I was sitting in the farm office yesterday and heard the loudest, insistent squawking coming from the backyard. It sounded like when one of the hens lays an egg and cackles to let everyone know, but it kept going and going and going. I realized it must be coming from my new rooster, Earl, so I ran out the back door to check on the chickens.
I must admit that I've heard so many stories of jerk roosters attacking anything that moves, including their owners, I've kept my eye on him every time I've been around him. I re-homed him from a friend whose kindergarten class hatched him, and he's been home with them for a month or so, and they have five kids. He's been handled and loved since the day he came into this world, so I assumed when I agreed to take him that he was not a jerk. But you just never know with roosters. Especially ones who just came into testosterone and crowing and mating. So far, he's been a joy, but I still watch him.
The hens I have are Red Comets, and they are known to NEVER EVER go broody, so I'm not going to get any chicks out of Earl and the ladies unless I incubate them myself and then spend weeks raising them and incorporating them into the flock. That sounds like a lot of work!
So, all that being said, the way I tiptoe around him and the girls has made me second guess whether it was a good idea to get him. It has just added an extra layer of stress to my life.
Yesterday, all that changed!
When I heard him making such a racket, I ran out the back door and saw a big hawk swooping repeatedly around the barn. I grabbed a rake on my way to the barn with the intention of beating that hawk to death if it had touch one of my hens. Earl was standing in front of the barn, straight and tall, cackling like it was a matter of life or death. I guess it was. He didn't even look at me when I approached. He kept his eye on that hawk in the sky. I marched around, swinging my rake in the air, telling Earl what a great job he was doing, hoping we hadn't already lost a hen.
After the hawk flew off, I found the girls. Yes, all of them. I don't know how they instinctively know, but when Earl sounded the alarm, the girls took to their hiding places. Two were in front of the barn, hiding under a bush. Two were on the side of the barn, hiding behind a couple bales of hay. Once I coaxed them all out, Earl took them into the coop.
He's only been here a couple weeks, but has just proven that he is more-than-worthy to stay. If not for him, I definitely would have lost a hen yesterday.
Go, Earl, Go! Not all heroes wear capes!