Tag Archives: Poultry

The Great, Great Speckled Bird

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

A few years ago when I had a lot larger flock of chickens a pair of fox-critters killed over half of them in the space of two days.  The second day I heard another chicken-drama taking place, grabbed the nearest long-gun and ran out to investigate.

Confusion out there.  The hens were all huddled underneath cedars pointing at one another, hoping someone else would be selected by whatever had them scared.  But The Great Speckled Bird was out in the open, craning his neck, looking for the problem.  As I ran by, he joined me, then hopped out front.  He ran straight for a cedar tree about 30 yards from me.

A fox was under that cedar, saw the rooster approaching, probably saw me, as well, and turned to scurry away.  I quickly dispatched him a few yards into the escape.  At that point TGSB joined me as I examined the carcass, dancing, clucking excitedly.

I’d never heard of a rooster behaving hunting-dog, thought it was an anomaly.

But yesterday he strutted his stuff again, and he’s still got it.  Hens were acting about as before, one out in the open making a lot of fuss, though.  I looked out and saw TGSB running across the meadow for the henhouse.  I snagged the long-gun and headed out to find out what was happening.  Arrived about the same time as TGSB.

A glance inside the henhouse showed black feathers lying around inside.  Probably came from the Australorp raising the dickens initially.  But TGSB was clucking, rubbed my leg and I looked down.  He was dancing around the rear-end of a coon, hind legs and tail sticking out from under Battlestar Gallinica. 

I’m sure the coon didn’t realize any of it wasn’t hidden, and I’d never have seen it if TGSB hadn’t pointed it out.

Battlestar Gallinica, the US Space Program, and Fluid Reality

Having resolved the coon issue, I just paused, drew a deep breath and admired him for the ten-thousanth time.

Some of you have wondered why I keep an old, crippled, useless rooster around.  I’ll confess, TGSB is the reason I keep the hens around.

Old Jules

Honoring the Oceans in the Hen House

Me:  Why so quiet there Ms. Australorp?  Thinking of giving up on those chalk eggs?

Her:  No.  I’m just feeling a little reflective and sad.  I spent yesterday honoring the oceans.

Me:  You WHAT?  You spent yesterday wearing down those chalk eggs, same as every other day for the past couple of weeks. Honoring the oceans?  I need to pull those eggs out from under you.  A few days out chasing grasshoppers will help you regain perspective.

Her:  No.  Really.  I was thinking about all that radioactivity in the North Pacific.  Thinking about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  All those poor turtles and plankton.

Me:  Thinking of signing some petitions?  Thinking of voting for someone who knows what to do about that garbage in the ocean vortices?  Those two roosters caged over there know as much about what to do about it all as any human being.

Her:  I know.  Still, I feel sad about it.  I think an empty, meaningless gesture or two might help me feel better.  Maybe a rally and a few petitions after these eggs hatch.

Me:  Rest your mind on that one, babe.  I’m pulling those eggs.  The golf ball, too.

Old Jules

Old Sol: “They don’t know nuthin about chickens”

http://spaceweather.com/

“‘CH’ STANDS FOR … CHICKEN? A big dark hole in the sun’s atmosphere, a ‘coronal hole’, is turning toward Earth spewing solar wind. According to NASA’s official rubber chicken, it looks an awful lot like a bird.

“Coronal holes are places where the sun’s magnetic field opens up and allows the solar wind to escape. A chicken-shaped stream of solar wind flowing from this coronal hole will reach Earth on June 5th – 7th, possibly stirring geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.”

Me:  “Morning big guy.  Having yourself a little snack up there, are you?  Something to start the morning off right?”

Old Sol:  “You people really piss me off sometimes.  This isn’t a chicken, doesn’t look anything like a chicken.  It’s a belch building up.  Feels more like a tumor the size of a grapefruit stuck in my gullet than some damned chicken.”

Me:  “Wasn’t me, amigo.  It’s those NASA guys.  They know about as much about chickens as they know about anything else going on with you.  More maybe, even though none of them could name the breed of chicken it most nearly resembles.”

Old Sol:  “Then why do they keep talking all this weak BS?  And what breed of chicken are we talking about?”

