Written by Jennifer’s sister, Allison Sharp. Yesterday morning, after my husband had left for work, he called me. “Have you been outside yet?” “No.” “Walk out the front door and look in the window well.” As I got out of bed and walked down the hall, I noticed that the rooster seemed especially loud that morning. He lives in the back yard with the four hens, well away from the house, so his crowing is usually fairly faint. When I opened the front door, I understood why he seemed so noisy: he was sitting in the window well, about five feet from the door.
I called my husband. “Why is the rooster in the window well?” “I think a raccoon must have figured out how to open the door to the coop. The rooster somehow ended up in the window well, and we have only one hen left.” “I bet the beautiful hen is gone.” This surprised my husband. He doesn’t normally judge chickens by their beauty. “What? Oh, you mean the Polish chicken? Yep. She’s gone.” (This is my favorite photo of her.)
“Don’t roosters have spurs on their feet?” I asked. “Why didn’t he defend the hens?” “You’ll have to ask him.” I rolled my eyes. “How am I going to get him out? He may not attack raccoons, but he will probably swipe me with his spurs. I do not feel like getting swiped by a rooster too cowardly to fight raccoons.” My husband snorted into the phone. “Just leave him in the window well. If he hasn’t figured out how to fly out by the time I get home tonight, I’ll climb in and pull him out.”
I checked on the rooster throughout the day, and he never seemed particularly upset about being in the window well. He was always facing the window, and he would frequently crow at his reflection. He never managed to fly; he never even lifted his wings.
When my husband got home, he and my son put on long-sleeved shirts and gloves and headed for the rooster. My husband climbed into the window well. He planned to catch the rooster and hand it up to my son. Though the rooster had spent the entire day not flying, as soon as my husband lunged at him, he started flapping and moving as far away as he could.
Much to my husband’s credit, he did not say any bad words, though I know it was frustrating to be continually out-maneuvered by a creature with a brain the size of a pea.
He finally grabbed the rooster around its middle, effectively pinning the wings against its body. Then he handed the rooster up to my son.
My husband took the rooster, and we all walked to the back yard, where we discovered a long, sad trail of chicken feathers probably discarded by the raccoon as it ran away with the missing hens.
My husband put the rooster in the coop with the last hen and then fixed the broken coop door. (In the photo below, the rooster is hiding in the little wooden house.)
The hen and rooster seemed happy to be together again.
“Do you think they miss the other hens?” My husband laughed. “I doubt it. It has taken the rooster five minutes to remember where the water bowl is, and the coop is only six feet long.” “I will miss the beautiful hen.” He snorted, again. “The only person who even thinks about the chickens is me. I’m the one who feeds them and collects their eggs.” He looked thoughtful, then disappeared into the basement.
This morning after my husband had left for work, I discovered on the kitchen counter, next to the stove and the spatulas and the knives, a small incubator holding three chicken eggs. It was covered with two dish rags and a hot pad, and sticking out of the side was our good meat thermometer.
I called my husband. “You must have decided to try to hatch some chicks.” “Yes.” He sounded proud. “I’m going to reincarnate the beautiful hen.” This surprised me. I didn’t think he believed in reincarnation. “But the incubator is sitting next to the stove.” “So?” “What if someone decides to do something like, say, cook food?” He let out a very patient sigh. “The eggs are in the incubator. They won’t bother anyone.” “Well,” I mused. “They probably won’t argue with me about doing chores.” “See? That’s the spirit!” I looked at the incubator again. “What about the meat thermometer? What if I need to check the temperature of some meat?” “When was the last time you used the thermometer?” He had a good point. I hadn’t touched it since Thanksgiving. “Thanks for thinking of the beautiful hen.” “No problem. I just want to make you happy.”
In about three weeks, if the eggs actually hatch, I will take photos, and you will see on our kitchen counter some egg shells, a meat thermometer, an empty incubator, and, hopefully, a chick that will grow into a beautiful hen.