I have a story for you. A love story.
A love story about a barnyard mix rooster named Dumbledore’s Baby, or DB for short.
Years ago, we hatched DB in early spring and thought he was a pullet for WAY too long. Turned out he was just a very round, kinda funny, slow-maturing, bottom-of-the-pecking order cockerel, part of a coop-less gang of four males that free-ranged our property from dawn until dusk, when they would tuck themselves to bed in our garage. During the day, they followed us EVERYWHERE as we tended the garden and built coops.
We loved, loved, loved their company.
When he hit four months old, DB started acting a little funny toward me. Stamping around near me, pecking near my toes. None of our roosters had ever been aggressive, but I was starting to feel a little nervous around DB. His energy around me was different...but I wasn’t 100% sure what was going on yet.
Then one day...I was holding another cockerel and DB came up to me and performed a mating dance next to me. If you’ve never seen a rooster mating dance in real life, imagine a bird stretching out one wing a bit and then dancing in a little circle around his love interest. It’s a way for the smoother, suaver birds to announce their intentions to mate. Sarah and I found this both endearing and hilarious. I wish I could say our story ended there...
It doesn’t. A week later, I was sitting in the doorway of one of our breeding coops, innocently petting some of my favorite Marans, when I looked down to see DB making love to my farm boot. Yup.
Suddenly it was all clear to me. All the times he followed me around. All the times he pointed out food in my presence. The dancing….DB thought I was his hen. I chose to be flattered even though I suspected his confusion was born of desperation; the dominant cockerels in his flock wouldn’t let him mate. I chose not to dissuade DB from this belief since I knew he was ultimately destined for our freezer. He might as well enjoy his last few months.
He danced for me a few times after that, kept me safe from predators around the yard, and showed me all the best food scraps and bugs. The day we processed him was definitely emotional, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather have a sad goodbye than cut myself off from the joy of bonding with our birds. DB lived an incredible life and got to express his full chicken nature each day--foraging, hanging with his flock, sleeping in the garden, and finding a hen to dote on, lol.
I tell you this story not because it’s funny, or awkward--although it’s definitely both of those things--but because I think it encapsulates perfectly how we like to farm: fully experiencing the depth and joy (and weirdness) possible in our relationships with our animals, even the ones we might eat. We know our birds, and we know them well. That means our customers can know our birds, too--and of course, the birds they buy or hatch from us, too.
It’s important to us to provide the best life possible for our birds, and in turn provide birds that are a perfect fit for your farm, homestead or backyard. As small scale farmers, we are proud to offer an alternative to large scale hatcheries or big box stores on your food producing journey. By being small, we are able to know our birds individually, care for them well, and always freely share our practices with you .
Have any of your roosters ever fallen for you?
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