I have got to get myself a better spot in the pecking order

Ever wonder how to get a doctor to laugh uproariously at you when you visit the Urgent Care? Tell him you got attacked by a vicious, vicious rooster. Seriously, he laughed! And not just him, the physician’s assistant AND the receptionist thought it was hysterical. The receptionist was the worst – she asked me why I needed to be seen, and when I explained that Marley the rooster had impaled my leg a few times, she started to snicker. Then she tried to cover it by coughing, then gave up and started guffawing. It probably didn’t help that I couldn’t explain it with a straight face, but still. It also didn’t help my cause that Gene was sitting next to me in the room, scrolling through the photos on his cell phone and showing the doctor pictures of every other critter that’s ever bitten me. The doctor managed to contain his laughter until he saw the picture of the giant fluffy bunny.

I’m not sure why Marley got so stabby on Wednesday; I definitely wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. In fact, I had just dispensed Happy Hen Treats, which made what happened next quite ironic. If I had to hazard a guess, I would attribute Marley’s increased aggression to the fact that the gold-laced Wynadotte rooster has finally found his crow, and thus announced to everyone that he is, indeed, a rooster. Marley must feel like he has to reaffirm his place on the pecking order, a list on which I’m apparently near the bottom. Abigail was there when he attacked, and she said he moved so quickly she didn’t even realize he’d impaled me. The best part was when King Julian came flying out of nowhere and went all MMA on Marley – knocking him down and kicking his feathered butt all over the pasture. Of all the critters, King Julian is the only one who has my back. Marley managed to stick his spurs into my knee a total of four times before King Julian knocked him out of the air, causing enough damage that I could barely walk that night. When the puncture wounds started to look all red and inflamed, I put aside my embarrassment and went to the doctor. Thanks to Marley, I walked out with antibiotics and a tetanus shot.

Other than that drama, things are pretty calm around here. We had our first hard freeze of the season, so I spent this morning chipping ice out of all the waterers. Not my favorite time of the year. All the goats have grown in their shaggy winter coats, and if the amount of shag is any indicator, we’re in for a cold winter this year. I love watching the chickens roost up for the night when it’s cold, because they sleep in piles of cuddles. It’s the cutest thing in the world. I’m putting off relocating the brooding box chicks, since I’m not sure how cold it gets in the big coop. I went to check on them this morning, and panicked when I only counted 13 instead of the usual 14. After searching the garage, I finally moved one of the empty feed bags to see if the chick was hiding behind it. I was totally unprepared for the inside of the bag to erupt in a frenzy of movement. It was strong movement, too, like the kind that a rat could generate. I want props for actually opening the bag and peering in after screaming and jumping five feet in the air. Apparently the chick thought she could roost on the edge of it, and fell inside. Not what I was expecting to find just after dawn.

The chickens are ecstatic because I’ve been winterizing the garden, so they get to come inside and root around to their hearts content. They spend most of the day in there, attacking the rotting tomatoes and helping themselves to bites of rainbow chard. Harvey has yet to discover the open gate in his wanderings, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. I particularly like when Marley goes in there, because I can slam the gate shut and taunt him through the fence. I have to redeem myself somehow, because when he’s outside the fence all he has to do is look at me and I run and hide between King Julian.

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