We had chickens on the ole mountaintop here in Montana for three years. They lived in our 100 year old log miner’s cabin with deep, fresh, sweet-smelling straw, lots of yummy corn, cozy nesting boxes, colorful toys and fun! hanging corn cobs. They were spoiled rotten by me, their Momma, who regularly went to the local sporting goods store and without explanation politely asked for “live maggots please”.
These thirty hardy chickens had no heat in their little cabin in the woods which caused their loving Momma no end of distress in the winter, but it didn’t seem to particularly bother the chickie babies except for a few frozen combs and wattles. They laid eggs for me all year, cold or not.
These sweet feathered friends were free range chickens, no fences for them! Strolling up and down our beautiful hills sporting big tough muscles (which we later found out were a bit of a challenge to chew), they were the masters of their universe, the lord and ladies over all they surveyed.
Even though they lived in a place where bears, mountain lions, bobcats and hawks were close neighbors, they never had any problems, due in part to having 6 big dogs to protect them and also due to a little rooster named Fancy who did his job very well indeed.
Why ‘Fancy’ you ask? Well we named him Fancy because he was most colorful; he in fact looked just like a pimp from the 1970’s. A little bling and a saucy hat would have completed the picture nicely.
And oh boy, was he a good rooster. He watched over his girls, warning them if there was a hawk nearby, showing them where the juicy grasshoppers were, escorting them safely from place to place, fetching Mom when there was big trouble, and doing the Soul Train mating dance so as to woo them, not unlike Barry White.
Have I mentioned yet that this bird was TINY? About half the size of a regular rooster, but way big in courage and attitude.
And we were all good friends, living in harmony together, until the day I decided we had too many hens laying too many eggs and that half of his harem was going to live elsewhere with a big, black gorgeous rooster named Bubba.
Well. This was apparently not to be borne. As I was gently scooping up his girls to transport them to their new home, Fancy seemed to know exactly what was going on, and he attacked his sweet Momma over and over again. He was indignant to say the least.
And he never forgave me for it either.
From then on it was WAR.
Fancy’s newfound aggressive behavior really bothered me because, well, it hurt my feelings. We had been such good friends! I had even saved his life a time or two! And he didn’t have as many girls to take care of now! He should be grateful, the little Jive Turkey. But no. I was now his forever enemy. And even if he was small, he was very, very scary with those sharp spurs and pecking beak and flapping wings. And he was sneaky.
After a few distressing, well-planned, strategic attacks on my innocent person which left me screaming and running from my own yard, I went to my husband with my complaints, and who, to my surprise, did not believe Fancy was actually attacking me! Well! Come outside and I’ll show you!
Butch followed me outside, crossed his arms and waited for the alleged “carnage”. I walked nonchalantly back and forth in front of Fancy waiting fearfully for the usual raging attack and … none came. Raised eyebrow from Butch. Frustration from me. I walked closer to the little colorfully-dressed terrorist and … nothing. I grunted in frustration. Butch and Fancy looked at each other. Fancy shrugged his shoulders and went back to casually pecking in the dirt. I swear I heard him snicker.
Butch said, “Yeah I can see why you’re afraid of him. He’s a real terror.” And walked back in the house, snorting.
When Butch was fully inside, Fancy slowly looked at me with a wicked gleam in his eye and a smile on his beak. He then ran at me, head down, wings out, chasing me screaming and goose-stepping back into the house.
I spent the next two years either hiding in my house from that bird or walking around constantly with a rake in my hand to protect myself. TWO YEARS. He stalked me. He peeped in my windows. He imprisoned me in their cabin one time. He even attacked my guests and friends. I had to get a “CAUTION – Chicken With Attitide!” sign to warn people! They thought it was funny … until he came after them.
So what is the moral of this story? When you have a tiny, colorfully pimped out, cool little rooster with a Napolean complex, the heart of a warrior and the moves of John Travolta, and you be messing with his women by giving half of them to a big, black rooster named Bubba, expect some payback.