Even if the calendar says otherwise, spring is in the air here. Most evident are the calls of the red wing blackbirds, staking their claims to space and women. It’s like a big ol’ honky tonk out in the pasture right now. Come to think of it, I expect the chicken run isn’t much different. I should hang some neon lights out there and put in a keg for decoration, take out the straw and put some sawdust on the floor. Hang some pictures of Jones and Strait. It’s already pretty rustic, and I imagine the attitudes and goings on aren’t much different.
The boys all straighten their combs and perk up their tail feathers trying to impress the ladies. Meanwhile most of the hens are sitting on their roosts watching the boys make fools of themselves. Some of the girls are a little more forward and start to follow one of the boys around. Others stay in groups clucking among themselves, only occasionally casting an eye towards the roosters. Still others, wanton hussies that they are, just walk up to the roosters and crouch to be taken.
It’s always ladies night at this bar though and there are plenty of hens. There are only four boys. One is just old enough to be interested, but not old enough to be interesting. I imagine the girls laugh at his opening lines or his naivety. One is the little guy trying to compensate for his diminutive stature. He goes after the biggest girls and ignores the ones that are interested in him. He’s brash and cocky (go figure), may have a good sense of humor. It’s hard for me to tell though, not speaking chicken. The bigger girls flirt with him and like him because of his boldness, but inside they probably laugh at him too. Personally, I wonder about the mechanics, even if the girls were interested. Generally, the larger roosters pay him no mind because he’s no real threat. Not sure why he’s always after me, except the girls like me better. Maybe after I leave, he tells the girls he chased me off.
But the two biggest roosters are always putting on a show for the girls, and if one of them gets too close to a group, the other one goes after him. Neck feathers ruffle and spurs fly. There are no wing men here. (Well, maybe there are, but I really don’t know what roosters see in hens. Maybe they’re all breast men.) It’s every man for himself, and even though there are five hens to every rooster, the target rich environment does not offer enough to share. It’s as if Maverick and Iceman opted to kill each other rather than split the girls up between them. (Hmm, I think I just figured out names for the next two roosters we get.)
The chickens are all free range. They don’t spend the whole day in the honky tonk, and with 25 acres to explore they find there’s room for all of them. But then night falls, Hank’s on the jukebox again as the neon lights up the sky, and everyone heads back to the bar. The rooster king gathers the hens he wants in the fancy coop and the second takes who’s left into the run after he takes them in the yard. He settles for the other girls, because apparently, in the chicken world at least, old Mickey Gilley was right and the girls all get prettier at closing time.