Sunday, July 27, 2008
Bird Brain Violence
The summer is flying by and many of the live-in volunteers are moving out to go back to school. To celebrate their time on the farm we had a giant farm dinner party and Chris cooked the last frozen turkey raised on the farm last season. The party was a great celebration with an enormous spread of local food. As the party was winding down Darren, one of the live-in volunteers, decided we needed to organize a game for a little after dinner entertainment. He is a very smart guy (taking a year off before moving onto med school to become a brain surgeon) and suggested we play a game of tape ball where all of the participants knock around a roll of duct tape with brooms, sticks and other blunt objects. Unfortunately, we ended up hitting each other more than we did the duct tape. Against my better judgement, I participated in the game and am now nursing some pretty intense cuts and bruises.
In addition to the friendly game of tape ball, there were a couple other violent situations that arose this week involving the roosters. I have grown pretty confident dealing with the chickens over the past few weeks, but earlier in the week I was attacked by a rooster. I was explaining to my friend Luke, who was visiting us on the farm for a couple days, how to wrangle a chicken. As I was standing there holding the chicken, the rooster came in out of no where and started to charge me. If you are not very familiar with roosters, they have a fairly large, menacing spike on the back of their leg and they can draw a fair amount of blood with their beak. I have heard a few stories about people being attacked by the roosters, and here are a few methods to avoid being injured by a rooster starting with non-violent approaches:
1. Run away
2. Bring an umbrella to open and close to startle the rooster and get it to go away
3. Move your feet around to distract the rooster, then grab it by it's feet and carry it around upside-down for a while to show it who's boss
4. Put one foot up in the air to hypnotize the rooster
1. Drop kick the rooster like it's a football
So, as the rooster approached, I put my foot up into the air hoping it would cause the rooster to fall into a non-violent trace-like state. Unfortunately, it did not work and I had to drop kick the thing.
I didn't really notice the roosters very much until this happened. Several people here on the farm just want to go ahead and butcher the roosters because they are violent and they serve no purpose. We don't want to have any fertilized eggs and all they do is attack people - so why not just eat them? I'll grant them - they are very pretty to look at with all their flashy feathers and what would the farm be without the typical cock-a-doodle-do every morning? But...I am beginning to think dispatching them is a good idea because today I was attacked again, and this time I was double teamed.
I made the mistake of opening the chicken coops up before feeding and watering all the chickens. So, all the chickens and roosters were roaming about as I was going about my chicken chores. As I was getting some feed out of the feed bucket a rooster approached me with a wily look in his eye. I was ready for him and was using the lid of the garbage can we use to store the food as a shield as I lifted my leg to kick if necessary. But to my surprise, another rooster was behind me. Before I could do anything, the rooster had flown into me from behind and cut me on the back of my leg. Fleeing was the only option and I made my way safely over to the water hose and used that to fend of the next couple of attacks.
I think it's about time for some chicken noodle soup.