Have I mentioned that all of our poultry have saints’ names? I wanted to give the rabbits saints names too, but The Littles always insist on naming new rabbits cute bunny names like Petal or Blossom. Personally, I like names like Boniface or Francis Xavier for a bunny, but it is two against one. So, I’m resigned to naming the chickens and roosters instead. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for me to tell all 25 hens apart. Fine. The hens are all Brigid and the three roosters are all Isidore, after two great saints and patrons of famers.
Anyway, this was a bad week for the Isidores. The fact is, I never wanted roosters. I’m afraid of them. I’ver heard horror stories of rooster attacks. But last fall, our “summer nanny” and chicken guru, Kenny (I’ll have a whole post on Kenny later, but he isn’t really our nanny. We just pretend he is) gave us three beautiful little banty roosters. I couldn’t turn them down partly because they were a gift from Kenny and partly because he put them in my hen house when I wasn’t home, and I was scared to try to get them out.
They’ve been fine. They make a wonderful cock-a-doodled-doo sound, and they strut about so prettily that I really have enjoyed having them. At least I did until a week or so ago. That’s when one of them (we’ll call him Isidore I) started becoming aggressive. I am sure there are more effective ways to deal with an aggressive rooster, but my method is to run out of the hen house and shut the door fast behind me. Unfortunately for Isidore I, I closed the door a little too fast last week and caught his leg. He seemed okay at the time, but I guess he went downhill slowly. By Monday night, the Brigids and the other Isidores had turned on him in his weakened condition. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that those Hunger Games Tributes have nothing on my gals. Hal managed to rescue him before they pecked the poor fella to death, but he did die later of either his leg injury or injuries inflicted by his coop-mates or both. It was really sad.
That being said, I am ready to be rid of my roosters – not because of what happened with Isidore I, but because I think they are the reasons all the Brigids look so awful. I’ve read up on feather loss, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason my gals are so feather bare on their backs is aggressive roosters. There is a thing called a hen saddle (believe it or not) that is designed to protect hens from the effects of overly amorous roosters. And at only $10 each, that is a mere $250! Ummm no thanks. The roosters have got to go.
Chet (who is clearly way braver than I am) captured Isidore II, and we put him in an empty rabbit cage until we could find him a could home. Bad idea. The dogs could not stop obsessing over this one lone rooster, and poor Isidore II was a nervous wreck. Today he flew the coop – literally. I opened the cage to feed him and he flew out before I knew what was happening. I somehow managed to get the dogs put in the house before they snatched him up. But with all my men folk were gone. I was left to face my rooster fears alone. So of course I did what any seasoned farmer would do, I called my mother – my elegant, refined, city-raised mother. As she always does, she rose to the occasion. We managed to wrangle Isidore II back into the hen house. It was a proud moment for us both!
When Hal gets back we will catch him and Isidore III and take them to the Madison County Livestock Auction. From what I hear, that is an adventure all its own. I can’t wait. I’m sure I’ll have lots to tell.