Friday, June 19, 2009

More rooster drama

The neighbor who took our roosters stopped by yesterday with an armful of homemade fabric grocery sacks and said, "I'm here to barter."

Apparently a raccoon got into the rooster pen the previous night, and tore up one of the roosters. She needed some muscle to help move some panels around to secure the pen. I saw the hurt rooster and suggested we let them out. I felt sorry for them and was sure they would stick around now it had been a few more days.

It started to rain, so we sat in her screen house chatting. Then I felt guilty and thought I should help her fix the pen just in case she needed it, since that had been the original plan. We got the pen altogether, and then couldn't find the roosters. I sent the Firebird home to check it out, since I could hear crowing coming from our house.

He came back with the report that one rooster had returned-the hurt one was no where to be found. So I went home and we spent some time chasing the rooster, trying to get him into the chicken house. He was trying to fight our old rooster through the fence, so I shut the coop to lock everyone else in the pen, and tried to get him in the chickenhouse.

Well, chickens are not too dumb, I guess. That plan worked before, but there was no way we were getting that guy cornered yesterday. Finally I gave up and went in to start dinner. Then the neighbor showed up and I told her I would call her when we caught him.

Today it poured like mad. We ended up with three inches of rain. I reversed the plan, and locked the flock in the chicken house and left the pen open. The rooster huddled by the chicken house door crowing pathetically, but running whenever he saw us. Big drowned rats are scary. ;)

This afternoon I looked out and Whitey, the little white leghorn hen, had escaped the house and was in the yard with the rooster. Sure enough, she showed him the pen was open, and in a little while I went out and locked them in. I left a place open for them to get in the house but be in a separate cage so they could get out of the rain but not in with the flock.

Nope, they stayed in the rain. Finally I decided I should catch him and take him to the neighbor, so I called her and told her I would be bringing him by. I felt he would be better off over there even if I had to chase him around the flooded pen. I had chicken feathers stuck to my mud boots by the time I caught him.

I arrived next door and saw the hurt rooster in the pen was as soaked and muddy as the one I was returning. The tarp she had thrown over the pen was leaking like a sieve. She said she was going to get a plastic tarp and put over it, so I left her to it.

I have to feel badly for taking those poor guys away from their home. It's really not bad running free at the neighbors', and if they had stayed put like their two brothers, they wouldn't be locked in the pen and nearly eaten by a raccoon.

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