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FST: The Rooster Who Wouldn’t Crow

November 7, 2011

One day my mom got it in her head that she wanted a rooster. Not chickens and a rooster for eggs. Nope – just the rooster. I have no idea what sparked this desire or even the various conversations that my parents must have had after my mom expressed her wish. Although I do know that she really wanted that rooster because she wanted it to crow at dawn. She wanted it to crow, and crow loudly. Why? Who knows.

We lived on a farm, so this weird desire only seemed natural to me at the time. My mother and father struck a deal. He would build a chicken coop for her if she would also agree to get chickens so that we could have fresh eggs. The kids would have to pull their weight with the chickens, too. At this point the cows had lost their appeal and we didn’t have any riding horses. Chickens seemed like a logical next step in farm life to this country kid – and apparently my mom as well.

I watched my dad come home from work and work on the coop for a couple of weeks. He has always had some weird hatred for chickens in general. He doesn’t eat the meat that much and he gets his eggs nearly burnt when he does bother to eat the eggs. It was clear to one and all that he was not happy with the rooster idea. There was much mumbling about “loud crows disturbing sleep”, ” the smells”, “dirty, damn chickens”, and “no point, cause of the damn coyotes”. But he did it. Finally, when it was complete we all waited with bated breath for the new occupants to get here. My mother would peruse the ads in the papers, looking for someone selling their chickens. She searched high; she search low.

One day my mom struck gold. Chickens for sale! And cheap! Really, really, super-duper cheap! The only thing better to my mom than getting her rooster was getting her rooster on the cheap.

After a quick phone call, the kids loaded up in the suburban and off we went. When we got there, there was an old cowboy waiting for us. He showed the crazy lady with all the kids the chickens he had for sale. She honed in on the rooster issue though. ‘Do you have any roosters?’, ‘Is he a good rooster who crows at dawn?’, etc, etc, etc.

He kept politely explaining to her that she might want to get her rooster somewhere else, because the one he had might not satisfy her needs. He hem-hawed, shifted his eyes around with a look of severe discomfort and kept asking for her husband.

“Ma’am, why don’t you come back and bring your husband, and we can discuss it then.” My mother was not impressed. It might be rural Texas, but she was no demure wife, waiting on the hubby to do all the negotiations. This good ol’e boy was going to have to get over his sexism and deal with her directly.

“He’s a rooster, isn’t he?” she asked.

“Well, yes ma’am…”

“And roosters crow at dawn, don’t they?” my mother continued. Her logic was infallible.

“Well, yes ma’am, most roosters do…”

“OK, then. How much for the rooster?”

“Well, ma’am, he’s $x but I really think he isn’t the kind of rooster you are looking for. I really think you should just bring your husband. I can explain it all to him.”

“OK, look, I want to buy the rooster. Here’s your money. Load ’em up in the back. Kids, get back in the car.” That’s my mom. Succinct, determined, efficient.

Defeated, the cowboy loaded up the chickens and the rooster into the back, and back to our farm we went. We got them all in the coop, fed them properly, and gave them enough water to get them through the first night or so. After a few hours, we went to check on them, and the chickens seemed to settle in nicely into their nests. The rooster clucked around the pen, dipping his neck now and then when he thought he might have found some food to eat.

The next morning we all awoke as usual. I thought maybe I had missed the crowing, and was secretly glad. I stopped worrying about losing sleep. My mother, however, was not happy.

“I didn’t hear the rooster.” The disappointment was audible, and I almost felt bad for being glad I didn’t hear it. She stood at the window in the dining room, with her coffee cup in hand, gazing at the coop.

“Maybe he just needs some time to settle in,” my dad replied, hoping to relieve her concern. His disgust for chickens had kept him from going to the coop himself, and he was really glad she had taken care of the whole mess without him.

A week went by and not one crow. She started asking around, calling the other farmers at our church, discussing the issue with my grandfather – who is an expert on all things agricultural. Everyone agreed it was very odd that he had not crowed at all. Not once. And with all those hens around him. Very odd, indeed.

Finally, she convinced my dad to go in and take a look at him. Make sure he was healthy, she pleaded. He took my grandfather with him. We watched them both march out to the coop, run around the yard attempting to trap the rooster. Then after a short hold on him they both let go and walked back in. My grandfather had a grin on his face – my father a scowl.

“Well, Mary,” my dad said, “You bought a rooster with no balls.”  My grandfather burst into laughter, unable to contain his mirth. My dad was not so amused. “You take him back and tell that farmer that he sold you a neutered rooster.”

My mom was silent for a while, realization slowly dawning.

“So that’s what he was trying to tell me!”

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 12:47 pm

    Too funny! I can just see all of this happening.

    How’s NaNo going?

    • November 7, 2011 3:00 pm

      Not so good. Not terrible, but I’m behind by about 3000 words. I haven’t updated the widget, so I’m not as far behind as it looks. I’m going to catch up, though. It was a crazy weekend.

  2. November 7, 2011 3:37 pm

    How did I miss this story before? I swear this is the first I ever heard of it. That’s hilarious.

    I’d love to have chickens, but just a couple of months ago something-probably several coyotes–got into my neighbors coop and killed all 21 birds and 2 rabbits. And her coop was fenced all the way around, even the roof. It wasn’t the first time either.

    • November 7, 2011 4:19 pm

      Yeah, after we discovered that there would be no crowing and no eggs, my mom gave up on her dream. She didn’t have the heart to get rid of the poor rooster, and we couldn’t have two roosters in the same coop. Some mornings we would see the coop had lost a chicken in the night. It didn’t matter how much we tried to coyote-proof the coop. Eventually, the coyotes got them all, and we were left with an empty coop for years.

  3. November 7, 2011 3:58 pm

    OMG hahahahaha classic story!!!

  4. Joanna Reichert Photography permalink
    February 20, 2012 4:33 pm

    This is excellent! I grew up with chickens, and can only all well see this story playing out . . . . . hilarious!

    • February 20, 2012 6:32 pm

      Thanks! How ever did you manage to keep them alive? We lost every one of them to the coyotes or the neighbors dogs.

      • Joanna Reichert Photography permalink
        February 20, 2012 8:56 pm

        Ahhhh . . . we had 2 dogs who roamed the property and coyotes weren’t a big problem when I was younger. Coons were sometimes troublesome, though.

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