I think we have the funniest assembly of roosters. They don’t fight much. Except for the odd measuring up of size and puffing up some feathers and performing the mandatory boxer’s dance, they get along quite well. In fact during the day you will usually find the roosters in close proximity to each other and also near the ducks while the hens wander all around. The roosters seem to have some kind of brotherly understanding among themselves.
So I sneak up as close as I can get without being too intrusive. The chickens do see me and observe me but don’t pay too much attention to me. Most of them are in the very front in what is labelled “the run” part of the coop. The two Scott Grey roosters are sitting next to each other on the highest perch in the middle section most of them use to sleep in at night. It is only semi enclosed, so it is fairly light. I hear a croaky crow and peer in to see “Tiara” letting go his best crow. He seems embarrassed when he sees me looking at him and stops. His brood-brother, “Midnight” is sitting silently next to him. Maybe he is trying to pick up this impressive new art?
But where is Sunny, our huge Light Sussex Rooster? He is MIA again. But this time I don’t search for him. I now know where he is. He is still sleeping in the very back section of the coop. It is the enclosed section where they all are supposed to sleep. It is pitch dark in there and Mr Sunny uses that to the optimum. He is not an early riser. He is our rooster that sleeps in, hidden where he feels no-one can catch him snoozing on morning duty! I don’t think he has even thought about crowing yet. Why bother when you can still cozily sit in dreamland!
The other chickens start lining (or rather bunching) up in front of the gate in anticipation of being let out at 7am. Bungling Big Barry is at the very front. He is huge and white and can easily be pecked for bouncer duty at one of the more dodgy clubs in town if one went on looks alone. But somehow when the little chicken hatch is opened and the chickens are allowed to run out, Barry is quickly demoted from front position to the very back and comes out last with an embarrassed shake to his ruffled feathers and a frustrated squawk. Clearly the other chickens forgot to respect his size and stature again! And I am sure for a moment it brings back an awkward memory of when even the 6 week old cheeky duck pushed him roughly aside for a juicy spinach leaf.
Oh Barry, and you won’t even let me pat you. You love coming closer and being around me but a friendly touch is just too much for your already bruised ego to bare. You are a big white Coronation Sussex rooster after all and you have standards!
Most of the chickens are now out except for poor Millie, our one legged half rooster. Millie has the attitude of a rooster but sadly was born with a lame leg. She was named Millie Miracle. We keep having to remind ourselves that she is a rooster! We give her a little bit of extra help and care. Lifting her over the edge of the door opening and placing her close to the food where she does her traditional mad flapping circle dance before enthusiastically pecking at the food. It does not matter which way around you place her, I mean him, even if he is facing directly at the food, he first needs to flap his wings and make a loud wacky circle before eating. The other chickens seem to expect this crazy behavior with a bit of an eye roll and a great forbearance, because they will patiently step back, let Millie stir up some dust and then continue eating again.
The morning feeding routine can easily have become just another duty squeezed in between a myriad of other routine duties before school drop-off time. But it doesn’t – I always find myself spending another extra minute I can ill afford and then rushing back to my other tasks with a smile on my face.