Arnold is a Fall chicken. He hatched from an egg, along with his three nestlings way back in October (I think). The clutch of eggs that had hatched shortly before his fell prey to a large black rat snake. You might remember my FB post about that. It takes about six months from hatch to first egg or crow.
We weren’t sure whether Arnold was a he or a she, but had our suspicions. Yesterday he crowed for the first time and confirmed his identity. Oddly, this was a joyful occasion here at Wild Ozark. It was pretty exciting to witness the coming of age of a rooster.
The day before, one of his nestlings laid her first egg and that was a sweet find too. A hen’s first egg is about half the size of a full-sized egg. The first egg a mature hen lays in spring, if she pauses for a winter break, is also smaller than usual, but not as small as the very first egg she lays in her life.
I don’t normally name the chickens. “Arnold” is Rob’s doing. I don’t even name our cats and had to come up with something for one of them at the last minute last year when I brought her to the clinic to be spayed. I guess the dogs and horses should feel lucky to have names. I’m not sure why I don’t name the other animals in my life.
Hopefully this new roo won’t have the same problem with danger discrimination the old roo used to have. I have literally knocked the old one out three times. He kept jumping on me and the grandkids, hurt me pretty badly on the wrist with his spurs once. So I swung my trusty walking stick and took care of him. I thought I’d killed him the first time I knocked him out, but he woke up several hours later, much contrite. Nowadays he gives wide berth when I walk through the flock and I’m glad I didn’t have to really kill him because he’s a good roo otherwise.
Update 2017, December: Arnold is now the flock rooster and Old Man is gone. He died of fighting with Arnold. This is another reason to not have more than one rooster for small flocks.
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.