Then there was one… Rooster that is.

When we first moved onto the farm, we were given four young chickens. Three Rhode Island Red hens and a rooster of some other breed. We named the rooster Max, one of the Rhode Island Reds turned out to be a rooster and we dubbed him Rex. So, after we added 32 White Leghorns, we had 2 roos and 34 hens. Max ruled the roost while Rex worked his game outside of Max’s radar.

One day a few months ago Sarah, our four-year old, decided to wear her fairy wings. Max apparently thought she was some type of mutant come to devour “his” hens. He climbed her back and gave her quite the thrashing. No blood was drawn but she now had an irrational terror of Max. We reasoned that if she  didn’t wear the wings, then Max would leave her alone. She didn’t believe us and I reckon she was right not to. Max soon took to terrorizing our boys to who are 6 and 8. We soon had three of the most gun er, rooster shy kids around. Before they’d step out side, they’d look all around to see if Max was anywhere in the vicinity. They would either arm themselves with sticks, rakes, rocks etc. and venture out, OR they’d see Max strutting past and slam the door shut and wail, “MAX IS OUT THERE!!!” I was soon hearing requests that Max be dispatched, more or less. I planned to, but I wanted to wait until we process our meat birds.

It all came to a head though yesterday, when I gave David the task of filling up the water troughs for the cows. As he pulls the hose up to the tubs, Max comes around the corner of the barn. “Daaaddy!” David hollers. “What!” I all but scream back. “Max is coming!” “Well, you have a hose. If he comes toward you, swing it at him.” I walked to the spigot, and David basically turned into a quivering mass of blubbering hysteria. I spun the water on and told him he could just spray Max with the hose, but the poor kid just kept wailing. His mother stood guard over him and kept him safe from Max’s beak and spurs.

Now before the accusations start flying about child abuse or some other endangerment, this is a farm. Roosters are a part of farming according to my model. My kids needed to learn how to deal with an animal such as Max. I don’t want them to flippantly decide that an animal could simply be gotten rid of due to one trait. Max actually fulfilled his job well. He kept an active lookout for danger. If he spotted a hawk, he would give the call that must equate to “Take cover!” and every hen on the property would make tracks for the barn. Max had a role and he filled it. Unfortunately he included terrorizing my kids.

After the incident at the water trough though, I decided that the time had come. I told the kids that I was going to kill Max the next day. You’d have thought I’d announced that we were going to Disney! I admonished them a little for their celebratory reaction. “We’re not just killing him to kill him  I told them. “His death will have a purpose so, we’re going to eat him.” They were quite fine with that. Early this morning, I caught him and put him in the chicken crate. After the kids were up and dressed, we went to work. Max got the same treatment as the broilers. I put him upside down in a make shift killing cone ,he was quite calm. I cut his carotid, and he quickly “went to sleep”. The next task was plucking. I opted to pluck as much dry as possible. Pulling wet feathers is less than fun. I’ll spare the rest of the details but I’ll say this, eating a bird that has been running around for at least six months was quite the culinary experience.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m with your kids! We’ve had two roosters that I raised from day old chicks. The first got aggressive and went back to the farm store. The second, Wren, was so beautiful, I wanted to keep him. The first time he turned on me, a man who grew up with chickens told me I’d have to butcher him because he’d never stop; I was sure I could teach him to respect me.

    The first time he attacked me, the only weapon handy was a 5 ft aluminum extension ladder. I had to clobber him three times, sending him flying the third time, before he quit coming back at me. He left me alone for a couple days, and I was sure I’d proved that guy wrong. Then Wren came after me again, and I used my handy walking stick. Sometimes it was a long 2×4 or a metal tree stake or even my heavy purse. The only time Wren would leave me alone was if my husband was near. (I realized my husband was the bigger rooster!) Once I got 20 ft from my husband, Wren would attack.

    The final straw was when I checked to see that Wren was far away, set down my stick, and bent to feed the chickens. Suddenly something hit me in the back of my legs–Wren had crept up on me and attacked. He drew blood that time. He got guillotined the next day and turned into coq au vin. Yeah, kids, it was like going to Disneyland!

    We’ve heard numerous farmers say they won’t keep an aggressive animal, and that’s what we’ve decided. “Bite the hand that feeds you” (or one of the grandkids) and you’re toast! We have a straight run of chicks now, and I expect about 8 to be roosters. I’ll give a couple of them a chance, but the first sign of aggression, it’s time for coq au vin!



  2. Oh! This reminds me of our first rooster, Sir Cluck. He turned kid-hater on us and Abi, then two, got the brunt of it. The worst was a inch long impalement in her thigh from one of his spurs. He nearly died death-by-rake that day. He ended up getting eaten by an eagle. Eh, guess it was kinda fitting, bully for bully.
    Isn’t it crazy how ridiculously skinny they are under all those feathers. lol???
    Glad you children are safe again!



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