Meet Henri, my rooster.
Henri -I like the French spelling of the name, it suits him better- is beautiful, loud, bossy, sweet on his girls (of which I suspect he thinks I am one), proud, sneaky, and all together male. He is fun to watch and at the same time you don't want to take your eyes off of him for fear he will try one of his tricks. These tricks involve dropped wings and tight circling around your feet, and as that seems to be a roosters' prelude to mating, it is all together disturbing. Considering the fact that I am ten times his size and a different species. I'm just saying.
Henri also likes to find tasty morsels for his girls and loudly proclaim his find with turkey-like gobbling. The hens come running to see what he has found. He does this to me as well, but I noticed that he has not actually ever found anything good to eat, he is just trying to get my attention. So that I will come closer. So that he can do his dance for me. In hopes that I will be his chicky love. Um, no thanks, Henri. I can tell the difference between a worm and a piece of string. I am on to your tricks, buddy.
Seriously, I was getting concerned about his behavior since the chickens are 19 weeks old now and close to full sexual maturity. I do not want a terror of a rooster. I would like to let them free range a bit as they so obviously enjoy it and it gives them so many more chances to eat the bugs and plants that make the eggs more nutritious for us. But if I have a bad boy rooster, I can't let them out.
So, I went online and searched for more info on what to do. I found a site that advocated picking him up to show him that I am in control, that I am the alpha rooster. And to act more like a rooster myself. I have done the acting like a rooster thing a bit and it has kept him in line, a bit. I am planning to do the picking up thing soon, as well. The funny thing is that until I went online, I was not afraid of him and had recently picked him up to put him back in the tractor. I had thought his attentions towards me were cute.
Now, I am a teensy bit intimidated by his behavior, and turned off by the idea that I have to keep him in line in the pecking order for all his life. I was hoping we could be friends.
Now, I see that my giving him special treats as I dug in the garden was only reinforcing his idea that I was a big, strange looking hen that was obviously sweet on him.
I hurts a bit to have to knock him down off his highhorse, as proud as he is. I mean, he is still my baby that I raised from a day old chick.
Not that I would hesitate to take him out if he ever hurt one of the kids, mind you. Ok, I would feel bad, but the coq au vin a la Henri would be lovely. C'est la vie, non?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Meet Henri, my rooster.