Feather Duster, my ancient rooster, is getting dottier all the time. Feather Duster is approximately nine years old. We've had him since he was an egg in Justin's Year 10 Agricultural project to hatch and raise a clutch of eggs. From his early adolescence Feather Duster was a pain in the neck. He bullied the ducks until I had to move them to a safer yard for their own protection and he bullied the hens. He didn't threaten the hens' lives as he did the ducks', but he still needed stern talking to's about his behaviour on a regular basis. In fact I named him Feather Duster to remind him that if he didn't get his act together and find some chooky compassion for his fellow fowls his beautiful feathers could be put to another use. It was an empty promise and he knew it.
As time went on and he matured his attitude mellowed a bit. He took a vow of peace and love for all. Life became peaceful in the chook pen for a while. Then the girls saw an opportunity for revenge and turned on Feather Duster and he had to be removed for his own good. I attempted to return him to the chook yard from time to time and he kept his vow and refused to fight back until on one attempt to reintroduce him to the chook pen he lost his resolve momentarily and pecked back at one of the chooks as she moved in for yet another peck. After that they left him alone and peace was restored.
In his old age he has a spring/winter romance. He's in love with a tiny black Chinese Silky named Pepper and then he became totally reformed. He became a SNAR (Sensitive New Age Rooster). He could be found wherever Pepper was in the chook pen every day, looking after her and protecting her from the perils of the chook pen. You never know when a worm might get vicious! Yesterday he took his SNAR duties to a new level.
I collected the eggs yesterday and Pepper is going broody again. Chinese Silkies go broody at the drop of a feather and Pepper spends as much time trying to incubate eggs, while we try to steal them from her without incurring physical violence from Pepper. The first time she was broody Feather Duster was broody along with her. He sat in the nesting box with her all day and whispered sweet nothings in her ears. When he realised she was going to spend so much of her life in the nesting box contemplating chickens that were never going to be (Feather Duster is just too old and past all ideas of fatherhood), he left her to her own devices during subsequent broody sessions. He did visit Pepper during each confinement to exchange compliments and I love you's but mostly he stayed out in the yard doing what rooster do when the love of their life isn't by their side. He scratched around looking for tasty morsels in the dirt.
Well, he's gone one step further in becoming a supportive and caring partner. I forgot to collect the eggs on Wednesday so there were eight eggs to collect yesterday. Eight full size chook eggs are too big for one little Silky to sit on no matter how she spreads her feathers out so ever the gentleman, Feather Duster took four of the eggs and sat on them for her! I found him sitting there by Pepper's side both snuggled up together and murmuring private conversations. When I tried to steal the eggs Pepper was indignant and looked to Feather Duster to protect their potential brood. Feather Duster tried a few stern words to make me see the errors of my ways, but when that didn't work he decided to sit firm and make getting the eggs as difficult as possible. And believe me it's very difficult to get eggs out from underneath a rooster! He's heavy!!! At last I had what I hoped were all the eggs and left the chook pen. Pepper and Feather Duster stayed in the nesting box and I expect they'll be there this afternoon for round two. I just hope they aren't planning anti egg theft strategies while they sit and wait for my next assault.
I keep saying, "It's not my fault!" but Graeme goes right along with my kids' theory that I take perfectly normal animals and make them wacky. I repeat It's Not My Fault!