June 2, 2010

A Rooster Named Dog

A Rooster Named Dog

Sometimes it’s all about instinct…

It’s become popular to raise chickens in urban settings these days. Why? Fresh eggs and poultry go a long way in this economy. Raising your own food brings you closer to the earth. By tending to your own chickens you’re assured of their health.

You may have read my article about Mycol Stevens and his off the grid WWOOFer homestead called Finca Mycol. Mycol now has a few chickens. He was headed out of town and asked me to look after them. He said they’d be in the coop and to please be sure they didn’t get out because they’d be at risk of being eaten by various raccoons, hawks and the like.

So, I came over to the Finca and opened the coop to feed the chickens. Right away, “Dog” the rooster hopped out of the coop. He began crowing and basically started attacking me.

It’s funny how animals have strong protective instincts. They also can smell fear a mile away. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a lot of experience with aggressive roosters. Dog started flapping his wings against my shins and pecking at me. That was only half the problem. I had a feeling he wasn’t going back in that coop, either!

I called Mycol and left what he described as a hilarious, if hysterical message with Dog crowing in the background. I also called my friends at the Hostel in the Forest asking for advice.

Then, I remembered Mycol has some neighbors a little walk away from the finca. I decided to ask for help. Neighbor Nate was nearby. I asked Nate “Hey, do you know much about chickens?” He replied without as much as a grin “What do you want to know?” I said “Well, Mycol’s rooster got out and I need to get him back in the coop.” Nate shrugged and said “Where is it?”

Nate, his pit bull and I walked over to Mycol’s chicken pen. Nate reached into his back pocket and put on a pair of gloves. He asked me to help him corner Dog. Dog didn’t smell any fear in Nate at all. Not at all.

Nate grabbed Dog and then turned him upside down by the legs. Dog suddenly became quite docile. Nate turned to me and said “Where do you want him?” I opened the coop and it was all over.

This sounds pretty funny, doesn’t it? Well, it really wasn’t at the time. I felt some fear when Dog threatened me. I had no idea how to pick up a rooster. All I knew was that he was pecking at me and those wings hurt when he flapped them against my shins. This is Farmboy 101, but I am a city boy, raised in the burbs. No way was I going to risk getting pecked by that rooster. At the same time, Mycol entrusted those chickens to me and I wasn’t going anywhere until everything was OK.

Moral to the story: it’s not as easy as it looks. But, with a little help from your friends, it’ll all be OK.

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Michael Levin  |  Contribution: 8,235