Tommy & The Roosters
Tommy follows me around the run as is his habit every day. In the morning I open the door to his cottage first. It is a fairly tall cottage that my husband and I went to a distant farm to purchase 2 years ago. We thought it might house an extra small flock. But, it turned out that the flock wanted to stay together in their own Red Shed Coop.
The Red Shed Coop was a 40-year old garden shed that my husband disassembled and transported back to our little farm (a 4-hour round trip) and reassembled piece by piece. Sturdy and just the right size to house @ 17 hens and their rooster.
We had a special house built for Tommy to protect him from the cold Maine winters. We had the door and ramp made extra wide to accommodate his big feet and substantial girth. And, although he humored me by entering it a few times, he never liked it. It was high off the ground but, in the end, shorter inside than he liked. Even though he could stand up in it, I think he felt that the ceiling was too low.
He kept gravitating towards the cottage, sleeping on the roof. I worried – what happens when it’s freezing. So, I coaxed him down off the roof and into the cottage at night. Every morning I would unlock his door and feel his legs to see if they were cold. One leg was usually warm and the other cold. I bought him a chicken-warming pad that I found on sale at Tractor Supply in the clearance section.
The next morning when I opened his door he was standing on it looking at me. He did this quite a bit when he wanted to show me that he understood.
As a matter of fact, he took everything I told him very seriously. Take the roosters, for example. He watched me carefully when I worked with them and noticed that I didn’t like it when they fought. He began to take it upon himself to break up rooster fights. When Leroy Brown, the Cream Legbar, was bested by Aaden Olivier, the French Black Copper Marans, I had to place Leroy in a separate pen with his wife. Leroy was happy with Mrs. Brown, but wistful when he saw the others running out into the thin winter sunshine for a break in the yard. So, I let him out, too. Peter, our farm hand reported back that Aaden had jumped on Leroy in the yard and that Tommy had broken them up and herded Leroy back into his pen. Tommy knew from close observation that LeRoy was safer in his pen. It was just one more time where he exhibited his turkey wisdom.