Thursday, August 25, 2016

Can't Turn Your Back on Anyone

Among our first chickens, were some Dominique chicks given to us by a friend from church.  We raised these cute little barred chicks like pets.  I would go out and sit and feed them dried meal worms from my hands.They were so friendly and would come running when I whistled.  they knew that if I whistled I was bringing treats.  They trusted me and I trusted them.  After a few months, it became clear which ones were pullets and which were cockerels.  Still they all remained very friendly and loved eating the meal worms from my hands.  Then came the dreadful day that one of my sweet and friendly roosters (now quite large) ran up and pecked my hand.  It wasn't a "love peck" either!  I told Willy and Tristan and they laughed and told me I'd probably just startled him.  I was cool with this because I loved my sweet babies.

A few days rocked on and all was well. Then, for no apparent reason, this same rooster (obviously the dominant rooster of the bunch) ran up, grabbed the skin on my hand and twisted it hard!  He PINCHED me very hard and obviously on purpose!  It seems he was trying to establish the pecking order by showing me who was at the top!  If you know me, you know this is NOT the way to get me to comply!  Now Willy and Tristan are convinced that I am doing something that irritates him.  I assure them I am doing what I have done since they were little!

The animosity between this rooster and I grew daily.  Each day he tried to make it worse than the last.  Finally, I'd had enough.  He tried to flog me (thank goodness he had no spurs yet).  The chase was on.  I chased him up and down and all around that pen until I caught him.  I picked him up, held him for a while, and we had a good talk.  I put him down expecting his compliance.  He charged me again.  I chased him, caught him, picked him up and talked again (more seriously this time).  I put him down.  Charge - Chase - Repeat!  Finally he gave up (as it turns out, it was only for that day).

My son eventually experienced the wrath of this rooster.  He gave him a not so nice nickname (which I shall not mention) and it stuck.  This rooster reached the point that he would stand at the fence and wait and watch for me.  He started warning me the instant I reached the fence and would follow all the way to the gate warning me not to enter.  WHATEVER!  That was MY pen and I was the top of the pecking order (if only I could convince him of that).

It wasn't until later (months of this disrespect actually) that we learned that Dominiques are aggressive by nature.  It wasn't me after all!  He eventually ended up being the first chicken to go in the freezer.  That's a story for another day!

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