Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Little Boy Blue

...has been coming up on my back porch every day to blow his horn. 

He has come by every afternoon lately with his small band of rebel pullets (the few who won't stay inside the chicken-protecting fence.)  He has paraded himself up and down the banister, crowing victoriously, declaring the back porch to be part of his kingdom. 

They stay for about half an hour, peeking at me through the sliding glass door.  I think they are expecting treats, but I can't reward such bad behavior.

To tell the truth, Little Boy Blue very quickly outgrew his name.  He has become a very large, very masculine cockerel at only four and a half months old.

Little Boy Blue is currently on probation.  He tried to flog my 3-year-old daughter a couple weeks ago.  So far he doesn't challenge me.  I've been using these rooster training techniques by Backyard Chickens member "gritsar" and they seem to be working on him.  He is definitely intimidated in my presence.

I have not had good luck with roosters.  They have all been sent to "freezer camp" in the past.  (If you are not overly fond of chicken and dumplings, you might not want to continue reading past this point.)

First there was The Colonel.  Brahmas are supposed to be a very docile breed.  Not Colonel.  I took him to church to meet my summer Creation Club kids and that may have had something to do with his downfall.

The Colonel was also part of my very first batch of chicks.  At the time there were six other cockerels for him to deal with.  I'm sure that didn't help.

I am also embarrassed to admit that I was very afraid of this five pound bird.  He knew he had me whipped from the start.

We sent him and five of the other six cockerels to the pot and I kept the most docile and handsome fella.  His name was Slick.

Last one to the compost pile is a rotten egg!
Slick behaved himself for a very long time.  He made it all the way around to the following spring and I don't know if it was because of seasonal hormones or what, but Slick eventually turned on me too.  Now Slick had spurs by this time, so he had to go in the pot because I couldn't have him hurting my toddler.  He was a Golden Laced Wyandotte and turned out to be very meaty.

The next batch of chicks brought along another Free Mystery Rooster.  He was a Silver Spangled Hamburg and was a very flashy specimen.  I named him Speck.  All I have of Speck is a chick pic.  He didn't make it very far.

Speck was high-strung and nervous right out of the box.  (And by this time, I was clearly resolute that I would not put up with any more mean roosters.)

I've raised meaties before, dispatched spare roosters and culled old layers.  I suppose one of these days I'll have to pony up and be a real farm girl.  I think I could "do the deed", but I don't want to.  As long as my Bright and Shining Farmer is available, I leave that part to him.  Plucking, cleaning, packaging and cooking...those are all part of my job.

So now, Little Boy Blue, I am really hoping we can get you on the right track.  You're a good-looking rooster and I'm gonna give you a chance, just like I did for all the others...

I know roosters have their benefits.  I'd like to have a rooster I can live with so that I can take advantage of those pros. 
  • They are really nice to look at.
  • I love to hear them crow.
  • They look after the ladies' safety and well-being.
  • Their interactions are amusing to watch; how they strut and search out tasty nibbles for the girls, etc.
  • They keep law and order in the coop.
  • Without roosters, there would be no chicks (hatched here on the farm.)
I am going to keep these Black Stars for two years, then I am going to get either straight-run Buckeyes or Black Copper Marans and try my hand at raising my own birds with the ultimate goal of having a sustainable homestead flock.  That will require keeping a couple of roosters around and being able to live in peace with them!

My little girl loves her chickens.  She loves to pick them up and cuddle them.  She loves to gather the eggs and toss them their winter scratch.  Ultimately, I want to be sure that she can enjoy her chickens.


  1. Awwww... I have similar memories of my roosters but I never had one turn on me, maybe because they've all been bantams. I do have some reds maturing though so they are making me a little nervous. I tend to butcher the roosters once they start picking on the babies. This time around though I don't have babies so we'll see....

    I totally get the letting the man butcher though! Thats the same rule in our household. I will watch SOMETIMES but not my favorite guys. Though this Sunday I'm not entirely sure if I'll be able to help let alone watch, my turkeys. :( Oh well, thats what I wanted when I wanted the "farm experience".

  2. Little Boy Blue is a really cool looking rooster.

  3. Is he a splash andalusian? He certainly is a looker! I wish we could have a rooster here but I am afraid that would be asking too much of the neighbors.

  4. He's a bit thin, Amanda. You should fatten him up a bit before y'all, um, whack him.

    Love the new digs here at blogger.

  5. The folks at BYC seemed to think he was a blue splash andalusian too. That's half the fun of getting a "mystery" rooster, guessing what he is! :D