Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Has Come to the Chicken Yard..kinda!

Spring has come to the chicken yard..kinda! I have nursed my remaining eleven pullets and two roosters through a harsh North Missouri winter, fought mightily against their propensity for suicide by accident as fledglings, grieved repentantly over the one I dropped the gate on, struggled through snow drifts to ensure plenteous food and a perpetual water supply..and my reward has been what I call extremely minimal.

Only one small hen, of the ancient Dominecker breed if anyone is interested, has shown enough gratitude to produce anything. Of her I will say that she is conscientiously committed and surprisingly productive. But she can’t carry the load alone. I have explained this in terms I thought ANYONE could understand to the flock on several occasions with no result. I have given explicit instructions, provided all necessary supplies..yet the underperformance is…well it’s disappointing.

I’m beginning to think it is the fault of Marlboro, the White Wyandotte Rooster that somehow wormed his way into the order I received for fifty day-old pullets(females) last October.

Marlboro is an extremely aggressive but lovely specimen of chicken manhood and already shows every indication of excessive testosterone. He totally consumes all the spare time the little hens have by running them around the pen and doing what roosters do when they have the slightest opportunity. He is equipped with a fierce, yellow eye, a strong projectile of a beak and large and very sharp spurs. His hostility is magnified by a large, red comb that stands upright and waggles threateningly when he is irritated. He is a man to be reckoned with.

Winston, another chick of the male persuasion, also missed the cut when they were shipped. Winston has a fierce visage, and sharp spurs too. He is as big as Marlboro and as strong. But Winston lacks commitment! At some point Marlboro got his bluff in and Winston now makes no advances toward the hen flock. His comb droops in a rather depressing manner and his gaze tends to wander to the feed pan and to the chicken picture on the feed sack.. This is rather sad because it leaves him with no romantic outlet other than the feed sack chicken.

Winston has taken to dancing with the feed sack in the way of roosters and if ever there was an exercise in futility this has to be it. But, if he gets anything out of it who am I to interfere. Marlboro doesn’t seem to care about the feed sack pin-up chicken girl so Winston has her all to himself and spends considerable time doing the little chicken dance of roosters. ..hop..hop..scratchy scratchy..hop hop wing down and trailing like a feathered toreador cape..more hop hop..stretch the neck..fluff out the neck feathers..well I’m sure you know what I mean. It all seems more than a little pointless to me but then I’m not a chicken.

Anyway, people who know “all about chickens” tell me that the hens will begin to lay soon and all will lay at once. Won’t that be nice?