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.)
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
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
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.)