Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Saga of Rusty the Rooster

So I have five nice hens. Their names are Sally, Elizabeth, Dory, Fluffy, and Henrietta. And they all lay eggs quite nicely (you don't need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs.) But I figured they might need a husband.

And since Elizabeth tends to go broody at the drop of hat, it was the only easy way to get fertilized eggs that she would actually hatch. (Last year she raised two bunches of adopted chicks that I stuck under her, after setting on eggs that would never hatch.)

Young Rusty

Anyway, last summer I bought a young colorful Welsummer rooster, about four months old, for $3.00 There are many roosters one can get for free, but this one was a special breed, which produces hens who lay very dark brown eggs. And they are quite pretty, also. I thought I got a good deal on him, and we named him Rusty.

He was young and shy around my hens at first. But soon he was following them all over the yard, and it wasn't long until he decided he was all grown up. He became their husband and their protector.

Rusty was an excellent mate. He escorted his ladies out of the pen each morning, watched them as they went about scratching, eating, laying eggs, taking dust baths, and then made sure they all got back safely into the hen house each night.

Rusty, all grown up
As he got a little older, he became big and beautiful and more proud of himself. Flying up on fence posts, porch railings and crowing to the world (and all the neighbors) how wonderful he was. And Rusty was the epitome of machismo, also. When Henrietta or Elizabeth would cackle from the hen house, announcing that they'd laid their egg for the day, Rusty would rush across the yard and loudly accompany them back to the rest of the flock. Not to anthropomorphize (okay, of course I'm anthropomorphizing) but you could almost hear him say "Get your butt back over here, woman. Now.")

Still, the hens seemed happy (I guess) and everything was going fine until we went away for a few days. And our housesitter (who is quite animal savvy) called to report that the rooster had attacked her.

"What?" I said. "Rusty is the sweetest rooster. Couldn't be."

But when she called a few days later to report that Rusty had flown over an eight-foot fence, rushing all the way across the property to come after her (by this time she was carrying a rake for protection) I began to take her word for it. Dang rooster, anyway.

So when we got home, everything quieted down for awhile. Rusty was calmer now that we were home. He seemed to know who belonged here and who didn't. Oh, he did attack my pant legs ONE time, but I was so surprised that I instinctively kicked him, and he stopped immediately. Still, I always wondered about him after that.

Fast forward a couple of months later. Rusty decides to attack (in full force, flying furiously at him, over and over) our neighbor, who is a big tall man.

"That's it," I said. "I won't have a mean rooster. Rusty, you are outta here!" And because I'm too soft-hearted to put him in the stew pot, I advertised him, instead. Within three hours, Rusty had a nice new home in the country on many acres, with over twenty new hens to meet and greet. Hopefully that will keep him happy for awhile.

I was pleased. I got rid of our problem, and sold him for $5.00. "I made money on him," I exclaimed to my husband.

He raised his eyebrows. "Hmmpff," he said. "Right."

New Rooster, who needs a name
But of course, then I thought my hens were lonely again. So we found a new rooster. This one is the same color, but he is part Banty and much smaller. And, fingers crossed, sweeter in nature.

And it was an even trade. He was $5.00, also. See what a good chicken farmer I am?

Now, what shall we name this one?? Short stuff? Pee Wee? (Suggestions welcome.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Just a Note

Just a note to announce that The Girl Who Remembered Horses is now available at B&, iBooks, Kobo, and Scribd.

And on Amazon, both digital and print copies are available, so you can read it either way.

The print copies have the old cover, but it's the same book inside!

Have you read this one yet?