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A Chicken Hero

August 24, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first check in from the AgChat Foundation conference held grim news. Outdoor raising is a risk. Many say it’s better, some say it’s worse, some say it’s better but it’s a huge risk. In this case, Our buff Orpington rooster was dead in the pen, on his back. Peculiar, but no obvious reason. Unfortunately, sometimes there are no ‘reasons.’

Then came the loss of the Rhode Island Red rooster. This one was 3 years old, been raised here from day one. He was outside, but in a smaller area due to fighting with the other boys.  Apparently a snake came into his pen, and as territorial birds do, he attacked. Unfortunately, the snake attacked back – a young rattlesnake that also wanted territory. In this case both lost.

The commotion the rooster caused, however, alerted Connor, who killed the snake. While we try to live and let live, we cannot have hot (toxic) snakes up near the house or near the rabbits. The dogs, cats or we could have been bitten. And, unfortunately, it’s a sign there may be others around.

There’s been a section of timber about 1/4 mile away logged off, which has upset wildlife.  Connor saw a deer out front, and there’s large hawks patrolling where there wasn’t before.

Now chickens aren’t particularly intelligent animals. They live in the moment and don’t reason – if they had, life would be much longer for many.  If the red rooster had stayed still, or stepped on the snake’s head and fussed until help came perhaps he’d still be alive. But he didn’t – he charged in to attack on his own. And while we hate to lose any of the birds or animals, it is very likely his actions saved one of us from a bite.

He was a good tempered rooster or he wouldn’t have lived as long as he did.  It brings forth, again, that outdoor living is not without risk…and that risk came to call.

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