Sunday, September 25, 2016

No Longer the Only Ones

For years, roosters in the countryside around us were an oddity.

Few people kept farm flocks of chickens, and even fewer kept roosters.

One of our Buckeye roosters

The case for keeping hens is easy: fresh eggs with golden-orange yokes. The case for keeping roosters is harder: they don't lay eggs and often attack. But I like watching roosters strut around the pastures and listening to the roosters crow. And, if we want chicks, we need roosters to fertilize the eggs. So we always keep a few roosters.

Because we live in the flat lands, the roosters' crows roll across the countryside, carrying for up to a mile. Their crows join the cacophony of birdsong, hawk calls and cricket chirps in the early morning hours.

This summer, though, the sounds changed. When my roosters crowed, they got a response, first from a farm to the north of us, and later, from a farm to the east. The sounds caused me to stop walking.

I stood in the pasture, looked at the stars that had yet to fade, and listened to the call and response. 

We were no longer the only ones with roosters.