The Rooster’s Spur

When I was a small girl, my Papa Nixon owned a few chickens. Their pen was attached to his dmv handicap parking permit workshop. While I had no business messing around with the chickens, I did so frequently and they often escaped their enclosure as a result. It wasn’t long before Papa decided to get rid of his flock altogether.

As I grew older I began to spend a great deal of my time with the Brooks family in my hometown and my love affair with chickens was renewed. Archie Brooks, was raising his children to know the value of self-reliance and an appreciation for the simple farm life. I adored helping with their little brood of gentle laying hens.

When I married, I was fortunate enough to find myself a farm-boy of my own, one that had grown up in the country and knew chickens from beak to feet. So, we kept our own little flock for many years.

Anyone that has ever owned chickens can tell you that the blessing of fresh eggs does come with its challenges. From protecting the chickens from predators, to protecting them from disease and each other, a poultry owner must be vigilant. Too, there is the occasional 10 foot tall and bullet proof rooster that is willing to pit his 12 pound, 2 foot tall body against that of a full grown man or woman. Many times I have been spurred when accidentally turning my back on the wrong rooster.

One such rooster and I battled often. He got to where he was brave enough to flog me even when I was facing him. I carried a rake into the pen to shield myself from his attacks at feeding time. The one time that I did take a swing at him and actually made contact, I became sick to my stomach with guilt at hitting the little guy, and decided I needed to disarm him in order to disarm myself.

Now this rooster had uncut spurs. He was a Rhode Island Red with large legs with long, sharp spurs. They were so long, in fact, that they affected how he walked. Try to picture this with me. To avoid scratching one leg with the spur from the opposite leg, the rooster had taken to walking with a sort of bicycle peddling type step. He would slid one foot backwards, then up, then forward and down and then repeat with the other foot. It had to be tiring and somewhat clumsy for him. It slowed him down and kept him from running. He looked awkward and comical.

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