Cinfulcinnamon's Blog

Divide and Conquer

Posted on: February 11, 2010

Time for another trip “down on the farm”

     We had a Border Collie named Chico. He was a gift to us from the neighbors when we first moved to the farm.  It’s definitely true what they say about Border Collies.  They are the smartest dogs around.  And Chico was a very good representative of the breed.  When the four of us kids would walk along the road looking for pop bottles, he would go with us.  But when he heard a car coming, he would jump in the nearest ditch and lay down until it had passed.  This story is about him.  And some roosters.

     My mother had purchased some baby chicks that she and I were going to raise.  The hens would be kept as laying hens and the rooster chicks would be killed and put into the freezer.  When we moved to this particular farm,  there was a big red rooster that the previous owners had left there.  He must have been pretty old.  He had long spurs on the sides of his feet that he used to defend himself.  You most definitely did not want to be stabbed by those.  As the chicks got older, the old rooster started to hang around the chicken pen more.  The day finally came that we felt that the chicks – now fully grown chickens could be let loose to do their thing.  They would always come back to the chicken house at night to roost.  Of the 20 or 30 chicks, there were only five that were males.  Mom just hadn’t gotten around to catching and killing them yet so they roamed free with the hens. The old red rooster started asserting himself and wanted to take over the group of hens.  But in order to do this, he would have to either fight and kill the other roosters, or run them off.  Of the five, there was an especially handsome big white rooster.  He had black feathers in his tail and wings.  I had named him Duke.  And had actually taken him to school as part of a book report. (that’s another story).  The other four were rather plain and I didn’t care much about them.  But for some reason our dog Chico became very interested in the show that was about to take place in the barn yard.  One by one, the young roosters would fight with the old red one.  Sometimes the fights would go on for days on end.  A couple of the young roosters just gave up and ran into the fields.  It probably didn’t take a fox long to find them I suppose, because they never came back.  But with every skirmish, the old rooster would get pretty beat up.  His comb on the top of his head had been torn, he had missing feathers, and one of his spurs had the pointed end damaged and thus was useless.  We could see dried blood all over his back and neck.  But he was still on top.  There were only two roosters left.  One was Duke, the handsome white one, and the other was just a smaller red rooster that I didn’t think the “old man” would have any problems with.  And throughout this whole thing, Chico would crouch down and watch the fighting.  Sometimes, it was hard to call him away from the chickens he was so intent on it.  The old rooster had run Duke away from the flock several times, but now Duke had decided to take a stand.  And so the fight began.  And all under the watchful gaze of Chico.

     The fighting went on for a week.  Neither would give up. They would stop from time to time of course to eat and rest.  And there was always an uneasy truce called in the evening when all the chickens would head to the henhouse for the night.  But bright and early the next morning it would begin again.  And Chico would be right there waiting.  He would lay out of the way in the tall grass, just watching.  If the roosters got out of his sight, he would almost stalk them, take up another place and then watch some more.  When I would come home from school I could see the toll that it was taking on the two birds.  Especially Duke.  He was probably stronger than the old rooster, but he was young and inexperienced.  And he was white.  And the blood showed up really well.  I didn’t see the other smaller red rooster most of the time while the fighting was going on.  Occasionally, he would sneak in and try to mate with one of the hens, but the old guy would stop fighting long enough to run him away.

     The last day of the fight was the most horrible.  Both roosters were a mess.  I was just about convinced that Duke was going to lose to the old rooster.  But in a split second, it was done.  Duke had spurred the old rooster in the head and the fight was over.  The old rooster was killed.  Duke looked like he was going to fall over himself, but he was able to make a proud crowing noise that said, ” I won,  I’m the champion, the hens are mine”.  That was when the other young red rooster made his move.  He viciously attacked Duke.  I was watching and so was Chico.  Before I could run to the house and ask my mom to come out with the rifle to shoot the other rooster, Chico tore off to the barnyard, jumped on the red rooster and killed him.  It was the most bizarre thing I’d ever seen.  And another case of Mother Nature teaching me a lesson or two that I would use to form my sense of right and wrong.

     As long as all the chickens were “playing fair”,  Chico only stayed on the sidelines and watched.  No matter how vicious the fighting became, he didn’t intervene.  He didn’t pick the winner, he didn’t decide which chicken was the most popular or handsome.  He kept his nose out of  it and minded his own business.  And only stepped up when it wasn’t fair anymore.  Win or lose he would have let the two main adversaries fight it out. 
But when the one came in at the end and was going to profit from someone elses hard work and effort that  was when he acted.

     Strange how that beautiful dog knew what he was doing. None of us humans knew why he stayed to watch those fights.  Day after day.  But somehow he knew or had a sense of what was right and wrong.  I’ve never seen anything like that again from an animal.  I’ve seen the exact same behavior out of humans though. The good and the bad.  Those that have no “dog in the fight” stepping in to say their piece.  Those that sit on the sidelines and let others do all the dirty, hard work so that they can waltz in and take the credit, or enjoy the good times.   But there is something else to this story that is not quite as obvious as this first observation.  Whenever you think you are doing the best that you can,  and you think that no one notices you,  you’re wrong.  When someone steps in to take credit for what you’ve done and you feel under appreciated,  you’re not.  Because there is always “someone” watching.  And in the end, that someone,  will make things right.  The old cliche’ about “what goes around, comes around”  really is true.  And if you’re lucky, like I was that day of the fight in the barnyard,  you will get to be there when “justice” prevails   Sometimes, it’s not as swift as we would like.  And we may not know it’s coming, but eventually “every dog has it’s day”. Chew on that bone for a while.  Ok, ok.. no more dog euphemisms.  LOL

peace

Cinnamon

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Goofy Me

I am: an Air Force vet, Mom, sister, friend, Lifestyler, and all-around smartass with a heart of gold. I have lived all over the far East and learned many things about people and cooking, art and true value. I like to share my experience with the rest of the world. I will be the most loyal friend or most annoying enemy you've ever known. Honest to a fault. My life has not always been easy, but it has never ever been boring.

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