Categorized | Opinion

Watch Out For Spurs That Don’t Jingle-Jangle

By Otis Griffin

We always kept a big flock of chickens, especially for such a small area.  Everybody loved fried chickens, and no way can anyone eat breakfast without eggs.  With such an abundance, we sold the eggs and the young pullets for fryers.  Folks at the Naval Base loved for Daddy to bring them some country eggs.  As you know country eggs taste better, and are better for you than store bought eggs, plus we made some extra money.  Must be country ’cause I ain’t never seen any city eggs.
Two things are required for a good egg supply.  Plenty of good feed and a good rooster, or in our case several roosters.  Now, if you are not real careful you might end up with too many roosters, and all the hens will be setting instead of laying.  So you must stay aware.  We usually ‘figgered’ about one rooster to a dozen hens.  My Southern farmers know what I mean.
One particular rooster thought he was the ‘cock of the walk’, and he continuously tried to prove it.   Friends he sho’ ’nuff liked to put on a show.  Every so often, he’d jump up on a fence post, crow, flap his wings, announcing he was king.  He was too!  He was ‘pert nigh’ as big as I was, but so far we hadn’t had any problems.  But, they are coming.
One day as I was walking out through the backyard, the chickens started scattering toward the hen house, so kingpin decided to test me.  Neighbor if you ain’t been there, you don’t know what I mean.  He came running at me flapping his wings, dancing about two feet off the ground, crowing like crazy, and startled me more than anything else.  Now, I’m thinking very quickly, get away from me, or I’ll knock you in the next county.  Now, kingpin is thinking the same thing.
Neighbor, he struck at me, and I jumped at him.  This time we had a “Mexican Standoff”.  I had seen him in action fighting the other roosters, and I had been warned about the spurs being very dangerous.  Now spurs are located on the legs right above his feet, and in his case, probably two and one half inches long.  Big around as nice sized pencil.  Real bad.  Farmers know the spurs can kill another chicken in one thrust by hitting the opponent’s head.  I’d seen it happen.
Frankly, I didn’t want any part of the rooster or his spurs, not that I was scared just yet, but it was safer that way.  Neighbor, livestock can sense if you are afraid of them, whether it’s smell, sight, or feel.  Kingpin got his bluff in on me.  One day he sneaked up behind me, flogged me, knocked me to the ground, and crawled all over me.  Scared me to death.  I finally got up and ran back into the house.  Momma asked, “what was wrong”?  Trembling, I explained what kingpin had done. She would have no part of that, so she grabbed her broom, and proceeded to whoop ‘kingpin’ all over the yard.  I guess ‘we’ showed kingpin, as I was behind Momma cheering her on.  Right?
One Saturday, Daddy and I were in the backyard, and kingpin sneaked up behind me, attacking like a ghost in the graveyard.  I shifted into my gaits, as I ran, stumbled crawled and fell.  Daddy got red-faced mad because I let a rooster bluff me, and Baptist baptizing shouted, “go whoop that rooster real bad”.  Well, I tried to get out to it, but Daddy was very, very upset.  So, here I go to the rooster.  (I had lots rather face a rooster than a mad Daddy, if you know what I mean.)  Kingpin comes, jumps up, and flogs me real bad. I tackle him and fall on him beating the fire out of him, as best I can.  We separate.  He stares at me, and I stare at him with one eye, with the other eye on Daddy.  Ain’t no way that rooster can hurt me as bad as my Daddy.  I have proof of that.  At this time of the rooster fight, one of us is scared, and the other is glad of it. Daddy walked over and kicked ‘kingpin’ up against the fence.  Boy, ‘I’ won that fight.  Daddy was satisfied, but kingpin wasn’t pleased at all.
The rooster wouldn’t mess with me when Daddy was around, which wasn’t always the case.  J. G. told me to get a stick, walk across the yard, and lay into kingpin the next time he attacked me.
I was still scared, but it had to be done. Kingpin tried to sneak up behind me, and I heard him flapping.  I got my trusty cork ball bat, which was actually a broken mop handle, and with a perfect swing I caught him solid on the left wing.  I broke the wing.  He ran off, while I celebrated and jumped for joy.  My problem was solved, but Kingpin’s problems were just starting.  A broken winged rooster is not much competition for a healthy, even smaller bird.  Pay backs are ‘ruff’, if you now what I mean?  He rightfully absorbed several whoopings.  Every dog has his day, and I finally had mine.
I don’t reckon anyone has a problem of fighting roosters lately!  It’s been some time since I have even seen any chickens in a backyard, much less a fighting rooster.   Another great Southern tradition that didn’t make it into the Pot.
Beware of Sneaky Feathered Friends — GLORY!
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May 2013
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