When we moved to Wyoming, from St. Elmo, Tn., we had big dreams of starting a farm, and living a great life on the prairie. My husband grew up on a farm, and is perfectly at home around animals of any shape or size. It’s been his dream to pass that along to his kids, and get back into it, and I was all for it.
I never had pets of any kind, growing up, nor did I have any idea what all it entails. Nevertheless, I was ready to give it a go. We have had any number of pets over the years – dogs, a cat, hamsters, even a lizard. I was pretty sure I could handle bigger ones. I’ll be the first to say, I really had no understanding of farm animals.
We’ve had some horses boarding, and though my daughter and husband are perfectly comfortable around them, they make me nervous. I’ve been told one has to project an attitude of not being fearful, and they’ll be nice and calm. "Make yourself as big as you can," my daughter says. I talk to them, through the fence, but if I’m on the same side as them, and they start walking toward me, I can feel my anxiety rising. And I’m sure they can, too. What’s a girl to do, to get over that?! They look so calm and peaceful, out there in the field, but I’m telling you, when they start galloping toward you, because you’ve got a tray of grain for them, they’re a little intimidating.
We did get some chickens. We had our losses, losing a couple to the cold, we think. But as spring approached, our five remaining birds did just fine, and started laying eggs. What a fun thing, to not have to buy them and have delightfully-colored brown and blue eggs in our fridge!
The thing is, one of the chickens turned out to be a rooster. His name is Tuna, and he’s king of the roost. He wakes us up daily (sometimes far too early) with his crowing. He struts around like nobody’s business. He’s really a fine-looking chicken.
But one day, I found out he’s awfully mean.
I went to gather our eggs. This isn’t a particularly easy task, anyway, as it involves climbing up in the coop, which is three feet off the ground, and looking for eggs, wherever they’ve been deposited. Sometimes they’re in the corner, but oftentimes, they’re in crazy places in the walls of the coop.
I had them all in my hands when Tuna came in the coop, apparently none too pleased. He proceeded to peck at my leg. A bit surprised, I gently shoved him aside with my foot. I think that just made him mad, because he then pecked harder, this time with his feathers all ruffled. I kicked him a little harder, and yelled at him to go away, but he wasn’t going to have any of that. He flew around a couple times, pecking at me. This went on for a few minutes, and he wasn’t going to give in. He just got more aggressive. Every time I yelled and kicked at him, he pecked harder.
I was inside a four by six-foot chicken coop, with five eggs in my hands, and an angry rooster pecking at me. I’m a complete novice and wimp with these kinds of things. So I did what any self-respecting non-farm girl would do. I tossed the eggs on the floor of the coop, backed out, and said, “okay, FINE, you can HAVE them.”
I let my husband go gather the eggs later, and I’m contemplating having roast chicken for dinner in the next couple of days.
I just know Laura would be so ashamed of me, and that makes me kind of sad.