Me:  “Looks to me as though it might pass itself off as a Buff Crested Polish rooster if it had more tail-feathers.  But the reason they do it is the same reason we do pretty much everything else.  We human beings don’t feel good about ourselves if we don’t already know everything.  Species self-esteem thing, I reckons.”

Old Sol:  “Sometimes I’d rather just hang back, not even come out and have to face all you tiny damned crawlies.  Never can tell what you’re going to come up with next.”

Me:  “Yeah, right.  But keep in mind nobody down here has a Buff Crested Polish rooster tattooed on his face.  You getting your stuff together?  You’ve got a long day ahead.  Not long before we’ll be expecting great things from you, same as yesterday.”

Old Sol:  “Yeah.  Just give me a few minutes here.  Warm up the engine.  Do a few things on my backside where I’ve got some privacy.  I’ll be along.”

Old Jules

 

 

The 21st Century Through Mirror Sunglasses

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

For six days this Australorp hen’s been sitting on a golf ball and two chalk eggs.  Every day I go out and rob the real eggs from under her, stroke her, talk to her, listen to her grumbles, whines, complaints, leaving that golf ball and the chalk eggs to give her something to hope for.

Highly-bred hens such as this one are somewhat similar to 21st Century human beings in some ways.  They’ve had almost all the instincts bred out of them in favor of, either producing a lot of chicken-meat in the least possible while, or producing as many eggs as their bodies allow.  Australorps hold the world record for the most eggs produced by a single hen during the span of a year.

The cost, from the perspective of the hen, is they’ve mostly lost the instincts required to cause them to go broody.  The instincts required to survive as a  species.  Same’s true of my Americauna hens.  Great layers, lousy instincts.

So I’m prone to have a warm place in my heart for a hen when she goes broody, even though I don’t need any more chickens, don’t want any chicks.  It’s the mawkish sentimentality in me, I reckons.  I feel a lot of sympathy and tenderness for a hen trying her best to hatch clutch of eggs, even if the eggs are chalk and golf balls.

I try to simulate a pair of mirror sunglasses when I go out to lift her off the latest eggs, hers and those the other hens try to sneak in under her to give the species another microscopic shot at survival.

Those imaginary mirror sunglasses mightn’t be necessary to me to get through these final decades of my life, but they certainly make it easier to watch what’s going on around me.  Human beings sitting on golf balls and chalk eggs, allowing instincts to creep briefly into their behaviors occasionally, probably won’t hatch.  But it appeals to my mawkish sentimentality side and there’s no harm in it.

At least no harm that would be neutralized by me not indulging. 

A creature pays his money and takes his chances this lifetime.  Even if the creature’s a hen and the eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. 

Old Jules

Cunning, Intelligence and Free Ranging Chickens

I don’t think this applies to caged chickens, but my experience with caged birds is limited.  All I can actually tell you is that free ranging chickens are some of the most cunning, cagy, calculating, communist creatures on the planet.

A free ranging hen can calculate to the second how long it takes my eyes to narrow, my jaw to clamp, pause listening, and spring out of my chair when I’m trying to do something on the comp and I hear a chicken on the porch.

A free ranging hen can judge almost to the inch how far and hard a person can throw a rock with any accuracy.  A free ranging hen can predict almost exactly how far and how fast a 70 year old man can run swinging a stick before he gives out.

A free ranging hen is able to predict within a few seconds how long and how loud it can cackle and raise hell just outside the window before it needs to start dodging rocks or running into the bushes.

A free ranging chicken recognizes a slingshot and knows the difference between a slingshot stretched as an empty threat, and a slingshot with just about a bellyfull of chicken games.

A free ranging chicken usually won’t eat ants unless it thinks a person would rather it didn’t, in which case it will.  The whole flock will stand on a red ant bed pecking, so long as the ants aren’t carrying off their feed to the ant bed.

A free ranging chicken will ignore hard cat food scattered around on the ground away from the porch, but it will sneak around trying to find some on the porch everytime it thinks a person’s in the middle of something needs concentration.

I subscribe to the philosophy the reason the chicken crossed the road was for practice.  Training dodging cars.  And motivated by some human being not wanting it to cross the road.  Try to get a chicken to cross the road and it’s going to stay home cackling under the window or crapping on the porch.

