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. Â That’s also what Pepa said when Bryan told him about my recent encounters in the chicken coop. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â But his latest act has repeatedly proven two things: Â (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. Â He flogs me … present tense, continuing … not just once, not just in certain circumstances. Â No. Â All. The. Time. Â Every time I go into the coop or let the birds out to graze. Â He even chases me down sometimes when, no lie, my back is turned. Â This is not paranoia – the chicken’s out to get me. Â 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.” Â 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. Â 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. Â It started with me getting in a fight with the rooster and ended with me getting an x-ray. Â So I guess the rooster won that round. Â 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. Â 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. Â Well, it’s a small target. Â 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. Â Even through boot, that wasn’t comfortable. Â So I limped on my pride and one good foot back to the house. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â It ain’t fun that’s for sure and there wasn’t any sense of satisfaction once the deed was done. Â 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. Â Who knows how long I sat there fingers gripped tightly around a lifeless neck waiting for one last flailing. Â 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.