Back in March of 2011, Deputy Dave took me to the local Tractor Supply store to buy our first set of chicks. I probably stood in that store hovering over the crates observing and holding the little chicks for a good hour as I tried to determine which ones appeared the most vibrant and healthy, and yes, the CUTEST!
Dicky-Darn-Darn, they were ALL cuties! I kind of wanted to move into the store with all the baby creatures. I guess most of us farmer-at-heart people have that urge when around little fuzzy ones.
We had no idea that two of the seven we had purchased that day had actually been roos and not pullets. I saw a sign on the side of the crate that said, "PULLET," so I kept asking, "What is a pullet?" on that day and no one had an answer. Hello? Isn't this a FARM supply store? I can see that the title of the store's name has "TRACTOR" in it...so, What EXACTLY is a pullet? Relax, I now know the answer, but as I tried to find out the definition on my very first chicken-adventure day in the big world, I was frustrated. No, I don't have an I-Phone, a Smart Phone or a Hand-Held-Anything except a $14.00 cell phone from Walmart...no answers to be found in that contraption.
And I still wonder how in the heck did we end up with two roosters in a box full of little "Miss" chicks?
The young man helping us make our final selection of chicks told us that his sure-fire FFA way of telling whether or not a chick was female or male was to cradle the bottom part of the head/skull very gently between two fingers and if the chicken feet come up fighting...it's a male; however, if the feet start drifting and stretching downward in submission toward the ground, then it's a female.
Again, I guess the "Pullet" sign was senseless if we were checking for signs of whether the chicks were male or female.
Well, after we got home with the chicks, there were a couple of little boogers that we tested again and they kept bringing their little legs up into a fighting manner.
Houston --- we have a problem.
Turns out that two of the chicks were indeed roosters. We kept them for as long as possible, which meant, until they found their rooster vocal cords in full swing.
This city gal learned that roosters do not only COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO at the break of dawn, they COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO all day long...all freakin day long...just in our backyard...in the suburbs...they make sure that you cannot hide your chickens any longer from the local chicken police. Every COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO had me scrambling to throw out a bit more feed to shut them up, I was whipped.
Anyway, my immediate surrounding neighbors who share our fences have been wonderful about our chickens. They lift their children and grand-children above the fence-line to see the chickens. The kids playing in the yard diagonal to our house hear a chicken clucking and the kids start making clucking noises and laugh hysterically. I found all the sounds,sights and intrigue revolving around the chickens to be wonderful.
My next door neighbor had just had open heart surgery and she told me that she loved sitting in her backyard and listening to the chickens because it reminded her of growing up in the country...of the country sounds and peaceful existence. She loved hearing the roosters find their voice.
But, we found a new home nearby for the roosters, and we've gone to check on them several times. They're big boys now. Well, except for the little Bantam rooster; he was an adorable guy of this "babydoll" chicken breed. If we'd been on our land, it would have been perfect because Miss Speckles would've had her little matched Mr Speckles and we'd have Baby Speckles all over the place.
I love my Bantam and Buff Orpington chickens, they are very docile and seem to be fairly intelligent for a chicken, but I'd not want to assist in creating a raging chicken monster by cross-breeding two chickens that were never destined to find each other on the free range. No science experiments on our farm, thank you.
Now, back to catering to my A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder)...As for Miss Speckles and her being a victim of a full-blown dog attack the other day, she survived being locked in the jaws of a powerful Australian Shepherd. I am still in awe that I was spared having to spend the last few days bawling over the loss of my Miss Speckles. Thank God she survived...she's one tough bird!
And I'm actually walking around kicking myself in the rear for getting THIS ATTACHED TO CHICKENS! I mean, I knew I was going to really love HAVING CHICKENS, but I didn't think I'd actually FALL IN LOVE with the chickens.
Since we're nearing the day that the "For Sale" sign goes in our front yard...in about seven days, I'm also thinking about us moving to the acreage and raising our own meat. What kind of farmer will I make if I can't tolerate the prospect of one of my chickens being ripped apart? What kind of farmer will I make if I'm ready to fight a dog over one of my chickens trapped in his jaws? What kind of farmer will I make if I found myself needing to lie down after the chicken attack because the could-have-been scenarios were playing too loudly in my head?
And now I wonder...What find of farmer will I make when...
...it comes time to eat the little piggies?
I guess I'm the "Dell."
The Farmer and The Dell would probably suit our household. Even if I really don't know what the Dell a "Dell" actually is.
Regardless, I'll do my best to be a good Dell while also trying to be a good Farmer.