Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Love is in the air

There is simple pleasure in standing at the kitchen sink, doing dishes, and watching the antics of my own chickens through the window.

And, lately, well, those antics have included some more amorous happenings.

Shortly after our roosters started to crow, we started to hear another unmistakable sound coming from outside: the sound of a hen trying desperately to get away from the suitor who has taken hold of her neck feathers. At first, Caleb would yell at the roosters. It is, after all, a very disturbing picture. But, he's now gotten used to the idea that this is life for the hen. She may squawk, but that is the way God made those chickens.

And, man, it is funny to watch them now. They must be working out who belongs to who, because when one rooster starts to get that lovin' feeling, all the other roosters come to check it out. It's like they aren't sure if they are supposed to be upset or not. And those hens? They can really run. Yesterday, I watched a hen running her little legs off all over the yard, dodging this way and that, all the time with a rooster in hot pursuit. I don't know if he ever did catch her because she darted behind the coop.
This guy here is one of our Black Giant roosters. We have two of them. And in my estimation, they must be the head guys. They challenge us every time we come near. Caleb was out playing ball once and when he started to run, the rooster started to chase him. I've had one of them knock into me on more than one occasion while I was in the coop doing chores. And they seem to crow the most.

On the occasion of this picture above, I was sitting in the middle of the yard and this guy came up to me and circled me. He kept getting closer and closer, always keeping himself in this position, with his side to me. When he got close enough, I reached out to touch him and he kicked me! All I can say is that he better watch it. I have a chicken plucker and I know how to use it. It'll be nice to have an aggressive rooster or two guarding the hens once we get them out on the pasture, but I am a bit concerned that he'll get even more cocky (!) around us.

The chickens aren't the only ones experiencing thoughts of love this Valentine's Day. We happen to believe that Chief Wahoo might be "in the family way." Either that, or she's just putting on weight. I haven't asked her. I wouldn't want to insult her.

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