“I hate a flogging rooster”

That’s what Ruby Thewes (Renee Zellweger’s character) in Cold Mountain says to a terrified Nicole Kidman just before wringing the bird’s neck.  That’s also what Pepa said when Bryan told him about my recent encounters in the chicken coop.  Now I’ve known since shortly after we got this rooster that he wasn’t all that bright, so I really shouldn’t be surprised at his recent senseless behavior.  Within a few weeks of bringing him home, I dubbed him “Forrest Gump” because, at the time, though lovable, he seemed to have an even-smaller-than-a-pea brain.  For instance, he’d run up and down a path in front of the coop, trying to get in through the cage wire instead of going just a little bit more to the left to the wide-open door.  But his latest act has repeatedly proven two things:  (1) he indeed has no sense and (2) he ain’t all that lovable after all.

I’m not sure if he thinks I’m one of his hens, a threat to his flock – angry that I retrieve eggs and clip wings – or if I’m just trying to impose logic or reason onto a numskull animal.  He flogs me … present tense, continuing … not just once, not just in certain circumstances.  No.  All. The. Time.  Every time I go into the coop or let the birds out to graze.  He even chases me down sometimes when, no lie, my back is turned.  This is not paranoia – the chicken’s out to get me.  I must say, regardless of his reason, or lack thereof, for acting a fool, it really peeves me — bringing to mind the phrase “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”  I give them food, water, fresh straw to nest on; I clean out their coop and feed them scratch right from my hand – yes, he’ll eat scratch from my hand, then turn around and flog me when I stand up.  I’ve even refused to let Belle eat him no matter how much she paces on the other side of the fence as though working up momentum for a clearing jump – and believe me, I’ve been tempted many times to accidentally-on-purpose unlatch that gate and turn my back.

The matter was at its worst, a few weeks ago, leading me to ponder how hard it could be to wring a chicken’s neck and salivating on the idea of farm-fresh chicken-n-dumplings.  It started with me getting in a fight with the rooster and ended with me getting an x-ray.  So I guess the rooster won that round.  He started in on me and wouldn’t quit despite my yelling and advancing toward him – picture a puffed-up chest and “you wanna piece of me” attitude.  I’d had enough, so I reared back on one foot and swung away with the other – dead-set on planting the sole of my boot upside the rooster’s noggin.  Well, it’s a small target.  I missed and bent my not-so-sure-footed foot sideways so that the leg that had been holding me up was now resting on the ball of my ankle against the concrete coop floor.  Even through boot, that wasn’t comfortable.  So I limped on my pride and one good foot back to the house.  The next morning I had to stop by the doctor’s office for a blood pressure check and, since I now get special ultra conservative treatment (a whole other story), they weren’t taking any chances on me – sending me directly to hospital radiology to be certain I didn’t chip a bone.  Turned out there was no chip, just likely a bruise on the bone and definitely one on my ego, which took several days of anger, Advil and hobbling around to finally fade away.  For the time being, rooster had gotten a reprieve.

Last night, the stay of execution ended, and I got my first “taste” of wringing a rooster’s neck.  It ain’t fun that’s for sure and there wasn’t any sense of satisfaction once the deed was done.  Honestly, it was like the death scene in a B movie – just when you think dude’s dead, he grabs your leg and gasps one more time.  Who knows how long I sat there fingers gripped tightly around a lifeless neck waiting for one last flailing.  And, yes, we did have chicken for dinner, but it was flash frozen instead of farm-fresh – just something about that flailing didn’t seem all that appetizing to me.

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