Monday, April 27, 2009

Skoshi and the Rooster

OK, I lied. I found a few more animal stories lying around. I'll post them as well.

Auburn, California, Summer, 1968.

Skoshi was a very old dog. He had grown old in our service as our “chicken dog,” guarding the henhouse from intruders and making sure that the chicks survived their chickhood. We never lost a chick if Skoshi was on the job.

But now he was old and spent a lot of time sleeping in the sun. We didn't have many chickens then, just a banty rooster and his hen. The hen had laid a clutch of eggs. They never hatched out, but she sat on them anyway, for weeks. She never went out to eat or scratch or preen. She never did anything, just sat there on her infertile eggs.

Now roosters are like the males of most other species of animal. They aren't worth a damn without their female(s). In this case, our hen moped and so did our rooster.

On this particular summer afternoon Skoshi sat on the small bluff overlooking the house and the rooster sat at his side. As it neared 3:00 in the afternoon the rooster lost heart and climbed onto the branch of an oak tree where he roosted a night. The limb came very near a bedroom window and in the bird's younger days he used to like to crow into it at 4:00 in the morning. “It's four o'clock and all's well! Bring on the hens!” But without even one hen he went to bed early and slept late.

Joanne was working in the garden when she saw the bird climb onto his branch. “All right, enough's enough,” she said. She went into the hen house, grabbed the hen, and threw her clucking and squawking under the oak tree. The rooster, miraculously rejuvenated, leaped down and began the chase. Great were the noise, dust and feathers for a while, but it soon settled down and the two birds scratched contentedly in the garden.

Skoshi dozed on. We didn't have a hen or chicks for him. Meanwhile, Joanne threw the hen's eggs as far into the pasture as she could. Boy, were they ever rotten.