Gentleman Farmer – Part Three

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Gentleman Farmer – Part Three

Dec 16, 2022

Moe Part One

During my daily routine with the chickens, I started to notice how aggressive and downright mean the roosters can be, not only with the hens but with each other. I became increasingly concerned as I watched The Draper Dream Girls lose more and more feathers. Some looked raw around the neck and on their backs. The roosters were constantly fighting, whether about the hens, water, or food. I pondered about removing them. I thought the purpose of a rooster is to fertilize the eggs and to protect the hens by sounding off if a predator approaches. Since I wasn’t interested in hatching baby chicks, having fertilized eggs was not an issue. And my two large guinea fowls who roost with the hens, create a crazy screaming ruckus anytime they sense danger. So, I decided to remove the roosters from the coop and move them in with the goats. The day came and I removed Curly, Moe, and Larry. I had no idea if roosters and goats would cohabitate peacefully, but I figured with half an acre there was plenty of room for everyone to stay out of each other’s way.

The goats were curious as they kept flushing the roosters and scurrying them around the yard. I wanted the transition to be as smooth as possible, so I lured the goats from agitating the roosters with fresh collard greens. From that day forward the goats never paid much attention to the roosters. Curly, Moe, and Larry were perfectly content inspecting every inch of the yard, always within a few feet of each other. There was no fighting or even posturing. It seemed that the absence of the girls helped the new bachelors to relax. The roosters started hanging out with the goats and even sunbathed together. I was happy and all was well.

Until, one day, as I entered the yard and turned to lock the gate, I felt feathers hitting my jeans. When I turned around Moe was jumping at me flapping his wings frantically. His body was almost at a 90-degree angle, and he had his spurs pointing at my legs. I had no idea that Moe’s breed, Rhode Island Reds, were naturally aggressive. I stood for just a second in stunned silence. How had my Moe suddenly turned into “Cujo the rabid Cock?” I faced him, stood tall waving my arms and screaming, “Moe” over and over again. I thought, “this is one crazy cock,” and turned towards the gate, but he kept coming at me.  I fumbled with the gate latch, busted my hand, stepped through the fence, and slammed it in Moe’s face. I was flabbergasted as I stared at Moe. He gave me a cocksure glance, turned, and strutted away. All I could think of was the little kids who came to visit Fred, the goat. Something had to be done.

As I solicited advice about how to handle Moe, every single person had a flogging horror story that did not end well, either for the rooster or for the victim. The most common response was “shoot him” followed by make rooster stew. I kept seeking answers. There had to be a better solution for Moe. But I kept getting disappointed. One day I noticed that Curly and Larry always stepped aside when Moe walked up to the food or water. Moe had established himself as the Alpha rooster and no longer had to fight. I also noticed that Curly and Larry never crowed until Moe broke the day. So how was I going to teach Moe that I was the alpha? I wondered if I started mimicking his crowing, would he understand? I spent about 15 minutes a day for two weeks practicing my crowing. At first, I was self-conscious and felt ridiculous, but I was committed to this plan. Eventually Curly, Moe, and Larry started answering me back no matter what time of day it was. During those two weeks, every time I entered the yard I crowed. As I became more cocky with my crowing I also became more confident my plan would work.

After the two weeks I had accomplished the first part of my Moe plan. I was now ready to confront Moe. I carried a wide corn broom with me into the yard. I looked at Moe, glanced down at his large spurs, and for a moment didn’t feel real Alpha. I took a deep breath, got down in Moe’s face and crowed as hard as I could. He looked at me with an expression that said, “game on.”  He charged me, ruffled up his feathers, and leaped to flog me. He missed.  I backed up, took the broom, and hit him like a hockey puck. He flew a few feet off the ground.  I bent over slightly and crowed right in his face. When he landed, I crowed again, then one more time. He stood still for a few moments, looked at me, then turned and walked away. I imagined Moe saying, “that is one crazy as hell human.” I continue to crow every time I enter the yard. Moe has never acted aggressive again. I am happy my hunch payed off and Moe is still hanging out with Curly and Larry. It would be bittersweet if I had to resort to Moe’s demise. I would at least go to and type in Coq au vin because the authentic French recipe calls for rooster.

Written by:

Brian Gardner, Healing Arts Director

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