Resident Rooster Adds Flare to the Farm
Even with the acres to spread his wings, our family farm’s rooster usually stays within 100 yards of the farmhouse. He takes shelter in the thick evergreen wind break and spends daytime hours near the garden. He dines on grain and, before the frost, the extra tomatoes from Mom’s wildly abundant straw bale garden. Fallen fruit under the apple tree proves a treat.
The handsome barred rock proudly crows on occasion. He struts to the front of the farmhouse to greet the kids when they get off the bus. And by night, he settles on the front porch, where he perches atop an old wrought iron chair at the front window.
Now, let’s rewind and chill this heart-warming story. This happy rooster once lived five miles away in our hen house and chicken yard, seemingly disgruntled. Soon after his glory days at the county 4-H show, the blue-ribbon cockerel began to beak-dive at my rubber boots. He took a flapping assault at my husband. And the feathered foe frequently chased the kids (or so they thought) from the hen house. Soon enough, our son wouldn’t gather the eggs and our daughter only would with a fly swatter.
I dreaded the sole responsibility of daily egg and feed chores. With this rooster’s 4-H days over, we pondered plans for the problem bird. We wanted eggs. No chicks. So, while he looked majestic, the rooster served no important role with the flock of our daughter’s eight 4-H hens. I also held no interest in the prep and drama of butchering a single chicken. I realize Grandma used to butcher one chicken before church for fresh, fried chicken at Sunday dinner. I love home-made and home-grown; just check my freezer and pantry. But I’d rather scrub the shower thrice-over, even if it ranks my least favorite household chore.
Therefore, I took action when my parents mentioned that the rooster might add some flare to the farmyard. I loaded him into our chicken carrier and hauled him to our family’s main farmstead. He turned friendly and fun. He doesn’t chase or peck at anything other than food. Visitors notice him, enjoy him and share rooster stories of their own.
I’ve heard about my uncle’s beloved rooster “Kingfish” during childhood. Our farm’s plumber told the tale of the old rooster that chased his whole family to the car. The routine pest control man has complimented our rooster’s showy black and white plumage and friendly demeanor. Our guys here at the farm found it interesting that the rooster strutted into the shop and perched nearby during equipment maintenance.
On a rare rainy night during this fall’s warm, dry harvest, we dined as a family at the farmhouse table. The rooster watched us from the window before tucking his head for the night. He “attended” my dad’s birthday supper. And we expect him to join us again at the window for supper on Christmas Eve.
May special moments also fill your holiday celebrations and heart-warming stories consume your table talk this season. Merry Christmas.
About the Author
Joanie Stiers, a wife and mother of two young kids, writes from home and works on her family’s farm in West-Central Illinois.