A couple months ago, the other roosters conspired to kill Pat. Pat was the smallest, least manly of the roosters (he has still never crowed). I heard the commotion and rushed to his rescue.
By the time I got to the coop, the other six roosters had him on his back and were pecking the heck out of him. I waded into the fray, shooed them away, and picked him up gently. I was afraid he was hurt.
Now Pat lives outside the coop. He’s my free-range fella, and I love him. He sleeps in the tool shed, on a sculpture that I hope nobody paid money for.
But that isn’t where he really wants to sleep–where he would sleep if he could is on the seat of my brother-in-law’s motorcycle. Because even roosters–or especially roosters–want to be cool. My brother-in-law doesn’t find this behavior at all cute. I think it’s adorable. Even more adorable, however, is when I pick Pat up to carry him to the tool shed and his sculpture perch. He wraps his foot around my hand as I put him to bed each night. It’s like we’re holding hands.
He loves me a little.
When I get home from work most evenings, Pat greets me at my car, much as a faithful dog would. In fact, sometimes he runs to the end of the driveway when he sees my car coming down the road. I pull in slowly, roll my window down, and we converse as I inch my car to its usual parking spot–carefully–because I don’t trust Pat to stay away from the tires.
My worry, of course, is that Pat wants more than just me as his “flock.” He rarely strays far from the coop. I tried putting him back once, but the other roosters (of which there are way too many) started picking on him again. I’d put a chicken nappy on him and bring him in my house, but I strongly suspect neither he nor my cats would really like that. So, for now, Pat is our only free-range fella.