When we were children, mother regularly purchased a hundred baby chicks from mail order. They were brought by the mail man in a box that was divided into 4 sections with 25 baby chicks in each section. She ordered pullets. For those of you who don't know, pullets are girl chicks. Selecting the sex of a baby chick is more art than science. That means than in every batch of a hundred baby chicks there was a possibility that one or two of them would be roosters. This is a story about one of those roosters.
We, of course, couldn’t tell what they were until they got older. Eventually, this one chick was taller, had different feathers and also had a large dose of attitude. As he reached the age of teenager in chicken age, his hormones kicked in and he was pretty sure that he was the greatest thing in the barn yard. When we went into the barn, he would make a run at us with his wings outstretched hoping that this gesture would be sufficient to maintain his dominance.
My brother, Paul, and I decided that his fragile ego needed reinforcement. So, whenever this rooster came charging at us, we would scream and run to the end of the barn away from him. This did wonders for his sense of wellbeing.
When we had to be in the barn for some work, we ignored the rooster and he more or less ignored us, as well. However, when he saw mother or one of our sisters come into the barn, he recognized that they were just like pullets and needed to aggressively chase them from the barn. He found out that when he chased our sisters, they screamed and ran away. So far, he had a pretty good understanding of the way of the world. Roosters flared their wings and the world fled screaming away.
Mother mentioned this to Dad. Dad didn’t know what the problem was. Mother said that the rooster was preventing her and the girls from going into the barn.
Dad had no personal knowledge of this behavior by the rooster so he was hard pressed to do anything about it.
One day, on a Sunday, before going to mass, dad went into the barn to drop down some hay from the haymow. As he was going up the stairs, he opened the door into the haymow which opened above the stairs. Imagine a door laying on the floor and as you went up the stairs, you pushed up the door and used the stick that was there to hold the door open.
The rooster decided that this person seemed to be unafraid so it was time to take direct action. Direct action to a young rooster is to use the little spurs that nature put on the inside of his legs and attacked dad’s leg. It was somewhat effective. Dad noticed. Dad also still had the stick in his hand that was supposed to hold up the door. It was quickly converted to a weapon to ward off an attacking rooster.
The rooster never woke up.
Dad told mother that he had killed the rooster. Mother was glad and there was rejoicing between the sisters all the way to church. Dad said “I hope I didn’t kill it.” “Why my mother asked?” Dad said, “Because I would like to kill it again.”