You might remember from my previous rantings, that I have more roosters than I know what to do with. Currently, I have 3.5 roosters…what? Well. Vinnie doesn’t count for a whole rooster because…well, he’s more of the “flock mascot” than an official rooster, so I only count him as half a rooster. He doesn’t really act like a rooster, but more like maybe a rooster in drag as a hen. I don’t know. He may need some counseling to figure the whole thing out.
Let’s just go over the rooster population again, shall we? Well, we’re going to anyway.
Cluck Norris is a rusty colored fellow with a bright-colored coral pink comb. Cluck was in our first batch of chicks and is an Easter Egger. He’s generally a good guy. I’ve never had any problems with him being overly aggressive or bossy. He tends to keep to himself, keep an eye on the sky, and tries to keep the rest of the group under a modicum of control. We were a bit worried about Cluck’s personality because he eyes us suspiciously when we come into the coop. Although, the neighbors eye me suspiciously when I’m outside in those black and white leopard print pajama pants, so I can’t say that he’s entirely out of line. We also are BENT on making sure these chickens are used to being picked and that they understand that we aren’t there to hurt them and that they must humor us from time to time by letting us pick them up and tell them what nice chickens they are. Cluck thinks that’s the dumbest idea he’s ever heard. He has, once in a while, started to get a bit of an attitude…that’s when we make sure that we corner his feathery butt and carry him around under our arm until he understands that maybe he’s not completely in charge. One night, he even sat on Greg’s leg for a significant period of time without being restrained in concrete shoes. He’s beginning to grow spurs, but he’s still gentle and submissive with us. I’m sure his “I’M A ROOSTER!!!” hormones haven’t kicked in yet. He also still peeps like a chick and I’ve talked to him several times and told him that he’ll never be taken seriously if he keeps peeping, but if he feels the need to CROW, please wait until after 10 am and then just crow quietly. He just looks at me like he’s thinking “When is this bat going to put me down”.
Paul and Reuben were once named Pearl and Ruby. They came from that notorious bin at the farm store that is marked “PULLETS” and of course…they aren’t pullets. They’re also known as THE BORBs (Buff Orpington Rooster Brothers). When we first got them, even as chicks, there was a lot of challenging each other and chest bumping. It’s just gotten worse now that they’re bigger. They are nasty little dudes. In addition to challenging each other constantly, they also bully the other chickens in the pen, including poor Cluck. Remember those two velociraptors in the first Jurassic Park movie that trapped the kids in the kitchen? These guys remind me of those two raptors. Their whole day revolves around being rotten. They steal the choicest chickweed stems out of the beaks of the pullets and they mercilessly torment poor Vinnie by chasing him away from piles of weeds that I throw into the run. Vinnie takes it all in stride, chortles a little bit, and then moves onto a BORB free pile of weeds (I make sure I throw out several different areas of weeds so the more submissive chickens get a shot at some). While Cluck is concerned with watching the sky and sending out “DANGER CLUCKS”, the BORBS are obsessed with getting all the best food, running over other chickens in the run, unprovoked pecking and just being general all around jerks. They are skittish and aren’t responding to our “You’re a Nice Chicken” boot camp either.
So, I have these 3.5 roosters that are now just over 2 months old. That means, crowing could be just around the corner (unless Cluck just sticks with peeping and is made fun of at rooster school). Crowing is the only thing that I’m completely worried about. I should be worried about being spurred to death, but someone who is spurred to death generally doesn’t wake up the neighbors at ungodly times of the day. Crowing does wake people up at ungodly hours of the day and then after a few days of that, those people show up on your door step with torches and pitchforks…and they aren’t there to help clean the coop.
Then there’s the problem that is eventually going to occur where one of the roosters decides it’s time to make an attempt at achieving the title of “SUPREME UNIVERSAL RULER”, which is going to cause problems because even Siri on my iPhone refers to me as “SUPREME UNIVERSAL RULER” and much like the Queen of England, I’m not quite ready to relinquish that role to a mere chicken…that was not a shot at Prince Charles…I swear.
I decided I would keep Cluck and of course, Vinnie…who, by the way, hasn’t shown any signs of being a rooster other than his red comb and wattles and slightly curved tail feathers. The BORBS were going to have to go. I know that many people just (gulp) eat the chickens that they don’t need for laying. I was fully aware of that when I got the chicks. I was on a chicken forum one day lamenting my rooster population when one very nice girl mentioned sending them to “freezer camp”. Freezer camp? Huh. I thought about it for all of 2 seconds and knew I couldn’t do it. No matter how rotten they are, I can’t kill them. They are absolutely beautiful young birds…with absolutely crazy raging hormones. They can’t help it. They’re just wired up to be who they are and I’m wired up to be a soft, sappy, animal lover who can beat the hell out of a spider with a bunny slipper, but who also considers these feathered crazies as living beings who should have a good life…at least as good of a life as a chicken’s life can be. They just can’t live at MY house.
I ran a couple of ads, one at work and one on Craigslist and had absolutely no one bite on the ads. I was getting concerned because they’re getting even more aggressive to their run mates and I feel like the anxiety of the whole flock is noticeable. I found a listing for a small animal swap that was coming up at a local farm store and I decided I’d haul their feathery tushes to that and hope that someone bought them…or that I could PAY someone to take them. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but it had to be done.
Then I got a text. “Do you still have the roosters?”
CRAIGSLIST!!!! I replied that I did and told her they were $5 dollars and the next text said that they were looking for 4H project roosters for their daughter and they would like to take them both and since they were a bit of a distance away, they’d be happy to meet us half-way if that was agreeable.
Agreeable??? I could hardly text back because I was so excited. I might just give her the darn things and be done with it because I’m so grateful to get them to a new home!
So we set up to meet this Saturday. We’re going to box up the BORBs and shuttle them to a small town about an hour from here in Illinois where we’re meeting the folks who are going to be their new caretakers. I’m so excited. The text told me to get off at this specific exit, drive past the hotel to the Shell station and they would be waiting in a black van.
Greg’s convinced they’ll be in a pot pie by Sunday.