The Farm at Mollies Branch

  (Todd, North Carolina)
A no-kill farm and garden
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Roasted Rooster

After two weeks of abnormally cold weather, we have a beautiful day to work on the farm. The hens have grown broody, ready to sit on the green, pink, brown eggs for the 21-days it takes to make new diddles (chicks). The roosters, beautiful with their colorful feathers and long tail feathers, are full of themselves, strutting about as if in charge until they meet other roosters feeling the same. That's when I think Roasted Rooster, since a fellow farmer down the road has a rooster roast each Spring to take care of her extra male chickens. Living on a no-kill farm, I always have too many roosters and wonder at my resolve not to eat my chickens when the roosters start fighting among themselves. We're not talking a little bickering here, but full-blown to-the-death duals. I've come upon roosters with heads so bloodied that their eyes couldn't open for the dried blood. Gentle washing with slightly warm water will often relieve that blindness, but other times I fear their eyes have been pecked from their sockets. It's then that I gather up my roosters and vow to give them all to someone who will probably roast them or use them for illegal cock fighting. I never keep this resolve since it hurts my soul; instead I find them safe homes one by one--which is a daunting task. Today, I go to the barnyard, elated at the weather but wondering about how humane it is keep more than one or two roosters. Yet, I am comforted knowing what a wonderful life all my chickens have, wandering the farm finding bugs, worms and the beautiful green grass soon to come.

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