I know I’ve given Brewster the Rooster, aka Lord Greystoke and Tarzan, more than his fair share of cyberink here, but I just can’t resist one more. It will be the last, I promise. (Unless he does something else ink-worthy, but I think he’s about out of those resources. We’re probably safe.)
So yesterday afternoon I was in my office and heard the kind of chicken-squawking commotion one fears. I ran out of the office, down the stairs, through the barn, across the back porch and down Duckville Lane—quickly enough to catch the action in progress. (Not bad for a little old lady on social security.)
I grabbed a good-size hunk of wood as I ran through the duckyard gate, and suddenly realized that the pile of white, black and grey feathers I thought was Brewster’s remains was instead a large juvenile female red-tailed hawk, her wings extended to protect a still ball of black feathers, one of our hens, freshly caught.
Though I was relieved that this didn’t appear to be Brewster, I was horrified that one of our faithful layers was about to become the hawk’s afternoon meal. I tried throwing apples at the hawk, but even a very near miss didn’t send her flying. So I came after her with the club, whacking the metal feed can on my way. That did the trick, and she took off for the back of the chicken yard.
Surprisingly (and happily), the black ball of feathers took off too—the chicken was very much alive, and she hightailed it under the coop to safety.
I headed back once again toward the hawk, this time scaring it up into one of the maple trees. Bill appeared a few minutes later and scared it out of the tree and on its way.
Now, through all this I’m thinking it’s a little odd that I’m not seeing or hearing Brewster anywhere. Though most of the hens were under the house, clucking madly, several were in plain sight. But Brewster wasn’t with any of them. Still fearing that he may have been dispatched I began a rooster hunt.
Not under the house. Not behind it. Not on the far side of the chicken yard, where a lone red hen, clearly traumatized by the hawk’s visit (she even let me pick her up without a fuss), was trying to be invisible in an inadequate tuft of grass.
I had already looked inside the house and hadn’t seen him there, but decided to check one more time. This time I went in and checked each nest box.
There, plastered along one wall, was one terrified rooster. He’d made himself so small (and he’s a good two feet tall on the run) that he was actually hiding between the nest entrance and the wall. A very small space.
Now given that Brewster the Rooster has recently made a habit of coming after me, it would not be too huge a leap of logic to conclude that roosters have two main functions in a chicken flock: mating and protecting. He’s got the mating thing down all right, but he certainly should consider a remedial read-up on protecting his hens. I’m fairly certain “Hiding in a Nest Box Until the Danger is Past” is not one of the chapters.
And “The Proper Care and Respect for Your Personal Coop Cleaner” is.
If he can’t get this mastered, he’ll go down in Bluestone history as one froo-froo rooster.