Happy Monday! Well, not really…

It’s been an interesting morning.  Vinnie lost his virginity last night and had the nerve to do it in front of Mr. Head Rooster In Charge, Cluck.  After Vinnie did the deed with one of the Wyandottes, he was feeling pretty proud of himself until Cluck tried to rip his head off.  I have never seen two chickens run that fast…EVER.  I got everyone inside and settled down and on the roosting bar and they all went to sleep as usual.

This morning, I went out to let them out of the run and oddly, they were still in bed (on the roost).  I opened the door, told them they were lazy buggers and went to get Vi and Amy set up for the day in the grow out pen.  The MINUTE I turned my back, Cluck went after Vinnie again and it was horrible.  Just a note…”STOP IT YOU (expletive deleted)” does not phase roosters.

Vinnie ran for his life, really…he did…and Cluck was right on his tail.  I’ve never seen Cluck that angry.  He finally got Vinnie in a corner and that’s when I stepped in…like an idiot.

I grabbed Cluck and hefted him across the coop and then I chased him out into the run and shut the run door so that Vinnie could get himself together.  He wasn’t hurt, but he was really, really frightened and upset.  Cluck was out in the run griping up a storm and probably describing in rooster language, what he was going to do to Vinnie when he caught him.  I threw scratch into the run to get the hens busy because they were agitated.  I threw a couple of harmless, well-aimed handfuls of scratch at Cluck just to remind him to mind his manners.  Once Cluck dropped his head to peck for scratch, I went back into the coop and found Vinnie standing on the highest roost, clucking nervously.  I opened the run door….and hoped for the best.  I had to get ready for work.

cluck and vinnieBefore I left, I told Tom that if it kept up and it looked like Cluck was going to harm Vinnie…that he should feel free to dispatch Cluck to the Chicken Coop In the Sky.  It broke my heart to say it.  I contacted some friends that are experienced with having two roosters and they recommended that I wait before we go that route.  They said that I’m best to let the two of them work it out.

They’re right.  I also know I need to stay out of it so that I don’t make it worse for Vinnie and so that I don’t get hurt by either of them.

This is the really hard part of chicken keeping.  I treat them as pets and truly, they’re farm animals.  They can’t be domesticated like a dog or cat because they are SO hard-wired to be what they are…chickens.  I think it was a good lesson for me this morning.  I think Cluck and Vinnie might have learned a couple of things too.  Tom called me later and said that they were sitting side by side in the dust bath, preening, surrounded by hens.

I guess next time, because there will be a next time, I just let them do their thing and fight it out.

I might blast them with the hose, though.   It’s probably not recommended, but dang it, a little operant conditioning never hurt anyone.  So Cluck, here’s the deal.  Attack the zebra striped one and you both get wet.  Got it?

Good.

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