Monday, May 26, 2008
Death and the Dominikers
A dead Dominker rooster in the back yard yesterday morning. Looks like he was killed by a few strokes to the neck with a fairly dull tool , so it was either done by the other roosters, or by a hateful little man with a tiny machete. Not me. I have a normal machete, but when I kill a chicken, I do it by hand, with a flick of the wrist.
I informed Davey, and he put the bird out on the range for the vultures. Yesterday he paid nine dollars for a barbecued chicken from the fire department. That is a lot to pay, but he says its for protection and that he can't afford his own chickens. This is a person with a B.A. in philosophy .
The dead Dominiker was one of two banished roosters. One lost his tail and all his confidence when he was carried off in the mouth of the neighbor's dog.
He showed up back here the next day. but the others wouldn't accept him without his tail.
He went under the house, and had not come out since, until the lowest ranking rooster of the uptown, outside bunch chased him out yesterday. I thought it might be just as well at the time that he be outed.
The second outcast Dominiker was plucked of his tail feathers and driven out of the chicken house by his roost mates a few months ago.. He hung back by the lower pond where the pheasant couple are nesting. . I would go out there with corn for him and the pheasants and he always came out talking to me. But now that I have let the hens out some, he had been closing in on the hen house. Yesterday there was no sight or sound of either bird.
Usually the pheasant cock is out there crowing and beating his wings in response to the roosters, but today there is no sound of him either, nor of the mallard pair.
Also Deerdra the dog has been holed up under the house where the traumatized Dominker had been staying. No need to look at chicken entrails or the weather map to see that the critters are expecting thunderstorms.
Too bad about the low status of Dominikers. After the South American Aracunas, they are the original American chickens and they do well on the range, despite the boggle of weasels who live here and the coyotes who are always sneaking around intimidating the dogs with their huge furry scat piles. The worst enemy of roosters is all other roosters, especially roosters of a different feather. There is one Dominker cock left in the lower flock and also two Dominiker hens, both of them up here in the Ark for their own protection, and because I like their company even if I don't need the warmth any more. They are the best smelling hens. Like bread in the oven.
Roosters can smell a hen as far away as they can sense a thunder storm, and they won't be ranging far until later on when the hens are out and around. At this time of year the roosters are so horny that they watch me like hawks to see when I am going to the hen house. They mob the door before the hens can get out, and if I let them in, the hens won't come off their perches. They were o.k. together until the hens retired for the winter and I had to separate them. Now they are like fundamentalist adolescents who all want the same thirty virgins, here and now.
Standing at the door with the hose turned on them, I can keep the cocks back ten or fifteen yards so the hens can graze between the hen house and their pond.....not much range......but it is increasing.
One of the Dominiker hens I am keeping in the Ark has gone broody and won't come off her nest, gets all bristly when I suggest it....but the eggs under her are not fertile. Her sister Olive, who is lame, asks to get out and will sometimes hop out on her own if I leave the roof up a bit, and she even offers herself to a rooster or two, but this brings on all the roosters, even the ones from down below, so I carry her through the orchard and on down the hedge row beyond the range of the roosters and sit down near a pheasant wallow, where she dusts her feathers then grazes around with the dogs, while I play the harmonica, or chew on grass myself. Not both, because I have screwed up too many harmonicas getting food in the reeds. Olive and the dogs both eat grass, but the dogs don't eat bugs and worms like she does. It is not true that dogs eat grass only if they are sick. It's part of a healthy diet, and sometimes bugs to but not worms. I don't see why, as the dogs are certainly carnivors and, if you haven't tried bugs or worms, they are are very good food, al dente or not.
Incidentally both the chickens and the dogs love spaghetti, though i don't know that it does them much good. Its the vermicelli effect I guess, but strangely enough you can't force it on the bass in Davey's ponds. They spit out the spaghetti like a lady spiting a worm and won't be fooled again. There is probably some accounting for taste, but don't ask me. Nutritional value might have something to do with it sometimes.
The hens love clover, particularly the white sweet clover which is a foot and a half high now and will be six feet high when it flowers. Seeing as the hens get out so little yet, I harvest it to scatter in the hen house. The plants are still quite tender. It makes their egg yolks almost orange. Davey contributes grated carrots.
Too bad about the murdered Dominiker, but this morning I heard a crowing from under the house and went to see that the rooster from down under has again been saved from the jaws of death.
Now there are twelve hens and fifteen roosters. Still too many roosters. Iit might be just as well if a bunch of them marched off to see the world and fight the war against the foreign invading coyotes. But the coyotes here, except for being creepy and scaring the shit out of the dogs, have been well behaved so far. That isn't to be expected, seeing as they have been snatching children in California