In celebration of anniversary week, republished from 8/24/08:
Just in case our chickens got a little bit jealous over me posting about other poultry (county fair), I thought I should blog a bit about them. I'm going to start with Marv. Sam named him and we actually call him 'the rooster' most of the time. But, out of respect, I will call him by name in this post. Isn't he pretty? I mean, handsome?
When we ordered our first flock of chickens, we didn't pay extra to get the number of hens we wanted, so they gave us a mix of hens and roosters. To make sure there were enough chicks for warmth in travel, they added MORE roosters. The chicks for warmth were a white laying breed that got mean as they hit puberty. We harvested them. That left us with four Golden Laced Wyandotte roosters. We only wanted one. So, for weeks, we watched these roosters, trying to determine which one was the least likely to attack our children and most likely to protect the flock. This was pretty hard to do because they all looked EXACTLY alike.
But, one night, the wind closed the chicken house door (and we forgot to check on them). This meant the roosters couldn't roost. In the morning, one of the roosters was found perched on the chicken tractor. He was watching over the hens inside (we hadn't combined them yet). The rest were hiding out together under the safety of some brush. As best we could, we chose that protective rooster and the others went in our freezer.
Let me tell you some stories about our Marv. One afternoon, I was mowing in the back area where the chickens free range. They were all hunkered down in the back corner under some brush. Soon a hen emerged from the brush and started heading for the hen house to lay. Just then, I made my loop around the yard and she got scared and ran back to the flock. This happened several times until Marv had had it. I could almost hear him thinking, "That's it, woman. Let's go!" And he WALKS her (yes, escorts her) to the hen house, drops her off and runs back out to the rest.
Another afternoon, Marv and 5 of the hens were out in the back yard. The other two were laying in the hen house. As you may know, hens can get pretty noisy when laying. They want the world to know what they are doing. I can relate. I get a little noisy myself at the end of labor. This particular day, these ladies were REALLY broadcasting their efforts. They were SOOO loud that Marv got concerned. He left the hens in the yard and ran (head down, you know) into the hen house and jumped up on the feed box to get a good view of his girls in their nesting boxes. Once he was in there, they quieted down. They got his attention all right.
Knowing they were fine, he jumped down and ran back into the yard. Soon the layers started cackling AGAIN. Back he runs. I'm not kidding, this happened several times. I felt the urge to get Marv a water bottle and a wet towel for his neck. He was a busy rooster. Busy AND doing his job.
We regularly take scraps out to the chickens and there are often bread crusts that my children refuse to eat. If there is only ONE, Marv grabs it first and PECKS IT APART into pieces for his girls. Talk about chivalry.
He's quite the guy. He always has his head cocked to the sky to watch for hawks and gives a certain call which sends all the hens diving for the safety of a tree. If anyone gets between him and the hens, he will go after them. Jamey and the kids have gotten scratched. I carry a stick. This doesn't make him mean. He's just acting as protector of his harem. Who knows what other acts of protection he does when we aren't around?
I think we picked a pretty good rooster. If any of you would like us to assist in helping to arrange a marriage for one of your daughters, just let us know. We'd be happy to help.