During the summer, I take
responsibility for our chicken flock. I rotate them
through pastures carefully to keep the food fresh, then give them snacks if
the pasture looks bare. In the winter, though, I let
them out into the woods and cede the management
responsibility to our rooster.
This year’s rooster is a
different bird than his father was last year. The two look
identical, but 2011/2012 rooster was a seeker of sun, always bringing
his ladies down to the spot where the light first hits on a winter
morning. In contrast, 2012/2013 rooster seems to like hanging out
in the shady spot behind the barn, probably because he feels safer
there. (A hawk did nearly get one of our hens while they foraged
in the sunny open last winter, so 2012/2013 does have a good point.)
The roosters are
identical in another way, though — they like younger women.
Island Reds are
still being picked on by the hens who have been with us longer, but
they feel safe while nestled up against our rooster’s side. It’s
not that he prefers redheads, either — he gives the one Australorp
pullet we saved back from last spring’s hatch just as much attention,
while ignoring her mother and aunts.
Only time will tell
whether this year’s rooster will survive the spring rush
of hormones or
whether he’ll get ornery and end up in the pot like his dad.
to traditional, filthy waterers.