Tuesday, September 29, 2009

General Mills declares himself

We're out with the chickens, letting them free-range in the yard. It's about 8 pm on a Saturday night. We have a fire in the fire pit and the neighbors are over - we're planning to make a few smores.

That's when I see General Mills harassing one of The Brown Ones. She is squawking and trying to get out from under his grip. Still, it has not registered for me what's going on. I go over and kick him, which he completely ignores. I kick him again and he finally gets off. (When I say kick, I mean the way you kick a new-car tire, not a football.)

It finally dawns on me that they were mating!

He gives me a look, then struts into the coop, and, with the light bulb from the coop creating a nice back-dropped silhouette, he starts to crow. It's not a wimpy, test run either. It's not a starter crow, but a full-out "I'm a man!" kind of crow.

And he doesn't stop crowing. He wants the world to know he's had his way with The Brown One. He wants the galaxy to know.

I apologize profusely to the neighbors, and outline my plans for him. But it still takes two days to get him relocated. He ends up with three other roosters and twenty hens at a hobby farm. The new owner assures me that 'hobby farm' is not a euphemism for 'dinner plate'.

As chickens go, there was something to admire in General Mills. He was big and beautiful, white and black with emerald green tail feathers. He ran his flock with assuredness, firmness, but fairness.

Once he's gone, the rest of the hens don't really know what to do with themselves. They are so used to following his lead, they mill about aimlessly for a while. That's when Big Mama steps in.