I was awakened Christmas Eve morning by Russell Crow.
Now before you start thinking, “my, my, that Linda was a really good girl this year,” let me explain.
It was not the all-tingly voice of that hunky Australian actor Russell Crowe I heard. It was the crowing of our pet rooster Russell Crow who was thawing out in the basement – directly under the bedroom floor.
It was annoying, but we were glad to hear that he was feeling better. For awhile, it looked like he was headed straight to the pot for dumplings.
When my husband Bud went out to check on the chickens Thursday morning after the big ice storm, he expected that Russell would be outside strutting while the six hens – who we refer to as “the girls” – would be huddled inside their house. Instead, they were all pecking at the ground, oblivious to the weather and to poor Russell’s condition. Russell was standing huddled in a corner of the pen, completely coated with an inch of ice.
Either he was too stupid to seek shelter with the hens, or the girls ganged up on him and forced him to roost outside. I suppose we’ll never know.
The hens are certainly capable of being that vicious. They are pets, but they showed a mean streak the day the new rooster was introduced to the pen. When Russell Crow was first placed inside, the girls faced him, firing-squad-style, and tried to peck his eyes out.
That first night, they wouldn’t let him on the roost pole. A few nights later, they let him sit on the lower roost, where their droppings would land squarely on his back.
After awhile, conditions seemed to improve. Russell had even graduated to top-roost status with his favorite hens, Red, Blackleg and Boss Chicken.
Then Thursday morning came, and it was obvious that they were just luring him in. I think they tried to assassinate him by turning him into a giant rooster-sicle.
We did our best to restore him to health.
Bud went into the pen, matador-style, with a big beach towel, to catch him. I was going to do it, but Bud thought I would look silly – sliding around in the ice and snow, chasing a rooster with a beach towel. So he volunteered.
Usually, Russell doesn’t like to be touched. But he wasn’t difficult to corral that day. He could barely move.
We looked on the Internet for the appropriate method of defrosting a live chicken. We didn’t have any luck, but we did find some nice recipes for barbecue.
So, we just did the best we could with him.
We put him in a box in the garage so he could warm up a bit, and finally moved him to the basement. He even let me hold him next to the woodstove for awhile. Slowly, the ice melted and he started looking like a real chicken again.
When he was dry and warm and felt like squawking and crowing, Bud took him back to the pen. Russell eyed the girls for a second, then started chasing and pecking and flogging them.
Or, at least they pretended to accept the chastisement. I don’t think they’ll give up that easily.
The next time we have a few lightning strikes during a storm, I expect they’ll have figured out a way to turn him into an extra-crispy entrée.