A couple of weeks ago, a friend in the valley gave me her bantam chickens because she was having troubles with a fox. One of her chicken coops is set too close to the edge of her property and the fox was taking one chicken per night. Before she lost them all, she asked if I could take them. One look at the beautiful little creatures and there was no doubt I would be smitten (I think she knew that too!). While quite ‘useless’ to me with respect to chicken and egg sales, they are simply delightful to look at. Not only that, their little crows and peeps are of a different tone from our larger chickens, which only adds to their charm.
I put them in with Elvis and Company in the house that once held Mrs. Mallard and my Muscovy ducks (which we named the ‘Little Goose Coop’) because the chickens are fewer in number and I could keep the bantams separated from the main crew while they got to know one another. In addition, I could also keep them relatively safe. I say relatively, because I too am having trouble with a fox. Luckily, my set up is a bit more fox proof than my friend’s, though certainly not foolproof!
I kept them separate for about two weeks before letting the bantams out to mingle with the ‘big guns’. All was well at first until the little bantam rooster and Elvis were commingled for the first time. Of course, I was worried about the bantam because Elvis is my prize fighter (see Elvis has left the building)–that’s why he has had to be separated from the main chicken house–and I thought the new little guy wouldn’t stand a chance against the heavy weight champion.
As expected, the minute I let the little Bantam rooster and his gals out of their end of the chicken coop, Elvis was on him. Surprisingly, I needn’t have worried. As soon as the first squawks were heard, Tui (my dog) burst onto the scene and had the fight stalled in seconds, but only for a moment. The roosters separated only long enough to move the fight to a new location, with Tui in hot pursuit. Amused by the scene, I watched it unfold and repeat itself several times. However, it soon looked like it would repeat itself ad nauseam and I was worried about the little guy, so I finally intervened. I broke them up with a, “Get a new idea, you two!” and they got on with their separate lives for the rest of the day. Peace and harmony were restored to the farm–at least momentarily.
That was two days ago. Yesterday, at the end of the day, the second battle of ‘Brumaire’ erupted again right here on the farm. I had just sat down at the end of a long hot day’s work and was nursing a well earned cold beer, when I heard the call to arms again. Alarmed by the commotion, I got up to investigate looking for the nearest stick with which to break up the battle–but I needn’t have moved. The two roosters were no longer locked in a vicious battle. Instead, Elvis came tearing around the house with the little general in hot pursuit, like Napoleon and his grenadiers driving the Council of Five Hundred from the Orangerie. This action, coupled with the declaration, “The revolution is finished,” echoing across the lawn, left no question as to who the little general was or what his hard-won status would henceforth be: Napoleon is the supreme executive of the old ‘little goose coop’, now re-named the French Consulate.
Note: the original Brumiare was the coup d’etat which set Napoleon Bonaparte on the path to becoming the supreme executive of the French Empire in 1799.