The past 24 hours has been memorable. After all of my excuses to delay taking the roosters to their new beautiful home where they'd be among dozens of other hens and roosters, I cowboy'd up and said, "I'm ready."
My husband decided to transport them to their new home by kennel. Their new home is located about five minutes from our house. So, my husband began to round them up.
Of course, little Speckles was easy to catch. He wants to be caught because he loves being with us. But, Big Rooster is a challenge. He is full of rooster-testosterone and likes to demonstrate his Olympic abilities. My husband had quite a fun time trying to catch Big Rooster and I had quite a time watching...and making a video of the entire ordeal.
After Deputy Dave finally caught Big Rooster, I think he was carefully considering preparing home-made fried chicken for dinner.
Into the kennel the roosters went and neighbors even came over to say sad good-byes. One neighbor LOVES hearing their rooster calls and tried to convince me that it is not bothersome at all. She told me they loved to hear their infrequent cock-a-doodling because it gave them a good entertaining laugh as they sit in their backyard.
But, we had our minds made up and off we went to Farmer Joe's yard. At least 70 chickens and roosters were waiting for their two new rooster friends.
Once we arrived at their new home, my husband let them out and they ran around a pecking and scratching. But, they kept their eyes on both Deputy Dave and myself. We tried to get them to move closer toward the rest of the bunch, but they didn't want to leave us. We sat in the truck and our roosters kept nearby.
Finally, we decided to drive off and to let them be on their own with their new friends. It was becoming dusk and when in our backyard, they always headed for the coop about that time. We could see that our two roosters were watching the others make their way to the chicken yard, all happy and together. So we decided to leave, perhaps our roosters would join the bunch once we were out of sight. We left, but it was a very difficult thing to do.
We drove down to the bay and went on our little regular treasure hunt along the shore's edge and Deputy Dave stood on a little pier and threw his cast-net a few times.
My hubby found more wild growing bamboo by the water's edge and he cut more to use in our garden as support stakes.
We savored the salt air and the breeze from the waters coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. We stayed until it was dark. Of course, I took pictures and we enjoyed ourselves for a couple of hours.
|You can see the moon as well. Beautiful.|
Every other rooster and hen had gone to their collected yard around the corner. Our roosters has been surrounded by a ton of roosters and hens earlier in the day, so we knew that there had been ample opportunity for our roosters to follow along and to hear the sounds of their fellow feathered friends.
But, this place wasn't their home.
We sat in the truck staring at them, in disbelief. Then, it got worse. They recognized us and began to run up to our truck. Could it get worse as we sat there feeling rotten? Yes, it could.
The little white rooster that I call "Speckles" was especially distraught. He began to screech loudly with cries of distress as he ran around to my side of the truck, to my door. The mama in me came out full force, and I didn't care if he was just a little old rooster, he was MY rooster! I'd raised him since he was a baby, and he didn't want to stay at this place. No matter how nice it was, it wasn't his home.
Oh Geez. I'm a sucker for sure.
Deputy Dave got out of the truck and Speckles ran to him, like a long lost kid. That rooster RAN to Deputy Dave while screeching loudly. Deputy Dave scooped him up and took Speckles over the to flock of chickens and roosters. He made a last attempt to put Speckles in the midst of the other chickens, but it didn't work. Deputy Dave tried to walk away, but he looked back with disbelief as Speckles screamed and ran after him. I was still sitting in the truck, but I looked up to see the two of them in the glow of the truck's headlights...Speckles was running after Deputy Dave while making wretched sounds that I've never heard before. So, with one quick reach, Speckles was in Deputy Dave's arms. And, back into the kennel Speckles went.
Deputy Dave looked over at me with this exasperated expression and said, "I better not be arrested for taking my own damn chickens back." And, we both went into a fit of laughing over the possibility.
Big Rooster walked toward me. I bent down and Big Rooster immediately came right up to me. It hit me at this moment that he's not been running to attack me in the backyard, he just recognizes me and runs to me...in a scary manner. Well, maybe he's aggressive and sometimes in attack mode, but it doesn't erase the fact that I AM familiar to Big Rooster.
Deputy Dave couldn't believe it, Big Rooster stayed at my heels as I made my way back to the truck. I was trying to get Big Rooster positioned so Deputy Dave could get a hold of him. Deputy Dave was kneeling, but he didn't even have to scoop up Big Rooster because he surprised the crude out of both of us by flying up to perch onto Deputy Dave's shoulder. AWWWW --- this moment was TOO MUCH for our chicken-tender hearts! Big Rooster's affection toward both of us ended up making it easy for him to go back into the kennel with Speckles.
If I'd not seen and heard the roosters running after us and crying and squeaking so heart-wrenching, then I would have been able to leave them behind. I mistakenly thought they'd easily blend in with the flock. And, our roosters had never elected to stay out of shelter at this time of night. They always lead the others back into the coop every single night as dusk approaches. Something was not right. Perhaps they would have been okay in the long run, perhaps. But, this area has coyotes and racoons and other animals that would have surely taken advantage of their lack of unwillingness to join the group. Is this normal? Our roosters didn't seem to want to be a part of the flock in this new home, even with all of the feed in the yard that was available. They weren't interested.
If I was cold-hearted, I might have been able to drive away from the roosters as they ran after us crying out non-stop with a sound I'd never heard them make until that moment. They'd never HAD to cry before this moment. But, I definitely know what their cries sound like now. It goes WAY beyond a few little squawks of disagreement, these cries were wailing sounds. I'll never forget that sound.
On the five-minute drive home, Deputy Dave and I couldn't help but feel all of these mixed emotions --- we were laughing while feeling humbled by this Farm Life Lesson! Do chickens IMPRINT this SEVERELY? Well, it sure seems like it.
I now realized that when I open my back door, Big Rooster runs to greet me, not attack me. He's enthusiastic. He really loves my recognizable watch and bracelet that he's seen ever since he was a wee chickie. He sees my sparkling jewelry on my wrists and knows it's Mama-Lana. But, I'll still carry my bamboo stick, just in case.
What can I say? We might be moving to our land even sooner than we had expected. I've learned this week that it's not so simple to give away your chickens or to provide a new home for them elsewhere. They are birds, but they are definitely deserving of more recognition than the "bird brain" stigma they've been given. My roosters are attached to us, they recognized us straight-away, they even RUN after us. I never imagined that chickens could be so intelligent or so attached to their human care-takers.
It's moments like these when I realize that all of my years of working in the business world with high-profile, and often narcissistic city personalities did not prepare me for REAL life. THIS is REAL LIFE. And I am loving it, even when it doesn't work out the way I had anticipated or planned.