Friday, January 11, 2008

Where did rooster #2 go? Don't ask, don't tell.

It's been quite a while since those three cute little fluffy puffball chicks that hatched out of the eggs I got at turned into big irridescent black-blue-and-green feathered Javas.

My three round brown Buckeye hens, meanwhile, became industrious foragers and egg-layers. I get an egg a day from each of them, and they lay them right in the correct part of their henhouse like good hens.

The black-blue-and-green Band of Three, though, not laying and hence not needing to work as hard to find food (it must take a lot of nematodes and grubs to make an egg), spend their days lounging under the trees and running after the hens, who squawk with displeasure at this harrassment.

Java #1 became rooster-like very early (Hannah called it from one of my pictures). His tail feathers are getting magnificent. He has floppy, fleshy red protuberances sprouting from all parts of his head.

For a while I thought the other two Javas were hens. Ideal!

Then Java #2 started crowing - and his tail turned upward - and his red head-ornaments started to jiggle - and he started jumping the Buckeyes. Denial failed; I had to admit he was a rooster.

#1 and #2, randily flapping their obscenely red combs and wattles, routinely jumped the hens in tandem. They chased each other and pulled on each others' feathers and staged long, loud, boring crowing contests. This had to stop.

I tried to find a good home for #2. I contacted all my friends in the country, but nobody wanted him. I asked Bob if he'd dispatch him, but Bob played with #2 during the little fluffball stage so the Bambi syndrome has kicked in. No go.

Well, #2 went for a ride yesterday afternoon. The band of hooligans lost a member. This caused #1 to go completely crazy for a while. He kept counting and counting his team and coming up short. He shouted and cock-a-doodle-dooed for hours it seemed.

But what can you do? Night fell and the survivors went into the coop. By this morning #2 was forgotten.

Zed used to have a kids' book in which the narrator informed us it's ill manners in the animal kingdom to ask, "Hey, whatever happened to Joe?" The answer is usually not something one wants to hear. "Where is #2?" Don't ask, don't tell.

As a baby, Java #3 was a "special" chick, very late in hatching, in fact I had thrown his/her egg into the outdoor compost thinking it was dead. It had been days since #1 and #2 hatched. But as I turned to go back to the house I heard a weak "peep peep" from the compost bin.

Horrors! Cask of Amontillado! I listened to all the eggs and found the peeping one and rescued it. #3 survived, just barely. He/she was always falling on his/her butt and couldn't walk far without stumbling.

Now, however, he/she has grown out of this awkward balance problem. Oddly, though, he/she has seemed androgynous - he/she runs after brown chickens, but does not crow and does not have a tall tail. So, as of yesterday when #2 went away, these were the three most popular hypotheses:
  • #3 is male, but has been discouraged - by being developmentally delayed and also by the presence of two more dominant males - from developing rooster-like characteristics.

  • #3 is female, but due to months of hanging with her homies, she is quite a tomboy, thinking that jumping on brown chickens is just something black chickens do.

  • Hannah's rather psychoanalytic theory was that #3 is still special - his/her trauma in the compost heap supressed or eliminated sexual leanings.

I spent all day today digging dirt and watching the chickens and the first hypothesis has pulled ahead: all day long, #3 was jumping hens and making awful squawking noises, not "cock-a-doodle-doo" but also not something any hen would utter.

It may be time for him to take a ride.

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At 7:21 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Yikes !

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Alma said...

Halarious update! Poor #3, I wonder if a Chicken Whisperer exists somewhere who could help him/her work through his/her issues.... Pictures would be most appreciated!

At 12:00 AM, Anonymous sylvia said...

Thank you for the laugh, and honestly, you totally cracked me up with this post. I feel sorry for #3. Out of the frying pan into the fire comes to mind, neither option being very pleasant for #3.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Marycelis aka 1st Mate Black Mary Kidd said...

LOL, i didn't know there was a don't ask don't tell policy in the animal world...


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