Monday, August 09, 2010

Chicken Squint

As the Chicks of Eegeebeegee mature this summer, the Colonel's projected hen herd is turning out to be a lot less hen and a lot more heard than expected. The fool-proof hen chick-choosing method with which the mouth-breathing temp help at Tractor Supply assisted the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda with her peeper pickin' has been called into serious question by the obvious fact that the fledgling flock is demonstrating a decidedly roosterly majority.

The Colonel is considering holding an ad hoc session of the Tallahatchie Free State People's Congress in order to investigate how such a calamity could befall our new nation. The CBO (Congressional Biddy Office) egg-surplus projections have been revised downward dramatically. Seems the initial projections were made with a much too optimistic estimate of the rooster to hen ratio. Subpoenas have been issued and heads will roll...quite literally.

Three months ago, the Colonel and his clan were convinced that we would need to consider buying a rooster to augment our hen herd. We were (pardon the pun) "cock-sure" we had all hens. A month or so ago, one of our "girls" started going through what can only be described as "poultry puberty" and began demonstrating some very unlady-like actions; to include, but certainly not limited too, incessant crowing.

Fine. No need to procure a rooster, now.

Over the next couple of weeks the hen house pubescence reached pandemic proportions. The Colonel began to have serious doubts as to whether there was even one hen in the house. At this posting, the score is four roosters, two hens, and one unknown.

The first rooster to crow his credentials has rapidly become the Colonel's favorite...and the Colonel seems to be his favorite, as well. In the margin next to the word "quirky" in Eegeebeegee's on-line animal encyclopedia, Faunapedia (' is a picture of the bird the Colonel has named "Smedley." The crazy bird's right eye is turned 90 degrees and blinks vertically. The Colonel kids you not.

"Why Smedley," you ask?

Well -- and this is a) the point at which two or three of the five of you dear readers who regularly waste valuable rod and cone time perusing posts hereon become disabused of the notion that continuing to read this electronic drivel will produce any appreciable value; and, b) the point at which members of the Colonel's clan perceive rightly that a combined vocabulary/geography/history lesson is about to emanate volubly from the Colonel's grits grinder, and run screaming from the room -- when that cock-eyed rooster looks the Colonel in the eye, the man curmudgeoned before his time is reminded of the descriptive phrase "gimlet eye." One of the Colonel's historical military heroes--Major General Smedley Butler, USMC--was nicknamed "Ol' Gimlet Eye" for the piercing look in his eye.

So, the Colonel named his favorite rooster for General Butler. Pretty sure the General won't mind--he's been worm-food since 1940.

When the Colonel approaches the pen each morning, and calls "Chick, chick, chick, chick, chick," Smedley is the first to answer with a combination of clucks, growls, and fluffed-feather displays. When the door to the pen is open, the other chickens sprint for favorite bug-huntin' spots. Smedley does a dance at the Colonel's feet and waits to be picked up.

The Colonel is quite sure there are few things more incongruously unsettling and sad than the sight of a warrior gone to seed clucking and baby-talking to a cockeyed rooster tucked under his arm.
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