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The Peacemaker - Scotta The Rooster
Corn Flakes sounds the alarm.
Peacemaker. I've seen people going out of their way to break up fights, say an encouraging word, make someone smile, and fill a void in someone's soul - but a rooster?! Scotta is such a rooster.
While having 13 roosters in our home is unheard off, we did it. They are five adults' entertainment, distraction and school in humility. Not planned, we have them and are not able to kill them or sell them. Imagine a gang of 13 young, strong and Spring-filled roosters who vie noisily for top spot every day. Oh, we made plans: they were to be our food - nope, I named them; we planned on selling their feathers for fashionable hair dos - fad passed; stud-ville was considered - but there were no takers. As with our dogs, man proposes and God disposes. Now we have 13 roosters and seven hens giving me plenty of material to meditate and write about.
You'd think the hens would be happy with a guy surplus. Three of the hens run to the house for safety while the other four climb up a white pine tree. I've had to put food and water on a tree branch for them to eat. But, let me explain what happened to our Golden Polish Phyllis (with all due respect we have named her after Phyllis Diller in honor of her wonderful wigs.) Phyllis just acquired a new nickname: the Franciscan Shania Twain. How do these incongruous names come together? Well, her beautiful coif has been plucked by the roosters leaving a perfect circle in the back of her head, much like a Franciscan tonsure. Her colorful back plumage no longer covers her since the roosters' spurs also reveal her bare skin around mid-back, hence the reference to Shania Twain. We come to her rescue often enough, but the roosters attack in seconds. You should see what happens when you remove hens from a brood of roosters: chaps are not enough to protect people's legs.
Fights between roosters can get pretty nasty. This is when the peacemaker walks in: a 12-pounder, red rooster loaded with love named Scotta. He crowed much later than his counterparts so I believed him to be a chicken. Boy, does he crow now, especially when the girls are around. I greet him with "Scotta, my Scotta!" and he dashes across the yard bouncing his bubbly body ahead of the other roos. He runs to my knees and rests his neck for a rubdown. "Coo, coo, coo," he speaks happily to my heart.
What makes this gentle giant so endearing to me? One beautiful quality: Even though he's so large and strong, and has faced off many rivals, he walks between fighting cocks and breaks up their fights. He has exemplified this amazing behavior over and again. He is second to Scotty, the leader, and has fought him on few occasions, but they back each other in leadership. Scotty is the bully and always on alert. Scotta is the genius with a golden heart.
The other day he showed one more tender quality that broke my heart. I was topping a hawthorn tree I've cared for for three years and hit my knee while climbing the ladder. I saw stars and it was midday! Complaints emerged from my lips, but not loud enough to be heard. Our dogs would have immediately come at such painful sounds, but they're locked in the Dog Motel. So, along came Scotta. He traversed a distance of 50 yards racing a la Refrigerator Perry. He stood as close as he could and cooed my attention into focus, "Rub my neck" he seemed to say, "you'll feel better. And so will I!" I did.
How do animals sense pain in people when as humans we don't even sense each others' pain? Scotta was too far to hear my grunts and a truck, plus the dogs' kennels stood between us. The loneliest of feelings is to overcome pain alone. God used a little giant rooster to touch my heart and tell me, "you're not alone."
Scotta's peacemaker quality outdoes all others. Once cocks start an argument they focus all their attention on their rival and fight until one yields. Sadly, in the cockfighting sport people have taken this quality and heightened it so the cocks will fight until one dies.
Cocks naturally fight with each other to decide who will lead. Their existence depends on the strongest leading wisely. A red-tailed hawk overflies the brood and the lead cock will sound the alarm. All will follow in a sing-song warning that scares away even bears. Their fights last little and someone always yields.
Corn Flakes is one of the smaller cocks and a feisty one. He has a special way to attack the larger roosters. I call it the jujitsu attack. He sneaks up behind his opponent and pushes him while screeching loudly. He scares the hibbyjibbies out of the offended cock. When that one turns to retaliate Corn Flakes is gone. But should Corn Flakes face another roo his own size yielding and running don't apply. They face each other, flare their necks, show their spurs in mid air and peck madly. This is where Scotta comes in. On many occasions he has walked between the flaring cocks and diverted their focus pecked repeatedly by either party. He doesn't answer back.
The world would be a happier place to live in if people were more like a humble rooster. That is, like Scotta the peacemaker.