Testosterone in the Chicken Yard

Peeps is in big trouble. Actually, he is in our house at the moment, crammed into a cage that is almost too small, placed on the bench in front of the wood stove, drying off, recovering from his wounds, and freaking out the cat. If you don’t remember, Peeps is our hand-raised rooster that, until this spring, was one of two roosters in the chicken yard, a marginal situation at best.

But, now we have three roosters in the chicken yard because Johnny, of Frankie and Johnny, turned out like Peeps not to be the hoped-for hen but an unnecessary male. Problem is – Peeps and Johnny were both hand raised by Annie with a start in the kitchen. Rudy II, the older and dominant rooster in the yard, was never hand-raised but inherited the job of protecting the flock when his father, Rudy (you guessed it), died fighting off a raccoon.

Greg has suggested we solve our over abundance of roosters by eating one. I say, if they have names, they are not meant for the dinner table. But something will need to be done sooner than later. Peeps cannot live indoors with us and we obviously can’t have three roosters!

As if it isn’t enough I am dealing with a sad, injured chicken in the house, our tom turkey has taken to challenging me in the chicken yard. At this point, he stays a boot kick away because I can’t have some big bird fly at me whenever he likes. Seems we may have picked the wrong turkey to eat for Christmas dinner last year.

It is slightly alarming to have a large bird, that comes up to my waist, following me around my chores in the yard, gobbling and puffing out his feathers. At first I thought he didn’t like the white bucket I use to dispense feed, since he knocked it out of my hand with a swat from his wings, but he is indiscriminate these days whether I have the bucket or not. I wish I knew what his problem was. It isn’t as if the female is sitting on a nest and he is guarding it. He just seems to have a problem with something larger than himself.

I did find a solution of sorts just this past weekend. Our 4-year old niece entered the chicken yard to collect eggs carrying her Eeyore umbrella and the tom gave us both a wide berth. Guess he decided a big, blue and white turkey was scarier than a crazed woman flapping her arms.

We obviously have some problems as we approach springtime, with longer days, meaner animals, itchy sheep, and grass that is greener on the outside of the fence. The newest problem, of my own making, rousted me from a deep sleep this morning at about 5:30 a.m. What do they say, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound”? Well how about, “If you put a rooster in the house, will it still crow at 5:30 a.m.”? The answer: it sure does and it won’t shut up until you throw it in the mud room,close all the doors between it and the bedroom, crawl back into bed with cold feet, and try to fall back to sleep with a thumping heart from running down the stairs in the first place. Peeps goes back into the chicken yard tonight!

Top photo: Peeps and Cisco share the warmth of the fireplace for some R & R
Bottom photo: Hopie and her Eeyore umbrella face off with our tom turkey

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2008 Scottie Jones

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