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    What to Look For in a Rooster

    October 7, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    I don’t know anyone who keeps a rooster. Once, during a field trip with our church’s {now-defunct} homeschool group, I met a woman whose children raised chickens for 4-H. We spent a long time discussing the difference between chickens raised for meat, chickens raised for eggs, and even chickens raised for show. But the family’s two roosters were boarded somewhere out of town due to zoning regulations.

    And I get it. Roosters are especially noisy in cities because the streetlights confuse them, making them think that the day never ends.

    I am generally interested in all things chicken, though we’ve decided to go with ducks for many reasons that I won’t discuss today.

    Even though I’m not planning on buying a rooster anytime soon,I must admit I was fascinated with Barbara Kingsolver’s discussion of what qualities make a rooster a good one:

    A mature, skillful rooster takes his job seriously as protector of the flock, using different vocal calls to alert his hens to food, aerial predators, or dangers on the ground. He leads his wives into the coop every evening at dusk. Lacking a proper coop, he’ll coax them up onto a tree branch or other safe nighttime roost {hence, his name}…[A] flock of free-range hens behaves very differently without a rooster: scattered, vulnerable, a witless wandering of lost souls.

    Kingsolver goes on to describe the best rooster her family ever owned, named Mr. Doodle:

    He had a keen eye for safety and a heart for justice. I saved caterpillars I pulled off my garden so I could throw them into the chicken yard and watch Mr. Doodle run to snatch up each one, cock his head in judgment, and dole one out to each of the six hens in turn before he started the next round. Any number of caterpillars not evenly divisible by six would set him into angst; he hated to play favorites.

    I marvel at the creativity of God, and I often think that some creatures really were created for our entertainment, in addition to providing for our sustenance.

    Other Posts Concerning Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:

    Economics as a Form of Community
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Quote Selection One
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Quote Selection Two
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Final Review

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  • Reply Brandy October 9, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Yay ducks! When the boys are older, they can pet them together and practice their own waddling. 🙂

    One of the appeals of ducks was that they won’t disturb the neighborhood so much. Or at least that is what we’ve been told. If it isn’t true, I might be dropping some ducks off at that pond near your house! 🙂

  • Reply Dominic and Kimberly October 8, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    We lived near roosters once. Make sure you, and your nieghbors, are ready to wake up at dawn! That’s what I remeber most about them. I’ve heard great things about ducks for my preschool teaching days.

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