Tag Archives: rooster

in which I nearly saved Wil Wheaton’s life

Continued from SAVE FERRIS.

Originally posted on 8-16-12.

If you’ve never kept chickens, you can’t imagine how unbelievably soap opery your life can become. This guy is a problem for me.

And what old lady doesn’t just fall in love with a beautiful gangly teenage boy? Well, he’s getting past the gangly part now, but ok, say he’s like 25 or something, and he’s going all drop dead gorgeous on me, kinda like Bradley James in Merlin. He’s suddenly starting to get his confidence and following the girls around, which you hear throughout the day as surprised and very angry squawks, because about all you get when someone twice your size hops on is one squawk. It kinda sounds like someone tripping over an old fashioned bicycle honk horn off and on through the day. *squawk* ~he’s at it again~

Living with stuff like that going on makes a person think about things, like how we all can’t do much more on this planet than practice on each other. We practice all kinds of stuff until we eventually sift out the important stuff and get it (hopefully) boiled down to kindness and consideration. In the meantime, we all take turns tolerating what others stumble around learning, in this case, impromptu sex without any kind of manual. Humans at least get all kinds of social guidance, but that poor rooster has to figure it all out by himself on a group of angry females.

The problem is that I live in a covenanted subdivision that doesn’t allow ‘farm animals’ (and that includes frowning on racing pigeons), but I’m getting away with a few chickens since 2005 because we house them in a very nice building tucked back behind the house (and it actually matches our house, right down to the siding and tiled roof) and I stubbornly have them documented with a psychologist that these particular pets are important to my psychological health. I grew up with chickens, but never had them here until my health took a nasty nosedive and I spent several years recovering from injury and illness impacting my nervous system, which totally sucked. Desperate for distraction and a reason to crawl out of my house and into my yard, I wobbled into the local feed store and came home with baby chicks. That works, by the way. If you can’t find a reason to keep living through anguish and pain, by all means, *create one*. I’m much better now, and I have no doubt it’s because I challenged myself to the caring for other beings on this planet that required more of me than I thought I was capable of giving.

Ok, got sidetracked. The problem is that a rooster crowing in this neighborhood is a dispute just waiting to happen, to put it nicely. Neighbors have taken each other to court over so little as a foot of lawn, and the whole covenant thing means some of my neighbors go to great pains to enforce little ‘laws’ that are so nidiotically stupid that you can’t believe they have nothing better to do with their lives than to write lengthy letters to offices in the county courthouse. What’s even more frustrating is that these same neighbors will own very expensive dogs that the state says is illegal for me to shoot at even with a pellet gun (but the state conversely strongly encourages us to shoot and kill ‘feral’ cats), and these dogs sometimes run around the whole neighborhood, leaving wakes of chaos and destruction.

Personally, if *I* owned a $900 dog, I’d be a little worried someone would kidnap it (Missouri has one of the highest dognapping rates in the U.S. for illegal pit bull fight training). One year got so bad that I put video on youtube of a neighbor’s dogs throwing themselves maniacally against my chicken pens (chickens will destroy themselves having panic attacks and stop laying for days, and I have rare breed chickens that have to be special ordered, so I get a little tense), and I was so ill that year that I could barely get across my lawn, and just trying to grab one of the dogs (I grew up with dogs, I can handle dogs) turned into a scary situation because I didn’t have the mobility or strength to negotiate its constantly lunging body weight. The only thing I can do about the dogs legally is call the police, but I can’t illegally detain the dogs, so by the time the police come, it’s just my word, unless I’ve got video of the uncontrollable violence. Chickens are like the playstation of the dog world, that’s total video gaming to them, and sooner or later, someone dies and the dog rolls happily in extra points and the easter egg prize, pun intended. Anyway, the point is, I have more leverage with the dog owners and whatever legal recourse they feel entitled to in the name of peace and quiet (which is a joke with their ATVs) if I keep comparatively quieter hens and no noisy rooster.

The simplistic answer to this problem by nearly everyone I know is just eat the rooster. And yes, I grew up doing that, that’s what you do, it’s practical, it’s logical, and it’s the circle of life on any farm. You eat your pets. Your babies. Your loved ones. And that’s where this soap opera goes all nutty, because, thanx to midlife and a major hormone crisis last spring that dredged up flashbacks of losing an unborn child in an awful way, I can’t touch this. You know why women anywhere near menopause either stay on birth control or wind up on head pills? Because people who *don’t* can wind up like ~moi~, melting down into disassociating on a highway in traffic. I don’t take ‘medicine’, like Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies, but a LOT of women I know drink their way through their midlife crises. I’m a firmly renounced alcoholic, I drank that stuff like koolaid in my mid 20′s and nearly destroyed myself. I’ve spent the last two years getting *off* handfuls of meds that got me through the worst of my debilitating pain, and I’m not going back on them because they screwed me up in the long run as much as anything could. So I’m just gritting my teeth and pushing forward through skating around the edge of what feels like mental illness, although my psychologist assures me I’m ok, take it slow, ‘small bites’, weather through the hormones readjusting themselves. It sounds like this is really common stuff, but you don’t just hear women confessing how ‘crazy’ they feel during big hormone changes because it’s so taboo, especially now with tv shows like Snapped (which I’ve actually never seen).

So here’s the deal. I grew up killing things, on a Mennonite farm. I have strong values and core beliefs, but I grew up with a hatchet in one hand and a knife in the other. I grew up smelling blood, blood smeared all over me and other stuff, even worked on jobs later where lots of blood was involved, like cleaning in a hospital after births and surgeries and deaths. The LAST thing I want in my life while I’m feeling even vaguely crazy is a beautiful little guy dying by my hands and then having its blood on me and then *eating* it, because right now everything is triggering flashbacks of losing that baby.

