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July 4th, 2013

Don Juan Draper

Another pullet went trans-gender on us last week.  We’d ordered a sexed run in February, meaning all female (you don’t need a rooster to have eggs), and one of the Araucanas had always seemed a bit butch – less chat and gossip, more heavy lifting – so I had my suspicions.

SGF JULY-3531

It’s good to be king.

Then suddenly, a strident, piercing yodel, and all the aloof and indomitable maleness that follows. I’ve had to assert my alpha to his beta, of course, but the fluttering harem is his. Now the crow is all day long, a sexual marathon of carping because he just can’t get enough (meanwhile, we can get an oeuff from our teenage harpies!)

We’ve called the newly-outed rooster Don Draper, after the over-sexed drunk on Mad Men, and just to stay on theme, our little covey of Peking ducks are Joan and Peggy. The rest of the hens are just flirty, egg-laying extras, hoping Don will offer them a drink and a shag.

SGF JULY-3455Mr. Draper on the prowl for a bit of tail feather.

I’m of two minds about roosters. They’re more imperious and beautiful than the hens, so points there for my meddlesome camera and me, but the noise and the rough sex are alarming–like a neighbor with multiple clients in cuffs and leather. There’s also not a lot of sweet feathered courtship or foreplay. It’s all frenetic, sexual hop-scotch (or would that be Kentucky bourbon for Don?)

Having a rooster around is an encounter with maleness at its most primal:  All the territorial machismo, the rampant, brutish polygamy, the subjugation of females.  But it’s best not to project onto nature; she has her reasons.  It’s only when we intervene and skew the balance that the trouble begins.

SGF JULY-3686Je t’embraceCarrot love is slow and sweet, unlike the debauchery above ground.

Mornings are the busiest for Mr. Draper. He wakes with a few good crows, then romps through the orchard, downing dead cicadas for protein and a few stray berries for breath, before going on the prowl–coming on to whatever bit of fluff will have him.

Because he’s still such a callow lover, he hasn’t yet learned the slow, copulatory waltz of chicken wooing: one wing down and extended, a rhythmic sway around the hen. His efforts are graceless and awkward, like any teenager.

SGF JULY-3283Don, Joan, Peggy.

For the hens, who are still learning to master in the submissive come-hither crouch, this is just the laying before the laying. Let Don Juan Draper have his moment, then it’s on to the important business of domestic squabbling over roosts and worm scraps.

Don is a future king. Though still too slight of crown and feather, he will enter his prime in the next year, a princely young cockerel to be reckoned with.  –Mb

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