So last week whilst casually strolling through the petshop, I noticed the resident vet wasn’t busy so suggested (being the shy type) that my wife approach her and ask for advice regarding our hens being off-lay recently. I mean they are healthy enough but their egg production had been falling steadily. She confidently asserted “its the moult” and before I left I foolishly made a glib remark about them needing a rooster to sort them out.
“No problem” she said, “I’ve got five. You can have one of mine”. I feigned interest and dutifully took her number and went home and forgot about it. I had read about roosters. Noisy, disruptive and aggressive creatures with a hearty peck. I had read of roosters fighting to the death to defend their hareem. I had enough on my hands just with the chickens.
You can imagine my surprise then when my wife mentioned briefly in passing last night that we had to get up early because we were picking up the new rooster at 9.15am the next morning. I tried to point out that maybe this wasn’t the best time and maybe next year or the year after, but no. She had made firm friends with Rachel the vet and all was set for the next morning.
It was with some trepidation that I took hold of the box from a smiling Rachel. “Will he peck me?” I asked. “Don’t be silly” she said but she had that sort of look af relief as she handed him over which made me wonder. There were no tears or pangs of regret on parting. Gregory clearly hadn’t won her heart. Moreover she only wanted a fiver for him and even I could work out that he would have cost more than that in a bag in Asda. And that name, Gregory? I mean it doesn’t sound like a name you would give a rooster.
I puzzled it over on the way home. It was then it struck me. She had named him after the famous 1930s movie star Gregory Peck. I began to feel even more anxious but he seemed quite quiet in the back of the car in his box. I reasoned that I was probably being overly sensitive. I wondered what he looked like. “What make and model of rooster is he?” I asked my wife. “I can’t remember” she said “something red, an American name I think”. “Surely not Rhode Island Red” I exclaimed “they are vicious”. “I don’t think so” came the reply. Like why wouldn’t you ask? Did she do any research at all?
Finally, we got the box into the run and placed it among our hens who naturally assumed I was bringing food and gathered round. I decided to take their mind off the box by scattering some meal worm. That did the trick. All I had to do now was open the lid and Greg would be off and the girls clamouring round him casting admiring glances like excited schoolchildren meeting a movie star. Well it didn’t quite work out the way I expected. My wife was kind enough to capture this moment on video (yeah thanks) and I must reluctantly share it below. I have captioned the video “How not to unbox a rooster”.