Saturday, May 8, 2010

New kid in town

How nice does it feel, when you've finally had enough, to take action?

That was me last weekend after being terrorized by my yearling rooster, Buddy, every time I let the chickens free range. This wasn't a one-time'd been going on for about a month. I blame Paul for the first incident, as he'd let the chickens out one evening when I was to be home late, and forgot to prop the door open so they could go back in to roost. I came home to find chickens roosting everywhere...a pile of wood on the ground, in the slats between our two open stalls, directly on the ground. It was dark, and it was a fiasco. I and my trusty flashlight located and carried the hens to the roost one by one, but Buddy, being Mr. Tough Guy, walked himself in...and in the dark, took a left turn too early and ended up behind a hay bale instead of inside the coop. I had to rescue him and carry him in, too, which really ticked him off (roosters don't like to be held, unless they're used to it).

That first incident resulted in him attacking (or threatening to attack) my rubber boots about once per week. The worst time left me with a knot on my shin. My recourse was to boot him (literally) several feet away to get him away from me, and then chase him into submission all around the paddock. Lather, rince, repeat.

Last weekend, while I was out there on the phone with my mom, he came at me again, this time flying up chest-high, intent to scratch my eyes out or something. (He'd never before attacked my person...only my boots.) I'm sure my mom's ears were bleeding after hearing the stream of yelled expletives leaving my mouth. That event was the final straw. I decided he'd be going to the Chehalis auction the following weekend (I'd have to get up too darn early the next day to catch him while he slept, and I wasn't willing). I'm still too much of a wimp to dispatch him myself, or believe me, I would have. He was a big boy and would probably stew nicely.

However, Craigslist to the rescue! I found an ad from a woman willing to trade a mean rooster for one of her nice ones. A few emails back and forth and we settled it. I drove Buddy to Yelm on Tuesday evening after work, and after checking her available roos over (there were many, including a beautiful but mean Rhode Island Red - no thank you), I settled on a Buff Orpington/Rhode Island Red cross boy. He's young, maybe 7 months old or so, and doesn't have spurs yet. But boy is he pretty. Into the dog crate he went. He spent an hour in his crate in the back of my Subaru while I performed my secretary duties at the Grange meeting, but didn't seem to mind too much.

So far he's settled in well. The girls were a bit upset the first evening, especially Mama, one of the Easter Eggers, who raised her hackles and tried to peck him into submission. (They were on opposing roosts and he wanted up. He won in the end.) His crow is "under development," and while I know he'll eventually be as loud as Buddy was, hopefully we can live harmoniously together so I never resent his crow like I did Buddy's.

I think he needs a name. Rusty? Copper? Red? I'll work on that...but I guarantee it won't be anything like "Buddy" or "Pal." That type of name just asks to be proven wrong, doesn't it?

Hello, gorgeous!


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