Thursday, July 3, 2008

About Bob ...

Meet Bob ... Bob the Buttercup Rooster if you prefer a more formal introduction. While he is not the only rooster in the hen house, Bob is - shall we say - confused. He wasn't always so friendly, it took a maiming to mix him up. Maiming?

You see, there were 12 young hens and 13 immature roosters in the chicken coop that summer. Six pairs of different rare breed chickens and one oddball rooster named Elvis that was my free chicken because I ordered more than 20 chicks at once. The problem began because Bob was smaller than all those other squabbling little roosters. In the end it would appear that they literally stomped Bob's little feathered butt. Testosterone can get ugly when in the clutches of a bird brain.

Whatever happened in that part of the barn left Bob unable to walk. Being the good chicken farmer that I was, all injured residents of the coop were separated and admitted to the infirmary. The infirmary was a large cardboard box conveniently located in the utility room. Some of the patients healed and went back to life as before the injury and others, well we won't talk about those sad cases. So Bob became the infirmary patient and the rest of the hen house population could have cared less that he was missing.

Bob was fine really, but he couldn't walk to get to the food or water. He spent his days living large on the patio and sharing the cat's water bowl. The feline community allowed him to drink beside them, but otherwise pretty much ignored the feathered weirdo by the porch steps. At dusk he was placed in the safety and confinement of the box, held captive by the brick that locked him in tightly.

Now I will confess that some people thought I was crazy for taking care of a dumb chicken that couldn't walk. I paid them no mind at all. I mean really, why would I want to think like them? Farmers are supposed to do everything they can to save the herd, right? Besides, who would have stories like this one to tell?

Within a week, Bob could scoot himself around and loved to get into the flower beds where a feast of insects and worms awaited. Because he couldn't get too far, we never shut the gate of the fence. Until Elvis and Bart discovered him in there. It's a dang good thing that Elvis was free or I might have shipped him back and demanded a refund. Mean as a snake and strange looking too. Bob escaped a new butt kickin' only because Rachel was coming out of the house at the proper moment. After that we made sure to keep the gate closed.

A couple more weeks and Old Bob healed right up and could walk around like he never got hurt. The day came that I felt confidant he could fight for food and water well enough to go back to his own kind. The minute I sat him down on the chicken coop floor his head did a quick 360 swivel and with a loud screech he made a beeline for the door. He ran like his tail feathers were flaming!
Where did he go? Straight back to his personal abode on the patio. I decided I wouldn't want to have eat and sleep with the likes of Elvis either and Bob became a house pet.

Everyone should have a rooster who scratches at the screen when he wants to come in for the night. Bob was now shunned by the egg production community and enjoying a whole new world. We had to lock him out of the patio to eat dinner. Bob really loved corn on the cob and if he saw you eating it he would be on your shoulder assisting you at removing the kernels with his beak.

This sitting on people's heads phenomena began with Rachel who decided Bob loved her because she took such good care of him. I argued that he thought she was a chicken with that red cap on her head. To prove my point, I bought a red cap too. I was right (for the most part) because upon seeing two humans with red heads Bob was totally floored. He didn't know which head to sit on. Caps not being my thing and Rachel always wearing one to "protect her melon from the sun" ... well Bob was always on Rachel's head whenever opportunity knocked.

He pulled her hairs out through the vent holes in the top of the hat. Bob cleaned her teeth for her after lunch. Rachel's husband was not amused! While Rachel and I were enjoying this comedy on a daily basis. Bob also enjoyed riding around on my shoulder. Sometimes I think he assumed he was a parrot. He was also housebroken. No one trained him, he just never made a mess unless he was outside or in his box. So Bob took up the past time of sitting on my shoulder after dark and watching cyberspace flip by page by page.

One night I clicked onto another page and I guess Bob wasn't quite done reading the previous site yet. He gave me the evil chicken eye with his head touching the lense of my glasses. The next thing I knew while still laughing about the chicken eye move, he pecked me right in the eyeball! I yelled and Bob took flight. I thought he blinded me for life ... everything was blurry out of that burning, tear filled eye. It took all three of us to catch him. He knew he was in trouble and he was on the run. The fugitive chicken chase lead upstairs and Bob was finally pinned down in a corner and rapidly locked in his box.

He was telling me off through the cardboard in high decibel levels. I was telling him off at equal noisiness from the outside. The brick on the top was rockin' something fierce as the argument was in progress. This is Bob being bad. The next morning, Bob sailed out the kitchen door and never looked back.

He returned to the coop, took up with Lucky and acted like he had no idea who we humans were. Lucky, being the biggest hen in the house, protected him from Elvis and the motley gang of roosters. All of this over a web page turned to quickly! It was for the best, winter was coming.

Incidentally, in a chat with a poultry judge for the county fair, I discovered the real reason Bob had taken to Rachel like he did. He did think she was a hen because of her red cap and was practicing the art of seduction. No wonder her husband was so upset about the comical yet mysterious behavior of Bob. Perhaps the male instinct could read Bob's intentions in some far off brain registration that he couldn't put his finger on.

And all you city folks think there is nothing to do way out at the corner of Nowhere and Nothing. See the kind of bizarre entertainment you miss out on beneath all those street lights? Oh yes, that is Rachel in the picture. See the surprise on her face? I caught this the first time Bob flew up on her head. She was totally floored as you can see by her expression, and most concerned about what Bob was doing perched on her melon.


Roses and Lilacs said...

I loved reading Bob's story. We country folk do have interests a little different from urbanites.

I enjoyed the shrub whacking topic too. On other forums it's amazing how many people ask "I just bought and planted a shrub yesterday. When can I prune it?" Pruning seems to be the primary function of shrubs and perennials;)

BNS said...

My sister and I had chickens when we were kids, and I'm still a big fan of chickens and chicken stories. I must say, though, we never had one quite like your Bob. Great story -- well told.