This is Richard.
Sometimes, when he is being particularly chivalrous, I call him Sir RIchard, These days, however, he pecks, more than protects our hens, greedy glutton that he has become. The other day, eager for treats, he flew over the fence the moment I stepped outside, and landed with a -pouf!- in over a foot of fresh powder. Silly Richard. Poor RIchard! He was stuck, literally, up to his eyeballs. If he had still been his old, sleek self he would have gotten away with his escape attempt, but now, being the size of a small turkey, he couldn't even turn aound in all that snow. I wish I had gotten a picture! As it was, he had to sit there freezing his...comb off, while I first rescued the hen that flew the coop with him. Once she was safely inside, I took a shepherd's crook (flockherd's?), and half-lifed/half-scooted him back toward home.
We used to let our chickens free range, but after loosing one for almost a month, finding the poor, bedraggled bird at the neighbors', capturing it in the forest during a downpour, and then nursing it back to health, we decided to limit their territory - at least for the time being. (Also because I got tired of having to hose down the porch!) The henyard we made for them is spacious and sheltered, but has shrunk now with the coming of winter. No wonder RIchard wanted a little adventure.
My husband questions sometimes why we keep him, now that they are enclosed. We aren't raising chicks - none of our hens seem interested in sitting - and he takes more than his fair share of feed. But, I just don't have it in my heart to dispatch such a glorious creature.
Come spring I will start letting the chickens out into the yard for a little roam each evening. For now, Richard is definitely ruling the roost through this wintry season by mere kingly presence. And, like his namesake, growing fat.
Or was that Henry? I never could keep royalty straight...
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