Emerson and the Frizzle
Do you remember Emerson, the hen that turned into a rooster? (Read about it here: http://www.vegetariat.com/2011/07/segregating-rooster-building-bachelors-quarters-pvc/ ). To review, last year we chose several breeds of chicks, all of which were supposed to have been pullets (females, rather than cockerels). My daughter chose the smallest Rhode Island Red chick, knowing that she would grow to be one of the larger hens and not wanting her to be a bully. That adorable chick turned into Emerson, a huge, handsome rooster. And vicious. After growing up as a pet, as soon as his hormones kicked in he became a nasty attack rooster, flying up to try for our faces, hitting us with his wings (they really are strong and it hurts!), and practicing with his feet for when his spurs grew in. Since we didn’t want fertile eggs, Emerson lived a life of frustrated celibacy next to the girls. I’d asked around at feed stores if they wanted him, but no one did and they said they’d eat him or just kill him. Until a month ago when on a visit to the Vista Country Feed Store I asked again, and they wanted him! They had about thirty one-year-old Rhode Island Red hens they were going to throw him in with. Sorry ladies!
Getting Emerson out of his pen and into a dog carrier was hazardous and scary. My daughter used strawberry on a string as a lure, but darn him, he just wouldn’t step into the box. We tried for almost an hour. Then Jacob came to work on the ponds, and volunteered his services. He said he thought it would be fun! Using his jacket and sheer determination, he captured Emerson without injury to anyone. Amazing!
At the feed store a pen in a line of pens was made available for Emerson. He was temporarily in Rooster Alley. There was a Polish rooster, with the funny head feathers, and a couple of others, all of whom Emerson tried to challenge through the wire. Testosterone Central.
And then there was the frizzle rooster.
I saw the frizzle rooster there last year, after someone had dumped him there. He strutted around crowing and posturing, with his curly feathers and diminutive size. I fell in love. He was funny all over.
Everything he did was funny, although it was all rooster behaviour. Well this year he was still there, and apparently had been turned out of his pen for Emerson.
That didn’t make him back down, though! That little guy challenged Emerson through the pen.
What was truly hilarious was that after he’d crow, he’d breathe in air while still making sound, like a wheeze or a deflated bagpipes. Listen carefully on his last crow; you can see him (with Emerson) here: http://youtu.be/ivtpeHfOSDM . Thanks to my daughter for the video. Happy Days, Emerson! And much love Mr. Frizzle!
Yeah. That’s right. I am THE chicken-picker.
And you should ask for $15 of that — after all, you *raised* him to be such an excellent free-range chicken guarder!
Update: today in the rain I stopped by the feed store and found Emerson in his pen looking healthy. There was a new sign on the front: Extremely violent rooster. Will attack. Good for guarding free-range hens. $30.
I pulled up my jacket hood and snuck back to my car. I didn’t even stay to look for Mr. Frizzle.