Coq Au Vignette


I don’t know if the person who dumped their rooster at my farm intended for me to eat the bird and was thus making a gift. Or if they blithely miscalculated the fractious result a male of fighting age would have upon my checkered lot. Hoping to give the chicken back to its rightful owner, I ask almost everyone I know about it and watch for clues.

As roosters go, this one is beautiful: a full ruff and a full tail; he is black but flashes emerald. But his presence stirs fights in the chicken yard. Until now there were five distinct harems and a few Bantam swingers. There was little fighting, save a short chase, and little crowing. I help keep the peace by assisting the underdog to make it to a position of power: I kill the alpha troublemakers and keep the ones I speculate are more genial. The abandoned rooster destabilized everything, and the yard fell into a shamble of crowing and fighting. I’ll wait to see if things settle down. I’ll give it a week, maybe two.

I know why somebody dumped this bird. They loved him, but due to local regulations, roosters are increasingly illegal and his owner(s) couldn’t keep him. They found themselves in a very modern bind and did the kindest and most irresponsible thing they could to get out of it. He gets bloodied by Romeo; he tries to take on Shorty. He spends his days haunting the perimeter of another male’s territory; despite his good looks, he lacks charm and aggression. He’d make a nice hat, but in normal circumstances he wouldn’t be the type I’d butcher; he’s a beta. You can scoop him up and pet those shiny, silky feathers; it looks as if he’s had his spurs carefully trimmed. Perhaps, we muse, he was in entertainment.