Today is a nice warm day with a temperature of about 80 degrees F and a calming warm breeze. Absolutely perfect. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, spring is in the air, life is good. I celebrated spring by putting on a pair of shorts and decided to take some of the hens out of the enclosed chicken pen. On nice days when I am going to be outside with the birds, I take some hens out and let them free-range. I can't have them free-ranging all the time because of the fox and hawks, they get picked off one-by-one.
And so, I took out Lucy, who loves earthworms. She was digging up earthworms by the dozen and was having a great time. I brought out Lucy's grown daughter, Lilly, and she joined her mama in the earthworm-fest. I went to get another bird. Ethel came to me first and squatted down, being submissive. Most of my hens are very tame and enjoy being around me. I reached down and picked up Ethel with my right hand and turned to walk out of the chicken pen. As I walked out of the fence, before I could close the gate...
I was attacked from behind on my legs!
I didn't even realize what happened! I stumbled forward, still holding Ethel with my right hand (I am right- handed).
Wham! Wham! Wham from behind! My legs were scratched and sore. What the heck???
I turned and faced lead rooster Muffin. He is so fast, there is no pause between his attacks. His neck feathers were all up, making it look like a feather bowl around his head. He attacks with his feet, his spurs and his toenails. Luckily for me, just recently we de-spurred both roosters! Smart decision!!! But his nails are long and need a Dremel tool taken to them to make them shorter. And he attacks with the force of a speeding bullet. I don't know how a rooster is so strong. It must be the good Amish chicken feed we give the birds...
I clung to poor Ethel, who I'm sure was scared. I don't know why I just didn't drop her and free up my right hand.
Muffin jumps waist-high - Wham!
I blocked him with my left hand. Wham! Wham! Wham! Muffin is now outside the chicken pen, outside the gate. I stumbled to my knees with the first attack, just like a girl in the movies always stumbles when being attacked. I'm trying to keep Muffin away from my face and head. He has hurt my left wrist, and boy, does it hurt like the dickens.
All the other birds are gathered at the fence watching the fight. Just like a school yard fight. I think I hear one of the hens yelling "Fight! Fight! Fight!" and everyone is clucking their excitement.
I get one foot up, and block the attacks with the bottom of my sneaker. Luckily I wasn't wearing sandles! Finally I grab the old straw broom, which was sitting right there the whole time, and Muffin runs from the broom. Muffin and the broom are arch enemies, and he knows the broom is dominant to him. As soon as he re-enters the chicken pen, Muffin and Leggy, the second rooster, start a huge cock fight. Muffin wins, and Leggy runs away in shame.
This happens every spring. The roosters are feeling their oats. I should have been expecting it, Muffin and Leggy both have been on the attack recently, that's why I had the broom handy. And I was taking one of Muffin's hens, and she was being submissive to me. Muffin was defending his flock. I wont let my guard down again, that's for sure!