I've got this thing with roosters. It goes back to my childhood, growing up on a farm.
There was the rooster Friendly, who did not live up to his name. I distinctly remember being "treed" in the Lilac, scrambling up the thin branches to escape his sharp beak that pecked at my bare shins and ankles. Friendly wasn't so friendly and he tortured me.
On days when it was my turn to feed the sheep, I'd have to map out his location from inside the house. When I determined that he was nowhere near, I'd race up the path to the barn, where I was safe from his head down, wings spread, waddling attacks.
Then there was Ronald Reagan. He was quite protective of his wife, Nancy. I remember that he was nasty, just like Friendly, but unfortunately he chose to be nasty to the wrong man–my father.
I remember walking across the yard one Sunday morning, when Ronald Reagan decided to launch an attack on my father's legs. I recall that a cup of hot coffee was thrown in his direction, and I recall that Ronald Reagan was mysteriously missing from the farm when we returned from church that afternoon.
So when our six Rhode Island hens revealed themselves to be five hens plus one rooster, my childhood memories forced a tightness in my stomach.
Would I once again be plagued by a nasty rooster?
Would he torture my own children sending them hysterically scrambling for the Walnut Tree?
The girls have named him Hedgie and he's oddly become the tamest of the brood. But I worry that this domestication could eventually become our (or his) downfall. When I swing open the coop door each morning, he's standing there, in the doorway, waiting. The coop sits up off the ground and when he stands in the doorway he's almost eye level. I find it intimidating.
When my arms are reaching deep into the feed bag to bring out a scoop of grain, he stands quite close to me, his beak practically brushing against my legs, his head tilted to look up at me.
When I walk away from the coop, over the small wooden bridge and back to the yard, I often sense him in a scurrying waddle, racing to catch up to me. I turn and there he is on my heels. I tell myself he's just wondering what good things I have for him. And that he's such a sweet rooster. A sweet, sweet rooster.
But I still worry.
So far, Hedgie's been a gentleman. Perhaps, a slightly cocky gentleman. (no pun intended) He finds the guineas more entertaining than the hens and stays close to them. Sometimes he invades my space, my comfort zone and I give him a little nudge with my leg, just to let him know who's boss. Sometimes he puffs up his chest and moves in a little closer. And sometimes, he turns and walks away, completely disinterested.
And I haven't told the girls my rooster tales from childhood. I think it's better that way. So that they're looking for the good in Hedgie, not the bad.
Meanwhile, I'll scout out the best trees for escape-climbing and think about investing in some ping-pong-ball-shooting guns for the girls to wear in their waistbands. To ward off the chicken hawks and potentially grumpy roosters, of course.
**I realize all these pictures are of the hens, except for the first. Hedgie's always the first out the door. He doesn't stick around for photoshoots.**
23 comments on “Farm Girl Friday: Befriending a Rooster”
dang. i want my own rooster.
Great story! Oh, the childhood and more recent memories your coop brought back. Our rooster, named Big Rooster, is quite tame. Our former rooster, Elvis, wasn’t.
Roosters have always scared me too. I remember being at my grandma’s just playing in the yard only to see fast movement in the corner of my eye. It was a mad dash to get on the front porch before the rooster got ya.We are planning on getting chickens again in the spring. I enjoy my hens.
Ohhh…I hope he stays a gentleman. Thanks for the peek into your farm life.
LOL LOVE this story, Molly! This past year, we raised 5 day old chicks to find that 4 were roosters. So we got two more day olds (after rehoming the four roosters) and ended up with one more rooster. His name is Rosie the Rooster. We actually have to find him a new home because our neighbours aren’t fond of his noises. BUT he is the sweetest man. He allows the kids to cuddle him. He follows us around the yard. He is friendly and curious. I am loathe to send him away. I am thinking that if they are handled young and often, they aren’t as nasty? The other four we had were pretty friendly as well….But our turkeys. All I can say is NEVER, EVER get turkeys.Wishing you a friendly rooster….
What a great story! I never knew roosters could be so mean! I hope hedgie turns out to be of the nice variety. Thanks for sharing.
Oh! I’m so sorry I laughed at the thought of you shimmying up a bush!
Can’t you have him neutered or something?
molly, that’s so funny. One of my hens acted like a rooster. I don’t remember if it was Pearl or Edna, II (Edna,I got eaten by one of the dogs), but she’d attack me every time I tried to gather the eggs. I finally had to give them away because she became so unmanageable. I hope Hedgie remains a “good” rooster.
I always wanted to live on a farm — I’m too lazy to live on a farm – but I always wanted to anyway. Well, maybe a farm with staff. Lots of staff. :O)
I also had many a bad run-in with roosters as a child, and now I’M askeerd of them. I think they can sense my fear even better than a dog can.
I also have not nice memories ofroosters from my childhood and a meangoose too.
Ha! My sister had a super mean rooster, too, and it made me not want to go to her house. Best of luck and happy weekend.
I’m laughing readiner your story. We had chickens growing up and I’m the same way. We had some mean roosters!
haha! I’m afraid of roosters too! Hedgie seems like quite the character.
stories of roosters ARE the things of farm life. here’s hoping he stays sweet!I always like to have a nice “warning time” of things start to go bad. You know “I’m going to give you two more weeks and if I have to kick you again or you come after my children we will have stew…” Sometimes when you say it outloud they really “get it.”good luck.
I can visualize you as a child on a stealth mission to the barn 🙂
There’s nothing so perfect as a hen’s feet. So pointy and funny.
Why are chickens so grouchy? I was chased by my neighbor’s rooster as a kid and had to be rescued by my grandmother wielding a broom!
SuperSoakers seem more fun than ping-pong ball guns. Though I could be wrong.
I’ve wanted my own hens for some time. But we’d have to buy the neighbors’ silence with free eggs and hide the hens from the city…
There is a great book by Gary Paulsen called Harris and Me. One of the best characters is the crazy rooster named Ernie.
Now those are stories from a true farm girl. I had to laugh about your dad and the coffee. I got to spend my summers on my grandparent’s farm and had many happy and strange memories of the farm life.
Those pictures are awesome.
PS- Ry said you had some computer problems, I hope everything got resolved?? 🙁
I hate turkeys, my grandmother hates roosters. Granted she spent far more time on a farm than myself (city girl) but I still hate those birds. shudder I hope your rooster stays good. My grandmother saya so long as you don’t cross their hens they are good little birds.
Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that theyll love you but Never say good-bye when you still want to try, never give up when you still feel you can take it, never say you dont love that person anymore when you cant let go.