Continued from the previous post: ROOSTERMAN
An integral member of the flock: Marky.
He was here long before the chickens.
We got him from a shelter nine years ago. He's part schnauzer, part eskimo.
Marky enjoys a warm summer breeze,
he loves a good run.
And he can do a pretty good imitation of road-kill.
Because he's a terrier, hunting small creatures is his strength.
When the chicks were small, Marky watched them eagerly with quivering, drooling lips.
Once they were big, not much changed. I didn't hold much hope of his ever being able to view them as anything but prey.
One day I'd left the coop door ajar for only a moment, and Marky squeezed in.
The birds squawked, feathers flew, Marky spun around in circles snapping his jaws. I was there, right there. The chickens were okay. I looked at Marky and burst into the biggest freakingest shriekingest fit that Marky had ever seen.
And at that very moment:
Marky's little brain
The chickens are mine, not his.
With his new firm understanding,
Marky began to accept his job as flock-leader and protector.
Now when I feed the chickens, Marky gets the first bit of chicken feed,
The first piece of bread-crust.
He barks at hawks and buzzards overhead, and chases foxes out of the yard.
He is careful and respectful of the chickens, and they respect him.
...except for Roosterman.
It was a horrible sight. Roosterman would ambush Marky and attack from behind...again and again and again.
Marky would look at me totally confused... Should he defend himself from this lunatic?
One day Marky couldn't take it anymore. He swirled around and grabbed Roosterman in mid-attack. Flung him to the ground. Flattened him like a feathered pancake.
Marky would have sunk his fangs into Roosterman, but he couldn't figure out where to bite.
Lucky for Roosterman, I was right there. I traded a biscuit for Roosterman, and assured Marky that he was a good dog. Then I put Roosterman in the wire cage, and he has not been a free man since.
Goodness knows I've tried to find a home for the guy.
But Craigslist has dozens of listings for free roosters.
I've even driven him from farm to farm offering money if they'd just take him.
The farmers laughed.
So the loony rooster still lives with us.
I had everything under control except his crowing -- which begins at about 4 am.
I came up with a solution for that:
Lucy's little old coop was vacant, so I dragged it into the woods and piled leaves up all around it. Now he can crow all morning and nobody can hear him. When I'm pretty sure the neighbors are up, I let him out.
Dilemmas, solutions, reactions... there's always something.
And if there's one thing the critters have taught me it's that things change.
You can count on dawn and on dusk -- but between the two, nothing is the same.
Lucy's mangled toes have good days and bad days.
Some days there are three eggs in the nestbox, some days there are none.
And when Hatsy's illness eventually caught up with her, the flock understood.
I'm the one who had trouble adjusting.
Next blog entry : CHANGE