, and I left the pen.
We didn’t have time to dispatch the rooster then because we had company coming to help us dispatch and butcher a goat. I didn’t really feel it was proper to invite the company out to the chicken pen to see the rooster’s demise. Things were busy, the rooster calmed down and didn’t show any further signs of aggression, so we let him be. For a while.
A week or so later we decided to cook up one of our young Dark Cornish hens. She constantly ran around the chicken house squawking and
causing a daily uproar, so we decided to eat her. The appointed morning arrived and I stopped by the chicken house to catch her on my way down from doing chores at the barn. It took a minute for everyone to settle into pecking at their food, so I could identify the culprit and catch her. I had not opened the door to the chicken yard yet to make this task easier. No sooner had I caught her, she set up squawking, and here comes the rooster flying through the air feet first. You know, as I write this, to me, it gets funnier and funnier.
About this time Frank calls me on the radio to see how things are going. Remember, we always keep in touch with our handheld radios around the farm. I had just picked up my bucket and commenced to convince the
rooster not to flog me while holding a squawking chicken and trying to get out the door. So, my response to him was a little louder than usual and entailed something like, “I got her and the rooster is after me!!” I wasn’t very intelligible, and he quickly asked for me to repeat my transmission, which I did, while escaping the chicken house, closing the door so the rooster could not follow me out into the chicken yard. After I dispatched the hen, got her cleaned and in the oven, I went back out and opened up the chicken house with a bucket in hand. The rooster was fine. No signs of aggression.
A few days later we cleaned out the chicken house and added some great fertilizer to the garden. While we were in there scraping and making a racket, the rooster was fine. Although we did have one young rooster that must have gotten injured sometime during that process, because the next
day he was very lethargic and obviously on a downhill slide. We knew we had to put him down before the other roosters began pecking on him. So, as I walked over to pick him up, before he started squawking, I told Frank he would have to protect me from the big rooster, and to prepare for a quick departure. As soon as I picked up the young rooster and he started to squawk, the big rooster jumped up on the roost in preparation for his attack when we left the young rooster pen. Frank made a pre-emptive strike with the bucket that reminded the rooster who was really king of the chicken house, and we escaped without anymore trouble.
The moral of this tale is twofold. Number one, always keep a bucket handy. You never know what you may need it for. And two, we have decided that as long as this rooster shows no other signs of aggression, we’ll keep him. The only time he has offered to flog us is when he was protecting his flock, and that’s not a bad thing. It could come in very handy if any predators attempt to harm our chickens. We’ll just keep a little closer eye on him than we did before this little tale began, bucket in hand.
Until next time – Fern