Beliefnet
My Happy Place

This month marks the four-year-anniversary of us moving on to our little five-acre farm. I look back over my “I had never” list:

  • I had never planted a garden
  • I had never raised a chicken
  • I had never raised a rabbit
  • I had never owned a pony
  • I had never eaten a fresh egg
  • I had never eaten a chicken I had raised

Play ground time for the hens

Okay, let’s stop there for a minute. I’m not a vegetarian, but, if I give even a little thought to America’s meat industry, I start to question my meal choices. I know that if I’m going to eat meat, it would be smart to eat meat that I raise myself. This is the way to avoid all sorts of unwanted antibiotics and such entering my body. It’s also a way to know that the animal had a good and healthy quality of life. It’s a way to be aware of where our food comes from and to really think about it. We try to instill in our children a thankfulness for their food and for them to see that each food product went through stages to get to our table. We even say thank you to the animals that give their lives. Eating our own animals would be a good way to model this lesson.

Having said that….I’m a failure at this part of farm living! I eat the eggs from our chickens. I eat the vegetables from our garden. But the one time I tried to eat one of our roosters, the bite stuck in my throat. I just couldn’t do it.

Salt the Rooster as a spring chick

Which leads us to a problem. Even if we pay extra for little girl chicks, we still get some boy chicks thrown in on accident. All four years we’ve wanted laying hens and we’ve gotten laying hens…plus a couple of roosters! The first year we tried to eat them and that didn’t work. The second year we tried to just keep them with the flock. When we keep more than one rooster, the roosters fight each other and then turn on us. When a rooster runs at a person and pecks at her, it is called “flogging” and it can make a good farm wife dread going to the coop for some eggs! No one wants to be a chicken of….well…a chicken. The third year we simply gave away the extra roosters.

A chicken is a lovely thing....

And here we are at the fourth year. We’re still not sure what to do with George, Renny, and Leroy but we know they need to be taken away from the flock so that our old rooster, Salt, can continue as top dude.  We decided to just move them to a fenced yard area for the time being.  Since our chickens free range, it’s a challenge to catch the roosters but we were able to corner one in the horse shelter and Anya grabbed him.  And then I looked at him. He is still young so his tail feathers were just starting to get longer than a hen’s tail feathers and his comb wasn’t much bigger than a hen’s.  He really still looked like a hen.

I squinted at him.

And then I said, “Anya? Are you *sure* this is a rooster?” Without missing a beat, that rooster looked me in the eye, opened his beak wide and said, “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” at the top of his little lungs.

We talked later about how much smarter if would have been for him to avoid my eyes and gently “cluck, cluck, cluck” like a hen, but, no, this little guy is proud of what he is…no matter what that means to his future 🙂

I’m not really sure what lesson I can learn from this humorous happening, but I’m sure there is some insight about self-acceptance. Sometimes people really want us to be different than who we are but it is a trial to try to be something other than the way God made us. I think today if anyone looks at me curiously or disapprovingly, I may just look them right in the eye and yell, “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOOOO!!!”

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