I woke up to silence this morning.
The roosters were gone and I was finally rid of them. It’s a myth that roosters only crow at dawn; my roosters would start around 3am and not stop until nightfall – and then only for a few hours. A year of crowing roosters is too much for anyone and I’d had enough. The hens had, too.
I kept three to five roosters at a time on my two-acre property and they were magnificent, feral creatures. They slept in trees, scratched all day for bugs and worms and jumped on the hens (all at once) whenever they pleased.
The roosters traumatized the hens to the point where they hid. In fact, I spotted a hen today that I hadn’t seen in weeks and which I’d assumed was dead. She strutted around and had a dust bath without the worry of five roosters descending upon her. Another hen would hide in the laundry cupboard when it all got too much for her. She became bedraggled, unable to eat and lost lots of weight.
For the sake of the hens I knew the roosters had to be culled. They just kept making more roosters.
It was sad to do this, but sadder to see hens with missing feathers desperately trying to escape the randy rooster gauntlet. A hen would appear every few weeks with six or seven chicks and at least two of them would grow into roosters that crowed day and night and fought each other. Their combs became bloodied and their feathers red.
A friend came and dispatched the roosters and I buried them beside each other. I thought how these magnificent birds were sacrificed so that the hens could lead a peaceful life. It was a poignant instruction on the nature of happiness and of how the happiness of one thing often leads to the unhappiness of another.
At least it’s quiet in the morning.