Monday, August 17, 2009

Why does the caged bird crow?

Well, the short answer is, he crows because he's pissed that he's stuck in a cage. The reason that he is stuck in a cage is a little more complex. On Sunday, I went out to do my normal farm chores. I played with/fed the bullies, then took them inside. I went outside, let the chickens out and cleaned up around Coop D'Etat. . . nothing out of the ordinary.

I then took leave of my feathered friends, went through the gate, shut it behind me, and walked up to the barn with my wife, Mrs. BFP, and the Bumpases. The Bumpases show up the minute they hear the gate open. The noise of the gate also tends to attract Snow who is generally ready to eat. When Snow pops up from the field, Cowboy chases her up to the barn. It is a pretty solid routine and we all adhere to our roles pretty well.

On this day, however, someone decided to part with convention. We groom the horses, Ellie first, Snow second. Sarah and Cowboy wrestle for a bit and then nap in the barn. Suddenly, Little Brett Buckwalter comes around the corner to see what was happening. Now, Little Brett is a good bird, but he can be a little complicated. He likes to hang out, but he also tends to think he is pretty tough. I think this picture captures his personality pretty well:

On the one hand, he kind of looks at me as if to say, "I like you, please give me some apple." Yet, there is always the sense that he's thinking, "I can take you."

Thus, as Brett came around the corner, he gave off an inquisitive, yet confident air. I did not even have time to yell his name before two yellow streaks flew by me. Brett's confidence was quickly replaced by a wide-eyed look of fear. He ran. He ran pretty fast, but not nearly fast enough. Cowboy was on him before he got back to the fence that sheltered my back yard. I was in hot pursuit. I grabbed Cowboy and released Brett from him mouth only to see the fluttering mass of white feathers snatched up by Sarah. I'm not entirely sure what happened next, but I was able to grab Brett and toss him over the fence and into the backyard. He fluttered to the ground and stumbled into the bushes. We started through the gate to check on him when out of nowhere, Cowboy jumped the fence. Cowboy ran right past the Orpingtons and Camilla and headed for the injured bird, huddled sadly in the brush surrounding Big Fat Pond. I was again in full flight trying to intercept Cowboy. I did some blocking, when suddenly my wife came through and flat out tackled Cowboy.

As background, my wife is a classy broad. She's beautiful and stately. She looks like she should be carved into a broach or something. She is not the type of woman one would normally imagine tackling a muddy, rogue dog to protect a rooster, but there she was pinning a rather shocked Cowboy into the grass and weeds that make up our backyard. I believe that my wife is part of a militant sect of the Quaker religion. She flatly refuses to eat oatmeal which I believe is one of the tenants of the Quaker faith. Huh, I was going to put in a Wilford Brimley comment since he is a well-known oatmeal advocate, but I just learned on his Wikipedia page that he is also pro-cockfighting... a strange revelation considering the nature of this post. In fact, I'm so thrown by this revelation that I have lost my train of thought. Regardless, I can only assume that my wife has had some sort of training which allowed her to stop and incapacitate a charging dog.

I took Little Brett inside, washed him off, and cleaned out his wounds. I was not at all certain he was going to survive. He had lost all the feathers on his hindquarters and he had some puncture wounds. You don't really stitch dog bites, you just flush the wound. Apparently, birds don't stitch well either. Still, we figured he would likely need some antibiotics so my wife called around to find an emergency clinic that would see a rooster. She located one about 45 minutes away so we set out from the house.

Although the vet clinic handled birds, they had never cared for a rooster before. They were pretty excited. Brett, not so much. They took him "to the back," and returned him later with oral antibiotics, an oral syringe, and a balm to put on his wounds. Yes, yes... I have to put a balm on my [rooster] three times a day... laugh it up. I also learned that Little Brett weighs in at a hefty 4.3 lbs.

We took him back and set him up in a cage in the house. He's going to pull through, but it's not going to be easy. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to get a rooster to take oral antibiotics. He's not exactly thrilled with the situation, but he is being surprisingly good. Warning, if you have a problem with pictures of blood, overt your eyes and scroll to the end of the post now.

It was a long and stressful day for my boy. He fell asleep right after I set him up in the house.

I am pleased to say that Little Brett is doing fine. His wounds are not pretty, but he will be OK with a little TLC.
Sadly, I have come to the realization that we have 11 animals on Bully Hill: 3 pitbulls, 1 cat, 2 horses, and 5 chickens (Plus the 3 Bumpases with whom I am a bit annoyed, but still love). I fear that we may have crossed some sort of threshold here. I am concerned that from this point forward we will continuously be nursing some injured animal. We just got done with Ellie Mae's injury and now we have this. I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed and hope that is not the case.


heyotwell said...

Wow, what a story. Your description of my sister is very endearing.

I'm not sure if it's my Quaker upbringing, but I've always hated Willford Brimley purely because in some ad he once said that "Apple pie for breakfast doesn't seem like the right thing to do", when it's perfectly obvious that it's the best breakfast ever.

BFP said...

Quite obviously, Mr. Brimley hates everything good and pure. Then again, maybe his doctor told him to cut out sweets for breakfast... he does have the diabetes and all.