Elvis has left the building

High drama in the chicken house again. First, I found a chicken dead and frozen in an odd position. We’ve been having a really cold spell for a couple of weeks, but not so cold he would have frozen to death. The water wasn’t even freezing in the chook-shed, a good sign. But, once dead and not moving, a body does freeze.

I wondered if he’d been beaten up by some of the older roosters but there were no signs of fighting. It looks as if he just gave up and keeled over, no particular reason. We took him to the dump to feed the wild scavengers that rely on that kind of food source to get them through the difficult winter.

Then I noticed a hen with a bare spot on the back of her neck, a telltale sign of an over-enthusiastically amorous rooster. The next few nights I paid closer attention to the spirit of the hen-house, and noticed that the general ambiance had shifted from a congenial cohesive group to several factions and splinter-groups; within days, an overall feeling of disharmony had taken over the chook house.

The next night Pavarotti, my stud-muffin rooster, looked particularly disheartened. He faced downwards towards the wall in one corner, planted his bum to the centre of the room, and wouldn’t even look at me when I entered. I was reminded of Napoleon at Elba: the General had lost control of his army. It was too sad.

That’s it, I thought, enough! Some of the roosters have to go, but which ones? There was such mayhem in the room I couldn’t tell which one, or ones, were the culprit. Although several hens were muttering under their breaths who the perpetrators were, I couldn’t bring myself to convict on hearsay. The investigations would have to proceed judiciously. At least I had a fair idea who would appear in the line-up. I grabbed up four of the bigger fellows–Elvis, Red, and the two Pavarotti look-a-likes–and took them to the old, now empty, chicken house. So began the slow, empirical process of elimination, but I knew from TV that most police work is just a hard slog.

Once the bullies were removed, a collective sigh of relief reverberated through the new poultry barn and everyone happily went to bed. When I went to check the next day, everyone was fine, but oddly, there were now only two roosters in the old chicken house. How is this possible, I wondered? The doors were locked overnight, the windows closed and no fox holes apparent around the building. It was a mystery.

I let the boys out, topped up feed and water, and forgot about them for the rest of the day. That night when I returned to lock them up I heard a pathetic sound coming from under the long, wall-mounted feeder! the Pavarotti lookalikes had wedged themselves into a 4 inch x 6 inch space beneath the feeding tray to hide from the others. It was obvious who the two bullies were! Thanks, boys! I crouched down, coaxed them out from their hiding space, took them back to the new poultry barn to join the others, and yes, they blended in just fine. The three tenors, reunited! Pavarotti gently let them know who was boss, and when he went unchallenged they were allowed back into the group. I felt relieved, and happy for my commander-in-chief, Pav.

All is quite on the western front, now that Elvis really has left the building!

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6 Comments

Filed under Chickens, Funny stories, Just for fun

6 responses to “Elvis has left the building

  1. this is great! what a soap opera! heehee! yay for the 3 tenors.

  2. Now *that* is a chicken drama of operatic proportions!

  3. dowhatyoulove

    Once again, a story well told! I get frustrated when things get strained in the hen house. Why can’t they just get along? Good detective work!

  4. MMP

    We’re going through the same thing with a guinea in our flock.

    We have one old (4yro) guinea left from our originals. This fall, all of a sudden, he took it into his head to start fighting with our Brahma rooster. Who knows why, the guineas and chickens seem to have a seperate pecking order. But Lavvi the Slate Guinea was a chicken hen chaser early in his life (all the guinea hens were already paired off when he arrived). Maybe he thought he could have all the chicken hens and the guinea hens now that he is eldest. The Brahma is a lot bigger, but apparently not as agile.

    We want that Brahma to add his genetics to our flock, we like the looks of his big full breast. So, after he recovered in confinement, Lavi went into the dog kennel and is stuck there until we are sure we get a good hatching out of the incubator.

    Of course, ultimately, Lavvi will get the good end of the bargain. Big Chicken, the Brahma rooster is destined for the oven. I am sick of plucking guineas for that little bit of tough meat. Lavvi is lucky he just isn’t worth the effort.

    -mmp

    • MMP-interesting about he guineas…I have been looking into getting some, but if they are not ‘worth it’ in terms of plucking work to eatability ratio then I might just forget it! Thanks for the info (they are terribly difficult to find in my area anyway). Might just have to shoot some grouse instead, same wee bit of meat but less resource use altogether!

      CityMouse & DWYL-thanks for the writing feedback and encouragement! I am busy getting my book together at the moment, should have it ready to go to publishers in a couple more months! Will keep you posted on that front when the time comes.

  5. Pingback: The romance of the revolution « Howling Duck Ranch

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