The chicken house had been empty for many years. Cobwebs claimed most all the corners and the front of the nesting boxes.
It was a Saturday morning that we returned from our local farm store with six very small and fuzzy peeping baby chicks.
Yes, we had decided to have chickens, and chose to get straight-run Barred Rocks, a known-to-be-hardy (cold-tolerant) chicken that is an excellent layer. It was March, and as the days were still chilly and the nights freezing, we supplied the peepers with a heat lamp and plenty of bedding. The chicks grew fast, and we enjoyed checking in on them each evening.
It wasn’t long before they had outgrown their small enclosure, and with the weather much improved, we permitted them free range inside and outside the henhouse.
One spring morning we walked outside, only to be greeted by the most horrendous of sounds. It sounded as if one of our chickens was being strangled! When we looked into the henhouse, the other chickens seemed to be just as dismayed by the commotion, as they all seemed to be staring at one of their own. Soon the sound was repeated, with no better outcome than the first. All the others stared disapprovingly at the obnoxious vocalizations of the one. The chicken didn’t seem to be in pain, so we headed to work somewhat bewildered by the incident.
The next morning began the same way, but a second chicken had joined the chorus. Within days there were four of our chickens making similar vocalizations, and I was glad our neighbors did not live close enough to hear the strangled-sounding birds.
Days passed with this morning spectacle before we began to wonder just what “straight run” meant. Well, one quick web search confirmed that we had roosters with our hens!
Now we were really interested to watch the strained attempts at crowing we had been wondering about. Jenney and I peered through the window of the coop to witness first one rooster, then another, take his turn at the “crow.” Each time it seemed as if all the others were less than impressed, and they would cock their heads in what could only be called disapproval. Day after day the “crows” continued, not just in the morning, but now throughout the day, at all times of day.
The roosters were without doubt practicing, and after several weeks had famously mastered the art of crowing. I never would have believed that the strangled gurgling could have ever turned into a full-fledged rooster’s crow! I always thought roosters could just…crow.
But I guess that’s the way God made us all. Each one of us has been given special gifts – gifts we have to work at – and even when others give disapproving glances, we need to just keep practicing and pursuing our passions. God put them in us.