This is a big thing. There are people I know who won’t understand this, they’ll think I’m making a bigger deal of it than it actually is, I’m being ridiculous. When you grow up around practical people, you get blown off a lot if you have a problem. Or if you are the rock solid one around other flighty people, they’re floored when you suddenly have the problem, they don’t know what to do with you. I’m in a weird situation. But people who didn’t grow up killing what they eat are probably shocked to read this. Any vegetarian, I’m sure, is doubly shocked that this is such a conundrum in the first place.

I had to break down and spell it out to Scott the other day, because he wasn’t getting it, either. He’s sweet, though, and asked around work if anyone would want a rooster, and guess what, tomorrow is the big day. A coworker has a brother who in years past was a principal or superintendent or something in one of the school districts, and he has chickens. *wow* Talk about luck. And after I hand my rooster off, this burden is gone, and I don’t have to know any more what happens. Dr. Isaac Parrish just might hit the jackpot and get thrown in with a whole flock of more experienced hens… I doubt his new owner will call him that, but for a short time in my little life, a chicken named Dr. Parrish was a real thing. And that’s where it’s a good thing I named him for a tv character, because otherwise I’d be able to say I saved Wil Wheaton’s life, and people really would think I was crazy.

SAVE FERRIS

Continued from I have this chicken thing.

Originally posted on 7-29-12.

We’re starting to call Abby ‘Prince Abner’ now… She/He is front and center there.

I go out of my way to order hens (for this flock I drove personally to another city) because my neighbors aren’t keen on the crowing. I’m not keen on their dogs, but we’ve agreed to declare my yard a demilitarized zone. They keep their dogs out of my yard, I don’t get roosters.

I have butchered a LOT of chickens in my life. When you grow up Mennonite on a farm, you see*. death*. everywhere*. It’s a way of life and I have no problem eating chicken, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten softer. It kills me to have to kill my chickens now, even if they’re miserably dying of illness and old age. I love them, wah!!!!

Abs is a beautiful bird, and either she’s going to be an Amazonian machine, or he’s going to be dinner. This is weighing more and more heavily on my mind every morning, with the crowing… It’s been so many years since I’ve eaten one of my own babies, I’m not sure I can do it anymore.

Roosters are funny thangs. They’re actually kind of effeminate the first three months, usually looking more and more like giant klutzes, and you wonder what the crap because you paid top dollar getting them sexed and surely this one isn’t having a growth hormone problem, you know? I’ve seen a lot of weird genetic stuff in chickens, anything is possible. But then the crowing starts… It’s like when a boy’s voice starts changing, it sounds really weird for awhile and you go, really?, and that’s what makes you think it might still be a hen, because hens crowing can sound a little ridiculous. Btw, that doesn’t mean they’re turning into roosters or going androgynous, it’s just a natural bird thing for a tribal leader to clearly state territory proclamations. If there is no rooster, a lead hen sometimes naturally takes over. It’s a very important job and must be done correctly, and you can go all Terry Pratchett-y if you dwell on that too long.

Anyway, I’ve been through this umpteen times, gangly awkward teenager goes giganto and starts irritating everyone, practicing foolishly on old hens who get miffed when an ideal opportunity pops up as they are getting a drink, and next thing you know, Jr. is on his back in the water bowl because he can’t keep his balance, and the old lady’s head is squashed under the kid ~in the water~, and, well, I’m pretty sure that’s where the saying “mad as a wet hen” originated from.

And then the spurs start nubbing out, and boy don’t they feel all sassy then, and oh look, legs walking across the yard, *stealthstealthcoolstealth* here he comes, dragging a wing and hopping sideways, then the LEAP, and *whamo*, I block the nidiot with a slick hip move and send him rolling, and he thinks that’s so awesome that he comes right back and keeps throwing his body all over me, and dang if he’s not trashing my good pants, what was I thinking wearing them in the back yard… My dad got specially bred fighting roosters one year because he thought they’d look pretty walking around the yard, boy was that a joke. You get one of those guys on your head and it’s exactly like a cartoon, but with real blood. Nowadays you could impress people saying a zombie nearly got you.

I’m kind of hoping we can wait this one out and see what happens, maybe break out the good camera and have some fun with it. And maybe rename the guy. I’m not crazy about just sliding it over to ‘Abner’, and I really wanna stick to my tv character theme. Abby was for two Abbies, the one on NCIS, and the one on Primeval. You know what? Today is Wil Wheaton‘s birthday, I could use one of his characters, like Dr. Isaac Parrish (who is, incidentally, a dick) from Eureka. Or I *could* just name him Wil Wheaton, because technically he played himself on The Big Bang Theory but I hate to do that because later on I’d be saying Yeah, Wil Wheaton got mangled in a dog attack, or Wil Wheaton got hit by a car, or we ate Wil Wheaton for supper last night, and a phrase like that could wind up throwing some kind of horrible cosmic irony at me if me saying that happened to coincide with something terrible actually happening to the guy. I mean, what if a raccoon found a way into the pen and ate Wil Wheaton’s brain? And the biggest Prairie Kingsnake Scott ever saw went slithering past the Quackerdome door while it was wide open last spring, easily 4 feet long. You just never know, so that’s why I don’t name chickens after anyone real, because it sounds bad when you tell someone they died, you know? Kinda bothers my sister to hear someone had a pig named her name but it died, can’t say I blame her. She has a cute name that winds up in songs, so I’m not saying it was disturbing to have a pig named after her, ok, this is getting out of hand, you know what I mean.  It sounds like a jinx.

Behold, Dr. Isaac Parrish.

This continues at in which I nearly save Wil Wheaton’s life.