I thought keeping roosters was easy! Such docile creatures. Not Billy -Boy..........
|We have been keeping hens for four years now, and never in my wildest dream, did I think or even want a rooster!
This all changed when a neighbour who originally worked for a bird farm, drove up our long drive in a tractor, with a cardboard box precariously placed by his side.
About ten minutes or so went by, as my husband and the kindly neighbour chatted away. Eventually my husband approached the house with the 'content' of the box.
'Oh! Another hen! How beautiful!' I exclaimed as he came nearer.
'Don't be daft!' he replied cheekily, ' it's a rooster!'
'But I don't WANT a rooster.' I whined, 'They can be aggressive, and my hens might not like him!'
'Well, it was either give him another home, or 'rooster heaven, I'm afraid.' my husband answered.
'Oh well. In that case, it's OK, I suppose.'
I was feeling particularly dumb for mistaking a rooster for a hen, and was relieved, in a way, that my husband had accepted him.
And so Billy-Boy, (as we named him) had found a new home!
At first, he was a rather pathetic, unsure and quiet rooster, who hadn't a clue about hens! He was facing a real identity crisis, but nothing, I am sure, any animal psychologist couldn't have sorted out!
But gradually, it dawned on him, that he WAS a rooster, and roosters keep hens in check. Hmm! They could even be fun too.
For a while, he continued to be docile, accepted his home and owners without too many problems.
Then he discovered he had a beak! It wasn't just to eat with, pick up creepy-crawlies and preen; it was also a great weapon to nip with too.
He then realised that his claws and spurs made wonderful instruments of offence, and if he flew and jumped at the same time, he could make a human turn into a terrified blob!
From then on, we understood that unless we dressed up like knights in shiny steel armour, ready for the battle, we would not be hen-pecked but rooster-pecked!
Going into the hen enclosure was a huge event. With make-shift thick cardboard kneepads and wellington boots high enough to protect the rest of me, any passers-by or callers would have been left wondering who it really was that had a problem...me or the rooster!
With all the 'trouble' he gave us, he was always very, very protective of his 'girls' and he always used to hang out with 'Greedy', our smallest but biggest mouthed hen.
I would often lean on the fence and watch the two of them following each other, sitting together, and Billy-Boy even picking up lettuce leaves and dropping them in front of Greedy, for her to feed on.
Sadly, both have passed on now, but their characters will live forever in our hearts. I wouldn't have changed the experience for the world.....but, let me give you a little advice! If you are looking for trouble, then 'mind' the rooster!