Thursday, March 29, 2007


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.


melissa said...

Awww for Mr. Black, Yippeee for King Whitey! Sweet story :)

Joanne said...

RIP, Mr. Black. All hail King Whitey! Thanks for the barnyard tale.

somebunnysloveDOTcom said...

Sorry about Mr. Black's departure, but now Whitey will be much happier. I find it interesting on how Nature makes decisions for us when we are in conflict over our animals.

Cynthia said...

The world works in mysterious ways. Your story is a pretty good life lesson.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Even Mother Nature does not always settle conflicts peacefully!

Baa Bonny Belle said...

We had this same problem with Bob-Banty and Bill-Mil Fleur, it looked like the Benny Hill show they way they chased each other around the yard, dodging in and out. They seem to fight, almost to the death, or at least till blood was everywhere.

Bill has the run of the roost now as Bob was taken by a coyote himself. Letting the chickens free-range during the day is very risky, we have lots of coyotes waiting behind trees just eye-balling those lovely chicken thighs.

I can soooo understand the "conflict".

Dianne said...

We always kept a banty rooster because they were generally less aggressive, but the last one we had nearly wore out the poor hens. I think we were all relieved when he went to the hen house in the sky!! For the time being, we are rooster-less and the hen house is much calmer. We have Great Pyrenees dogs who live with our sheep and guard them from the coyotes and by default everything else on the farm gets protected too.