Friday, October 17, 2008

Male Influence

The testosterone-to-estrogen ratio on our farm is grossly out of balance. Poor Paul, Gravy and Tom have to compete for equal hormone status with me, Sheila, Bridgit, Maggie, Honey and eleven laying hens. That's a lot of work.

To whit, I have decided to hire another male to assist Paul and at least help hold up the male endo of the ratio while he's away at elk camp next month; I'm in the market for a rooster.

Ok, all kidding aside, now that I'm onboard for giving the hens some semi-supervised free range time on weekends (when I'm home), I thought it would be a good idea to get a rooster. The rooster's role in a flock goes beyond simple reproduction; he's also the flock lookout and protector. See, if danger looks, the rooster will call out to his flock in alarm, and all will go running to safety (be it from a four-legged ground roaming preditor, or something overhead). I've heard the rooster will even be the last "man" in, waiting for his ladies to take cover before he goes in. I've also heard of some ferocious battles between roosters and marauders...the man fights to protect his girls.

It's sounding like I might have a viable candidate several miles up the road from me, possibly a Black Australorp (like Delores and Eleanor). I will admit I'm a bit nervous about the thought of carting home a strange rooster...I have no experience with roosters, but from what I understand, if he gets cheeky I have to show him I'm boss. It's a little stressful to think about having to possibly exert dominance over yet another farmyard critter (given we have to practice daily with Bridgit, and during feeding times with Sheila, too).

I also think I might need to fashion the ever-fashionable chicken saddle for each of the "big girls" in the main coop, so that if I do bring home Mr. Rooster, and if he decides to be amorous, he won't tear the girls' naked back flesh. The saddle will form some protection (and is also thought to help the hens regrow feathers out of reach of their picking sisters).

Of course, even after the saddles are made, there's the whole problem of dressing the chickens, 2/3 of whom do not want to be caught. I'll have to add "buy sewing notions and fabric" to my to-do list for the weekend.

1 comment:

  1. If he gets cheeky you can always do what we do here...fry him, or make broth and move on to the next candidate. :-)
    Everyone always comments on how nice and kind all our animals are...I just smile. ;-)


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