Growing up in rural southwestern Ontario, we always had chickens, rabbits, ducks, goats for a while and even the occassional cow. After living 10 years in downtown Toronto - the polar opposite of rural! - we finally returned to the country side with 5 1/2 acres. Country life suits me. I like knowing where my kids are when I send them out to play.
On my parent's hobby farm, we had a bantam rooster named Cunningham. Technically, Cunningham was Dad`s roo but in practice, he was mine. The only ribbon I ever won at the county fair was for "Most Unusual Pet" for Cunningham. I'm not sure where my parents found the oversized dome wire bird cage I had him in but I remember it well.
We also had Buster the Attack Rooster. He was a free range (when you can fly, what good is a fence?) red bantam who would peck at any human he didn't deem worthy to be on our property. He had a particular dislike of red polyester which my Grandmother favoured. You can imagine the conflicts that arose.
Last of my flock memories are of Gus and Gertie, Dad's pair of white geese. Gus the Guard Goose would hiss and charge anyone he hadn't seen often, limited only by the same fence that failed to contain Buster. As his family, we found this hilarious... until of course he bit my leg on my way to the hen house. In hind sight, I'm sure there's some way we can blame it on teenage me.
Soon we'll be able to build our own poultry memories - both for me and for our kids. It was a sad day when Cunningham was found in the duck pond. After 15+ years, his heart just gave out and so did mine. I know he was a happy rooster and I was a happy child.
Now it's my children's turn. With our small flock-to-be, I hope they'll learn to appreciate life and see how things really grow from egg to end. I also hope they'll develop a level of responsibility and reward seeing how our flock will need daily attention but how that same flock can give so much in return.
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