The Rooster Chronicles
My love affair with chickens continues...
As I got back to my little cabin in Costa Rica, I immediately went to visit my chickens who have been taken care of, in my absence, by my wonderful Tico neighbors.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Lee and Moody's babies had almost all survived to adulthood-only one was eaten by a wild animal. My chicken caretakers let the chickens roam free during the day. They head off into their cages at night on their own. Some of my other chickens, that are being taken care of by other neighbors, sleep in the trees at night.
My deal with my neighbors that I give chickens to is that they don't kill them. I pay for any extra feed they give them and they can eat the eggs. So far, I have about 10 chickens spread out amongst 3 families, but the chicken family is growing. This is my little way of giving at least some chickens a decent lifespan with excellent quality. My chickens get to live free and hopefully will live out their natural lifespan. My neighbors are also happy with the situation because they get good quality eggs. I wish I could convince them not to eat the eggs because they are horrible for one's health, but they would buy even worse quality ones from the store anyway, so there's no point in trying to stop them.
Back to Lee and Moody's babies, which are in fact, mostly only Moody's babies because Lee's eggs were eaten by a snake last year. It was a tragic thing to watch as the eggs kept disappearing right from underneath her. I had no clue what was going on with the eggs until I finally spotted the big black mica snake just above Lee's nest in the shed. The snake would slither down and steal the eggs right from underneath her, until finally all were gone before I realized what was happening. My neighbor gave me 7 eggs from different hens that were mostly fathered by Moody to replace in Lee's desolate nest. I replaced the eggs quickly because Lee had worked so hard. The eggs were almost to term. A chicken sits on her eggs night and day for 21 days and only comes out to eat a little, once a day. You should have seen her sorrow when all her eggs disappeared, her cries gave me goosebumps. Lee took to her adopted eggs easily and she did an amazing job of raising her adopted family, after I made the shed snake proof. It was beautiful to watch both Lee and Moody parent their babies. Both were so tender and gentle with them, yet fierce at protecting them.
The batch has grown into beautiful chickens, but there's one problem. Three of the babies are roosters-two of which are spitting images of their father Moody! Adult roosters will not tolerate other roosters around their harem of hens. Thus begins the rooster chronicles.
I managed to find another home for one of the roosters, but two are left. Moody, my original Costa Rica rooster, is a proud, macho, fierce father and harem leader. Today, I witnessed an example of his fierceness. Tiki the family's dog followed me up to the chickens' cages as I let them out for the day. As soon as I let Moody out of his cage he jumped on Tiki and chased him away from his family! The dog whimpered off and didn't return.
Only one of the other roosters gets into trouble with Moody, he happens to be Nutty the little chick I hand raised with his sister Fruity. Fruity and Nutty are still very tame and will easily let me pick them up and pet them. Nutty has reached adulthood-he has started to sing, so Moody feels threatened by him. Moody, who is older, bigger and more experienced, chases him away from the hens. Nutty often has to forage on his own, although Fruity often joins him because they were raised together apart from Lee's other babies. They truly care for each other.
Today, Nutty got into trouble with Moody again. As I let Fruity out of the cage, Moody did his chicken dance around her (the chicken dance is the funniest thing to watch) and then mounted her. This is the usual chicken foreplay-the sex seems even less appealing because it barely lasts a few seconds! Fruity was not in the mood to be mounted so she protested. Nutty came running to the rescue of his sister, forgot about his fear of Moody, and jumped on Moody's back! Moody was in too compromised a position to fight back. Nutty managed to run off before Moody got his wits back. The whole event had me in stitches!
1)Lee (far left) with her beautiful adopted family.
2)Fruity and I, not likely Moody's offspring because of her colors.
3)Nutty and I, Moody's young & inexperienced but equally fierce son.
4)Moody, my fierce, macho rooster.