Thursday, July 21, 2011

One-Legged Rooster

Dan and I gave the eat-your-own-meat thing a good solid try. We've raised and eaten 15 meat chickens, our pigs "the three Daves", the yearly turkey flock and quite a few sheep. And we will try again, I'm sure.

Yet we still manage to get overly attached, we feel sorry, we hesitate. In short we are too soft for farming. Bad, bad farmers.

Case in point: our One-Legged Rooster.

Back when I wrote about our ongoing poultry melodrama, this guy was "Vlad Vladikof, the black-bottomed rooster." Massive and proud, he skulked in the lower barn, crowing constant challenges at the more established Jaguar.

Then came a time the two fought. And fought... It didn't seem all that violent, a few scrabbly flutters and the dogs would come flying down the hill to break it up. (Quick aside: Even small farms have their own unique quirks and rhythms, busybody dogs intervening in the poultry soap opera is one of ours. Hey, it works. Usually...)

However, after one of these fights, Vlad came up lame. Worse than lame. His leg was so messed up he couldn't put any weight on it at all.

Now, there is nothing more pitiful than a one-legged rooster. No longer proud, Vlad hid in the barn, hopping to and from the feeder we set out for him.

We stopped calling him Vlad at all. Instead, he was "that poor guy" or "that poor rooster in the barn" and so on. His gaggle of outsider hens deserted him for the more sturdy roo in the coop.

We knew that we should end his misery. It's what any decent farmer should do. There was no way to make a splint, no way to catch him without bringing on a painful panic.

Clearly we lacked the correct mentality. And the poor one-legged guy in the barn hobbled through June.

Then one day last week, the guy was out in the sunlight. He isn't better, but he is putting weight down. he IS crowing challenges at Jaguar again (questionable rooster judgement is a subject for some other post) and for all our bad farmer technique, it appears he's pulled through.

***Pardon for the repeat picture, our camera is broken.