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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Animal · #1764542
This is an "aw shucks" barnyard story.
You don’t need a rooster to get eggs from your flock of chickens. Roosters also eat valuable feed and make lots of noise without really giving much in return.  Worse, some of them can be aggressive pains in the posterior. So, unless you plan to breed your own birds why even bother keeping one? We bred our own birds for many years and our roosters taught us a lot.

Johnnie Johnson, our prince among roosters, showed us everything a good rooster should be. We just didn’t know it at first. Our free-range flock got a certain amount of extra nutrition from scraps, leftovers and spoiled food tossed out the back door of the house. Every time a mad flurry of flapping hens ensued as they scrambled to get their share. Mom noticed that poor Johnnie Johnson wasn’t getting any.

“Johnnie Johnson is too slow,” Mom laughed. “The hens always get everything before he does.”

Dad looked skeptical. “If they are that much faster than he is, why doesn’t he have any trouble catching them when he’s horny?”

Dad solved that mystery by accident a few days later. He came out of the house with a slice of not-so-fresh bread in his hand. As the flock gathered around him, he felt sorry for the big rooster. He carefully tore off a small chunk of bread and handed it directly to Johnnie Johnson. The rooster accepted it gratefully and then laid it on the ground for the hens. Amazed, Dad had to see that again. Johnnie Johnson, piece by piece, passed the entire slice to his hens. He did not eat a single crumb himself. Mom had to see this for herself, but tried to trick the rooster by giving him the bread when the hens were somewhere else. Johnnie Johnson laid the bread on the ground, ran to fetch his hens and then went through the routine all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, this bird was no wuss. He would fight anything that threatened the flock, even when physically overmatched. He would face down and beat up every other rooster we had.

What made him extra special was the fact that any of us kids could hold him and pet him, if we could catch him. He never hurt or chased any of us.

His bloodline runs in several local Barred Plymouth Rock chicken flocks to this day. Many of his offspring displayed the same desirable traits he did. One of them reputedly put the owner’s dog in its place.

We never did eat that bird.
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