He's mean. He's bossy. He's stinky. He's cocky. But he does his work well - protecting our hens.
Mr. Know-It-All is our rooster, and he is a stabbing pain in the rump.
Our purpose of keeping a rooster with our hens is to protect them from predators and to fertilize eggs. He thinks his purpose is to be King of the world, and to chase people - preferably little girls & me away from his women.
Chickens have this little language, soft chatters amongst each other. When one of them sees us coming up the hill with fresh water, she chatters "ooooo here comes the water girls!" They all chatter back, "oooo water!" and they come waddling to the gate. There's not a care in their minds - eat, peck around, poop, lay eggs, hop up on a roost & sleep, repeat.
But that rooster. Oh, boy.
He's always got an eye on you. A beady, black little eye.
And his head is cocked to the side so he gets a real good look at you.
Sizing you up. Determining his plan of attack.
But we have to get those eggs everyday, and that means squaring off.
Maddie went up the hill yesterday, leisurely swinging her basket.
She came back down crying with any empty basket.
I put my boots on, grabbed that basket, and came back down crying with an empty basket.
We went up together, she with the basket, and I cleaving a shovel.
I would keep him occupied, she would gather the eggs, we would get the hell out of there.
Plan A did not work.
I forget what Plan B was, but it didn't work either.
Success! But it took some time. Let me first explain that one of his duties as King is to be the last one into the coop at night, and the first one to check things outside in the morning. He goes back tells his ladies the coast is clear, and is the last one out the little sliding door. This particular morning there were still 4 hens left in the coop along with him. I took some handfulls of grain, and sprinkled it down the little ramp. (I realize I keep saying "little" DO NOT assume that this rooster is "little." He is Big, Enormous, and Huge.) Maddie stood away from the door, he was watching her through the cracks in the wood. One by one they started to chatter, "she's throwing out food! FREE food! I realize there's food in there too, but come try it, it's great!"
Finally the moment we'd been waiting for. He stuck out his head. Cocked it to the side. Picked up his left rubbery yellow foot, (get ready Maddie!) stepped down onto the ramp. I sprinkled a little more grain.
He retreated back into the coop. Bastard.
But the hens were really chattering now, "This is sooooo fun girls! Pecking out the corn from all this mud!" I knew Mr. Know-It-All just needed to know what all the fuss was about. He picked up his right rubbery yellow foot, his long spurs glistening in the sunlight, his beady eyes bulging out of his tiny, I mean Huge, head. He was out! (go Maddie, go!) She threw open the door, just as I blocked his opening back into the coop.
We got 12 eggs that day.
I still haven't gathered them today yet. Lord, give me strength.