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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Laddie came Home

Well actually, his name is Prince.
And he's a rooster.
And now I'm sure you want the whole long story.

  A few days ago, a neighbor comes by. We have never met this neighbor before,  but know where he lives, through the woods and over the creek as the crow flies, and down the road and around the corner as the car travels. He wants to know if we have a big brown dog with no hair.
We tell him we have a beagle. <who, by they way, is only big compared to other beagles, tri-color with flashy markings, and does, in fact, have hair>
That's him, the fellow tells us, and then tells us our dog killed his rooster.

I have no doubt that our beagle trespassed. We have permission for him to run rabbits on the property between us and this neighbor and if the rabbits don't respect a fence, neither does the hound hot on their tail. Having said that, it's a lot of ground and we had no idea Scooter wasn't still on it, as you can't always see the rabbitdog, that's why they bay, so you can hear them and know about where they are. If we had known he was that close to this fellow's property we'd have called him back.
I have vast doubt that our beagle killed a rooster. We have free-range chickens of every size and age here. From baby chicks that still get herded back into the brooder at night up to far too many roosters.Scooter is 3 years old and has never hurt any chicken, anywhere. And he doesn't even kill a rabbit when he catches it. He catches Mr. Cottontail alive and unharmed - if very winded.

Nevertheless, if a dog trespasses, around here if you don't see the hunter with it, you can shoot it, and we didn't mean for him to trespass. We apologized, said we'd never let it happen again, thanked the fellow, and offered him two roosters for the one he lost.

We scattered feed so we could catch them and he said he'd like the Rhode Island Red as that's what he lost (and inwardly I cursed, Big Red had a home for life here and many wives-to-be in the brooder) and that white fellow.
And Punkin's face fell because "that white fellow" was the speckled Prince, her favorite rooster. She had marked him as her own from nearly as soon as we opened the box from the hatchery. Prince didn't take any catching, she just walked up to him and picked him up and stroked him.

I was pretty sad as I put them both in the box, and wished he would have picked a Buff Orp or Barred Rock instead of the 2 exact roosters we'd wanted to keep, but he didn't have a choice about losing his rooster, whoever's dog killed it. And any rooster is a small price to pay for good neighbor relations and not having your rabbitdog shot over a misunderstanding.
But he was Punkin's favorite rooster, and a few tears were shed for him.

So you should have seen her face when he not only came home, but walked into the house to announce he was back.

Punkin is very happy. And Prince seems as happy as a chicken gets. He quickly found his favorite hen and then stretched out to sun, wing extended in total chicken relaxation. He keeps on coming up to the house, either to reassure himself that he is home, or to complain to the travel agent who forgot to book him a return trip.

And I have to go talk to the fellow and bring him a different rooster.

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