by Nancy Rundel
Greetings poultry fans! I’ve been asked to share a few feathered experiences with you all via this blog. So, that’s what I’ll try to do with the help of my husband, Tom, who is a third generation chicken lover.
Chickens have long been a part of my life, which gives me several areas of fodder to discuss. My dad managed a commercial poultry farm when I was in middle school and high school — a very enlightening experience for his children, who were able to live the industry firsthand.
When our family moved to our home in the country near Green, Kan., my brother decided to have chickens of his own. So, he purchased a few hens and a rooster named Floyd.
Let’s just say Floyd added new meaning to my life. I’ll fill you in on that later.
When I married my husband, I became part of a poultry-loving family. My mother-in-law has an amazing gift for raising everything from chickens to peacocks and continues to teach my husband and me all about the little things that make a bird happy.
Several years ago, we moved our own family to a home in the country near the tiny, unincorporated burg of Levant, Kan. This allowed us to enjoy our 4-H livestock on our own farmstead. Along with 4-H steers came horses and, of course, chickens. Thus began our personal journey with poultry.
Let’s get back to Floyd. Floyd was no ordinary fowl. He was instead a cantankerous, curmudgeon of a bird, whose favorite past time was the sneak attack! Picture a barefoot, sixteen-year-old girl in her summertime shorts, hanging up laundry for her mother on a bright, clear day.
Now picture all hell breaking loose as she begins screaming and running for the house. Yep – that’s what would happen when Floyd would attack.
That giant, white rooster would come thudding across the yard and slam into my legs while beating me with his wings. Let’s just say I eventually learned the stop, drop and run drill whenever I heard the thudding of his approach. (I’d stop hanging up laundry, drop the basket and run for the house!)
Now, one might expect that we hated Floyd for his antics. In fact, we all liked him a great deal, because — if nothing else — he had character.
One winter Floyd became ill with pneumonia. My brother just couldn’t let him die, so we took Floyd to our uncle, who was a veterinarian. Floyd received shots of antibiotics, and we got more antibiotics to take home. Uncle Orvial told us to try to keep him warm. Well, to my brother and me, warm meant Floyd needed to move in.
Our mother begrudgingly agreed to let us put Floyd in a big cardboard box in the basement. So, for the next few weeks Floyd became an indoor chicken. However, we knew it was time for Floyd to move out when he began waking us at the crack of dawn (if not earlier) with his daily cock-a-doodle-doooo.
Floyd lived a long life for a chicken and enjoyed his run of the farmstead once again. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as grateful as I’d hoped. He continued his sneak attacks, and I continued to stop, drop and run for the house.
The lesson to be learned from Floyd? Never turn your back on a rowdy rooster that’s prone to sudden assaults. Usually, if you give the bird in question a wide berth and keep your eye on him, these sneak attacks can be reduced. But, when all else fails, carry a broom to sweep aside the occassional ambush.