Conflict abounds in this world! We try to avoid it here in our corner of the world but it is pretty much impossible. Listening to the radio, I hear about it happening far away from us. In the local paper I read about neighbors squabbling endlessly. From Julia, I hear about conflict in the school yard and lunch room. Suffice it to say, it is pretty difficult to avoid conflict in this world of ours.
In my bucolic looking chicken pen, there has been conflict for over three years. I have two roosters – Mr. Black (an Aracauna) and Whitey (a Leghorn). (Mr. Black is in the back of the photo below.) In the world of roosters or cocks as they are sometimes referred to, there is always conflict. Last spring it became rather violent. (There’s something about spring that brings out the worst in roosters.)
Normally, my roosters sort it out by themselves and one becomes the king of the chicken pen. I observe their behavior from afar generally being quite entertained. But last spring, Mr. Black did all-out battle with Whitey. I watched the squirmish for the better part of the day. I had to step in. Mr. Black wouldn’t stop. Poor Whitey was bloodied and so beaten I wasn’t sure he was going to survive. I removed him from the pen and he convalesced in peace in the mudroom. He seemed happy enough. For over a year now, he’s been my “yardbird.”
Once in a while, I let all the chickens out to run free and eat bugs and grass. (Although this seems like a lovely idea, it often turns into deadly chaos due to my Border Collies' insistent herding and nudging.) Every time I did this last summer, Mr. Black picked a fight with Whitey and madness ensued. At night, all the chickens returned to the coop with the exception of Whitey who by then had taken up official residence in the both the dogwood tree and in the winter months inside the mudroom. He was safe there. (Okay - by now, you can picture the mudroom. We shut the door and don’t let anyone walk through it. It desperately needs an official hoe-out and washdown.)
Yesterday, with spring in the air, Mr. Black escaped at feeding time. I tried without success to recapture him and gave up. I was curious to see if he would attack his nemisis. Did he remember Whitey was roaming free? Peace seemed to be settling over the farmyard with Whitey just plain keeping away from Mr. Black. Whew!
I got home after dark. I asked Mark if he had seen Mr. Black and he said he was sleeping on the woodpile. Whitey was in the mudroom. Good, I thought. Peace was still reigning.
This morning, I went to tend the chickens. I looked for Mr. Black and found a pile of gray feathers. He was gone. Nature (probably a coyote or a fox) had sorted out my hen house problem.
Tonight, Whitey is going back in the coop. I can get back my mudroom and he’ll be happy to be King Whitey.