Old Jules

Dancing With Roosters

Good morning readers.  I’m obliged you made a swing by here.  I’m going to do my best to give you something to have read by the time you leave if the Coincidence Coordinators and the commie phone line will sit still for it.

I’ve about decided I’m going to have peace and harmony around here, and I don’t care who I have to kill to do it.  The roosters are driving me nuts with their sneaky non-harmonizing ways.

The Great Speckled Bird surprised me by surviving the winter, feeling better most ways than he has in a longish time.  But more crippled up than ever.  Not much use of the one leg anymore, one wing weak or useless.  So when he falls, the usual ritual is to lie on his back waving his legs around.  Struggling for a shift in reality to get into a position where the one foot can get a hold on something.

But even so, he’s out there ranging with the hens, doing what roosters are supposed to do as often as he can see his way clear to do it and he can find a willing hen.

But meanwhile I keep my bachelor roosters penned most of the day.  Mainly because they’re of a mind that if I’m not looking it’s okay to open up a can of whoopass on TGSB.  They can knock him down and peck the bejesus out of him in less time than it takes to tell it.

But I’ve digressed.  I was going to tell you about dancing with roosters, which is the only way a person can establish harmonious society with them.  A rooster isn’t long on understanding the ways of a human being, but he does understand who’s the cock of the walk.  And if he doesn’t understand, or he forgets, he’s forever trying to reassure himself about whether he’s boss, or someone else is.

A rooster has two main dances.  One he does for the hens, which I’ll describe some other time, though it’s important to know how to do it so’s to keep him and the hens on their toes.  But the one used to communicate “I’m a contender,” and “You want some of this?  Come get it!” is an absolute necessity.

The last couple of days when the bachelor roosters and TGSB were out concurrently I’ve had to do a lot of dancing around stiff-legged, acting like I was pecking the ground watching them out of the corner of my eye and flapping my arms threateningly.  Reminding them if they want to mess with TGSB they’ve got to go through the bull-goose-looney to get there.

I think where I slipped up was when the warm weather started I quit wearing my red stocking cap they considered a comb, and forgot I’m a rooster too.  Got thinking they could each be a contender.

Old Jules

The Great Speckled Bird: Respecting our Betters

The Liar: The Great Speckled Bird, Part 2

News from the Middle of Nowhere

October Quietude, Dead Bugs and Old Roosters

Sunday Morning Newsiness January 22, 2012

Sometimes you can’t help being a little embarrassed for Old Sol, showing off just because he has a captive audience.

http://spaceweather.com/

But you have to admit, even the Chinese can’t do fireworks to compete.  Some things just can’t be pulled off with the combination of cheap labor and US politicians dancing for multi-national corporations and banks.

Old Sol’s got his own cheap labor, I’m guessing.

And if he does they’re not forever counting themselves up to calculate whether they could march four abreast into the sea without wearing thin on the patience of everyone else.

I’m in the doghouse with all the cats this morning, but especially with Hydrox.  The invadercat came in just at dark last night while I was feeding the can of cat food to the four belongers.  Sat there 20-30 feet off the porch just watching.

Irked the bejesus out of Hydrox, especially, because I was taking its picture and talking to it instead of running it the hell off.  This morning Hydrox is being standoffish and treating me with a disdain I rarely see in him.

But you’ve got to admit that looks like a pretty good cat, though I’m not going to let it stay around here.  I don’t need any more cats and it’s well enough groomed to argue it has a home somewhere, anyway.

Hydrox and the other can relax, once they’ve punished me a while for causing them a momentary doubt about feline population projections for 2012.

I’ve mentioned guineas a number of times here, but I suspect some of you folks might never have seen one.  They’re difficult to photograph because they’re constantly moving faster than you can realize until you try snapping a pic of them.

They look a bit like a cross between a turkey vulture and a pheasant.  Most biologists believe the species leaked over here from a parallel universe and they’ve never quite managed to get a grip on this reality.

The biologists might be correct, but my personal theory is that they escaped from a Larry Niven novel, one of the Tales of Known Space from the 1970s and 1980s.  Likely as not they were developed by the race that created the Bandersnatchi.

But what the hell do I know?

Old Jules