Posted 08-22-2003 at 06:54:08
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I think I finally learned how to handle roosters. We have a big mutt rooster called Brewster. I'm not so sure if he's actually mean or not, but he is not above trying to intimidate you if he gets the chance. He's gotten the chance from me several times. One look at his spurs and you would understand. An inch and a half of wickedly curved claw with a needle sharp tip at the end of each leg. If I had to guess I would put his weight in the neighborhood of 8-10 lbs.
I spent a lot of time getting out of this roosters way. If I was walking along and he walked out on front of me I would go around him, keeping one eye on him all the time, so that when he ventured a peck at my ankle, which he would invariably do, I could get out of the way fast enough.
It galled me to have this rooster running things, but I knew that if I did what I wanted to do, which is drop kick him across the pasture, that I might injure him. As big as he is, he could still be considered fragile under the type of kick I was prepared to deliver. Going in the chicken house when he is on the roost, is a definite no-no. He would just as soon land on your head and rearrange the part in your hair, as look at you.
I've had him land on me before and it is not a pleasant experience. I got away with no serious injuries only because I was inspired to tuck my head between my legs and back out of the coop leaving him to slide off into a heap on the ground.
A few months ago I bought a bunch of chicks from the local feed store. Straight runs. I never have bought them this way, I was always afraid I would end up with all roosters, as straight runs are not sexed, you get what you get.
As anticipated, I now have in the neighborhood of ten plymouth barred rock roosters, not too mention Brewster and Big Red, a Rhode Island red rooster who pretty much stays to himself.
Now it's almost impossible to walk anywhere without confronting a big healthy rooster and I guess I have started to lose my patience from wandering around out there like a drunk, trying to dodge them. I haven't walked a straight line from the feed shed to the chicken yard in so long that the path that I had once worn down is now completely grown over.
This morning I went back to check on piggies and almost immediately a plymouth rooster planted himself in front of me, demanding...feed I guess. I clenched my teeth and just held my course right through the middle of where he was standing. He jumped out of the way at the last minute squawking.
I had the same success with the next two plymouth roosters. I was feeling pretty confident by then, and almost wished Brewster would come along so I could try out MY new intimidation tactic. Sure enough, on my way back to the house I saw him out of the corner of my eye making his way rapidly across the hen yard toward the gate where our paths would cross.
I slowed my progress slightly to make sure that he would be waiting for me at the end of the path. There he stood, eighteen inches of feather, stew makings, and rigid bone, spurs glinting in the early morning sun, cocky as he could be. I never even broke stride, I waded right through the middle of him, scattering feathers and dust, and I'm almost sure I stepped on something connectd and sensitive as he let out a warble that could only be motivated by discomfort of some sort.
The change in his personality was miraculous. I walked several feet before I turned around to look back at him, and found him standing by the gate, his head cocked to the side, one eye gleaming at me. If I could read his mind, assuming he has one, I reckon he was thinking....'what the heck just happened?'...that was what was written all over his face.
I walked back past him two or three times, just to see what he'd do and he stayed glued to the spot he was standing in, but now refused to look at me. I guess his feelings were hurt.
After all the running and dodging and trying to be politically poultry correct, as so often happens, I lost my patience and I am always amazed at what I learn when this happens. Common sense dictates that a hundred and (mumble mumble) pounds far outweighs ten, and all it took was a little short course in weight dynamics to share this information with Brewster.
I still won't go in the hen house when he's in there as he has the advantage of surprise as I never know where he'll spring at me from, but henceforth, the paths belong to me, and if the day ever comes when he starts jumping at me from the top of he gate (he's not dumb, I expect this to happen eventually), well then there's always the stew pot. I have all those plymouth barred rock roosters out there, strong and healthy and looking for work.