Monday 16 August 2010

The White Cockerel's day cometh

In The Land of the Chicken Hut there did come a problem. Friction reigned. Division  arose. Dark Cockerel  and White Cockerel were at war, with Junior Cockerel lending his quota of aggression into the war-pot.

Dark Cockerel started it. Here two days, and it came into his mind that he wanted to be King of  all The Land. And he took ownership of The Run, making it his territory and thereby controlling the food rights, delivered into the run from above by The People.

But he wasn't alone. With him were his girls, six in total: the two brown hens, the speckled brown hen,  the brown, black and white speckled hen, and two black and white speckled hens. This, then, was his harem. And the brown hens became his second in charge, raging war upon all who dared to step out of line. They laid down his law, did those brown hens.

White Cockerel was banished to The Hut, although was made to move out if Dark Cockerel felt he needed to claim that space for a while, after first making sure that his  tummy and his girls tummies were full of food, leaving scant offerings for the others.

With White Cockerel was Junior Cockerel, the two junior black hens, the Transylvanian bare neck hen, and the newly arrived Limousin hens. They were the ones who Dark Cockerel deemed not worthy of his company, with the brown hens reinforcing his dislike of them by bullying them as often as they could. It was not a good time in the Land of the Chicken Hut. Tension was too great, so the girls couldn't focus on egg laying, so none arrived. The People didn't mind that, but they didn't like the tension that was starting to emanate from The Land.

And then things got worse. Junior Cockerel started a sub faction of unrest by sectioning off the junior girls, bullying them into being in his start up gang. White Cockerel was avoiding any confrontation though, even though Dark Cockerel would frequently chase him round and round and round The Run, trying to do unto him harm. But worst of all was the crowing. Dark Cockerel would sound off about himself being The King of The Land to all within hearing range. For all of the day he would sound off. From first light, at 5 in the morning, all the way through the hours of the day. At first it was intermittent, but as each day arrived, so did his need to proclaim his kingship grow mightier.

Until the day cometh when he ratched up the aggro. Upon his girls, each in turn, he put himself,. Rough,  aggressive, his passion to pro-create ruled any gentleness that the girls deserved. Often they would be squawking, not really involved with his passion. In his desire to be The King, he was harsh to all. In his voice The People heard this harshness. It rippled over the air waves, creating unease and unrest throughout their world, smashing the calmness which usually prevailed. 'Twas not good, this aggression which was increasing by the day.

And The People looked at the Dark Cockerel with dismay, for it had been told them that the White Cockerel and the Dark Cockerel were friends. Well they might have been in their previous land, but not in this Land. What to do. An urgent decision had to be made.

So into The Land did the Man Person go. Bravely did he venture forth into that place, on hands and knees,  The Land being tiny in comparison to his world. And he did bring out of The Land Dark Cockerel and Juniour Cockerel.

Junior Cockerel has already been recycled, and Dark Cockerel is in the freezer, plucked, drawn and ready for the oven.

Meanwhile, White Cockerel holds kingship of The Land. All the adult girls are laying well, (seven eggs yesterday), and are a happier band. He is gentle with them, and goes upon their backs with care. They never squawk their displeasure, but instead, when he has finished his job, they ruffle up their feathers as if to say 'Wow, that was good'. He even manages the large Limousins, although does fall off sometimes, they being bigger than him. But at least he has a go at pleasing them.

Peace reigneth now in The Land of the Chicken Hut. White Cockerel is a gentle King, singing when the occasion demands, but with sweetness rather than aggression. All is well.

Sometimes decisions have to be made for the greater good. For the chickens to live together in harmony, two had to be recycled. It makes one feel like one is playing god. This is an uncomfortable feeling, but goes with the territory if one is running a smallholding.

Lessons learnt: to immediately recycle, or put into the pot, a previously alive chicken is not a good idea. From life to plate has to take a few days at least because the actual experience of stopping a life does stay in the memory for a while, making it difficult to successfully manage the cooking, and the eventual eating, of that chicken. Freezing is therefore a good idea because it puts a space in between the living bird and the frozen bird.
Forever after, if we do purchase a chicken from the supermarket, I will be aware that it was an alive bird once.

And we are now in egg production, which means the girls are happy. But one of the juniour black 'hens' looks like 'she' is a 'he', or it could be a transvestite!


Diane said...

What a wonderful post, I was with you every minute of this and would have come up with the same answers. Glad peace no reigns over the land. Diane

Ken Devine said...

Hi Vera
I know it all makes perfect sense, but I think I'll still struggle to eat anything I kill.
My hat goes off to you for seeing everything through.

The Accidental Author said...

Oh dear, Vera. We had the same problem when we were given a so-called 'bullied' cockerel. He became the bullier, viciously attacking Yam Sing, our beautiful Pekin bantam cockerel. And the crowing.... every 4 seconds from sun up to sun down. My daily workout was chasing him round the garden with a broom yelling at him to shut up! Fortunately, my neighbour was happy to take him in as she had about 30 hens and no cockerel. I think he thought he was in Paradise! The hens were far enough from the house for his constant crowing not to disturb her. I was reading the latest issue of Practical Poultry (as you do) and saw an advert for 'chicken saddles' to protect a hen's back from an over-zealous cockerel!

Vera said...

Diane: glad you were on the same wave length and would have done the same. Hope you have sorted out that tree trunk which couldn't be shifted.

Ken: I still struggle as well, but hopefully it will get easier to eat our animals as time goes on.

Prev (Lost): Can identify with chasing the cockerel round to try and shut him up! If we had had the facilities we would have separated the flocks, but we didn't so he had to go into the freezer. I laughed at the 'chicken saddle'. White Cockerel is gentle, but he does need a bit of help staying on top of our two Limousin hens!

DUTA said...

Beware Vera! Someone might accuse you of racism as you've described the dark cockerel as violent and the white cockerel as gentle.And on top of that you suspect the black hen being a 'he' or a 'travestite'. LOL.

Vera said...

Oh Duta! Chicken racism! I will indeed be aware!

Roz said...

I know exactly where you are coming from. A happy flock is one with one boss cockerell and yes, I agree it's too hard to kill and eat straight away, it feels too raw somehow.

Our first cockerell was a right git, but we loved him because apart from taking exception at some humans he really looked after 'his girls'. Poor sod is still in the freezer after a broken leg necessitated his early demise and we still can't quite bring ourselves to eat him!

TheChicGeek said...

Vera, you've made me laugh and smile this morning :) I love this part of your story, "So into The Land did the Man Person go. Bravely did he venture forth into that place, on hands and knees, The Land being tiny in comparison to his world. And he did bring out of The Land Dark Cockerel and Juniour Cockerel.

Junior Cockerel has already been recycled, and Dark Cockerel is in the freezer, plucked, drawn and ready for the oven. "

You have an incredible talent as a storyteller...I always love to visit you here!
Have a Wonderful Day, Vera :)