A subject we all need to be concerned about is world peace and I will get to that in a moment. Right now I am more concerned about the goings on in my chicken coup. This morning I was woken at 3 am by no less than 5 roosters partaking in a crowing competition. There may be members who might wonder at what is so strange about having 5 roosters and so it is at this point that a bit of fowl education is required. Poultry experts recommend you keep one rooster per dozen hens. One rooster can in fact service as many as 25 hens. Itís no wonder they walk about with their chests thrust out looking so cock-sure of themselves (sorry but I just could not resist)
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The reason for my need to educate those of you with a paltry knowledge about chickens is that I have somehow landed up with 5 roosters, 5 hens and a turkin. The turkin is the strangest prehistoric looking creature. It is a mixture between a turkey and a chicken and must be the MOST intellectually challenged creature ever to walk the face of the earth. Iíll get to that later, along with world peace. The reason I now have 5 roosters to my 5 hens rather than the correct proportions is that I am a sucker. I am sure I have a flashing neon sign outside my property stating this fact because Theresa from Lemon Rose Farm asked me if I wanted their excess chickens - those that would be slaughtered if I did not agree to save them. No prizes for guessing what my decision was. Some time later, 4 roosters were delivered along with the turkin. I was rendered speechless by the ensuing mayhem.
When the four new roosters were placed into the chicken coup with Nero, the reigning rooster and my 5 hens, there was an initial quiet before the storm. The roosters were somewhat flustered after having suffered a car journey in a sack. Nero, however, appeared to be completely aghast that these intruders could dare to invade his space.
At this point, I feel I must introduce you to him properly (please bear with me) Nero is by far the handsomest rooster I have ever seen. He is pitch black (hence his name) with blue-green tail feathers. He looks like something an elderly matron might have worn as a bonnet a few hundred odd years ago. He has one tiny flaw. Although he has incredible plumage and a beautiful comb and wattles, he is short legged and this has led to his experiencing a little frustration when trying to mount the longer legged hens. He took a real fancy to Edna in the early days and made acrobatic attempts to mount her, only to fall off as she irritably shook him from her back. Edna is now sitting on a clutch of eggs but I am not sure that there are any Neroís among them. I suspect Dali may have fathered a few before taking off for the great chicken coup in the sky.
Anyway, I have gone off on a tangent again. Where was I? Oh yes, the 4 roosters and Nero's reaction. I now know where John Travolta got his cool walk from in Saturday Night Fever. He must have been brought up on a farm and observed roosters in action. The four new roosters were busy strutting around like 4 John Travolta clones and Nero's beady rooster eyes had literally come out on stalks. If roosters could splutter, he would have been spluttering at that moment. He was mortally offended by the presence of these intruders and started a strange series of head ducking movements that I now believe are chicken language for "Step outside buster!" The oldest of the roosters, with an impressive rust coloured collar and a very upright comb, took the challenge and the next thing I knew feathers were flying. One thing I can tell you is that roosters do not fight fair. They have a little horny protrusion or spike on the back of their legs above their uhmÖfeet? (Who can tell I am not a natural farmer?) They can inflict terrible damage with these spikes and in spite of my desperate intervention, Nero was soon reduced to a bloody mess because the other 3 roosters joined in the fray and kicked his proverbial chicken butt.
With the help of Gerald (the estate maintenance man / gardener come general factotum), I managed to get the 4 street-fighting cocks away from the gutsy but wounded Nero and separate them into separate coups. If you thought that injury had humbled Nero, you are wrong, He was now separated from the intruders by a wire fence but spent the rest of the day marching up and down the fence and glaring angrily at the 4 offenders. I just know that in his chicken brain he is devising an elaborate scheme to eke his revenge.
Later that afternoon, Bubble and Squeak were delivered. Bubble and Squeak are a pair of ducks that belonged to a family who had bought them as pets when they were cute fluffy yellow ducklings. Their swimming pool had been reduced to a poop-infested duck playground and the honeymoon was over. Nolene, the wife phoned me in desperation on recommendation of Theresa (my new best friend!) because her husband was about to release them at the local public lake, knowing full well that they were likely to be captured and served up as lunch in no time at all. I was told that B & S were a pair but when they arrived I quickly determined that it was just as well their names were unisex. This affectionate pair are both female!
Unfortunately roosters don't go for ducks (Just as well or we would land up with Dusters!) and so I still have the problem with segregation of the various creatures. To those of you who don't know this, Apartheid is alive and well and being practiced at Chanti's farmyard here in sunny South Africa. It's right wing vs left wing again and may the breast man win!
About world peace! How can I even think about world peace when I cannot keep the peace in my own farmyard?
Open wide the eyes of the mind.