5 Things I’ve learned from My Rooster
All record of the year 2012 should be wiped off the charts…or it would if it were me. This year was just …horrible. My sons went off to college…leaving me an empty nester, my husband filed for div...orce and I lost my job….all within 6 months. I was left empty…utterly defeated and very scared. How would I survive? Eat? Live? I managed to crawl out of my misery hole and find an apartment to live in. I managed to pay the rent by working two part-time jobs until I could find a wonderful position that I absolutely love. I re-connected with my friends and family who had so oftentimes been shoved aside while I spent time with my sons and spouse. I started finding myself again.
I learned a lot about myself and the lessons I learned were taught…by a Rooster.
1. It’s alright to procrastinate…sometimes….
I had ordered 20 eggs from my favorite hatchery in early June of 2012. I have always been fascinated with the whole incubation process and love watching the eggs hatch, so I was excited to have these in my small apartment. I had just put an offer on five acres of land and would soon have the keys to my dream hobby farm in my hands. What better way to start than to move in with 20 baby chicks!! Right? Only one small problem…nothing hatched. What in the world had gone wrong? Was it the eggs, the incubator…me??
I was sad but determined. I got busy with packing and just left the incubator plugged in. It wasn’t a conscious thought…I just didn’t unplug it. The weekend flew by and I started a new job…not sparing a thought about the eggs (they didn’t stink and they weren’t in the way). Another four days went by and the official closing on my new property happened on a Friday morning. As I drove back to my apartment with a silly grin and dreams running through my head, I was completely engrossed in what all had to be moved tonight to my new place!! I opened the door and greeted my dogs and cat, telling them that we were finally moving to our farm….only to hear strange noises coming from the corner. I warily stepped over to the incubator and saw ….it. A black blob that was struggling to stand…what in the world??
It looked like a…Drumstick! Drumstick stayed in the incubator until he dried out…and he soon took his first car ride out to the new farm. Thus began our journey of him teaching me about the world. It is alright to procrastinate for a week…sometimes…
2. Always look good and never be afraid to meet new people.
As Drumstick grew and ate…he developed a major personality. I quickly ordered some girlfriends to join him but didn’t dare put him in the same pen with them as he was twice their size and wanted to peck everything. One evening I was cleaning out their pens and noticed him standing next to their pen, as tall as his little frame would stretch. He was pacing back and forth, stopping occasionally to flap his little wings and then strutting again. The ‘girls next door’ were watching him and making cooing noises.
I watched the interchange for a bit and then reached in and moved him over with the girls. After a few minutes, they managed to work up the nerve to come over and chat with the handsome guy from next door. Within minutes they had decided the cute guy could move in and they all snuggled together under the heat lamp.
Drumstick taught me to always look good, strut my stuff and impress the people around me. You never know when you might catch someone’s attention.
3. Keep Trying
As Drumstick matured, he started making these weird croaking noises. Took me a bit to realize, he was trying to crow. I would giggle as I watched his little body shake from the force of trying to make a majestic announcement and it would come out as a croak. The girls didn’t seem to mind and would encourage him with their coos and attention.
By this time, they were all in a run out in the yard and he was definitely the master of his domain. Each day, he would wake and make an attempt at welcoming the morning sun….to be disappointed. I would heave a sigh and tell him ‘good try’ and he would seem to huff and walk off.
One day, I was experiencing my own disappointment over a professional situation and went outside to sit by the creek with my dogs. I just listened to the frogs, the creek and the quiet cooing of the hens and reflected on my bitterness. Then all of sudden, Drumstick let go of a marvelous crow that made me, the dogs and the hens jump. He was standing on top of the coop and just let the world know that he was there. I laughed and told him “Great One”…he fluffed his feathers, gurgled from the strain of finally getting it right and strutted off to flirt with his girls. I went inside that day, knowing that tomorrow…Drumstick would get to greet the sun and I would be able to face my challenge.
4. Letting go is alright.
Drumstick was obviously the boss of the coop, the yard and all that he surveyed. If you doubted it, he would correct you immediately. He favored one little hen and made sure each night that she was nested right next to him. I enjoyed watching him fuss over all the girls, ducks, dogs, cats and anything else that wandered into my yard. Then I found his girl…dead.
She was just lying there and I’m still unsure why she died. I picked her up and he proceeded to walk quietly behind me as I dug a grave and put her in it. That night he just quietly went into the coop and roosted but you could tell he wandered where she was.
The next day, he was out in the yard and fussing over the girls when he dashed over to the grave and stood over it…letting go off a huge crow that shook his entire body. It was his way of saying ‘goodbye’. He then proceeded to herd his girls off to another ‘hunting spot’. He never returned to the grave as far as I know. Drumstick taught me that letting go is alright.
5. Never to give up
As Drumstick is a full adult rooster now…and very protective, he has gotten aggressive to interlopers…including me. Every morning, we do the same ritual. I bring the food and water to his pen, grab a rake and enter the pen. I then open the door to the coop to let everyone out…with the rake handy because every morning, he tries to spur me and I push him out of the way with the rake.
I then walk around the edge of the coop to open the side doors and he rushes into it. Not at a slow speed but rather hits those doors with a lot of force. I learned to just leave it locked until he was done with his rush. I then collect the eggs, open the doors and bid adieu to everyone for the day …but just as I get to the gate, he rushes me again. He knows he is going to meet the rake again but he does it anyway. This is every single day. Without fail. For months. But he never gives up and one day, he will catch me unawares or sleepy headed and achieve his pursuit of letting me have it for daring to invade his place. Never give up…you never know…you might actually accomplish your dreams!
Drumstick is a beautiful, almost-one-year-old now. He has a harem of 4 hens and 2 ducks that he fusses over. He makes everyone come in at night and he sleeps in the doorway of the coop, guarding his little piece of the world.
My little farm just welcomed more little fluffy chicks and ducks that will eventually join Drumstick’s world. I’m not sure how he will welcome them…or not welcome them yet. But I’m sure when I try to introduce them, Drumstick will teach me more lessons and I will learn from him.
I hope he stays around for a while and continues with the lessons. It’s been good for my soul and I enjoy his teaching methods….but I will always keep the rake handy.