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Lucky Pierre - Marans roosterIt’s been a L-O-N-G time since my last post.  What with wedding preparations (my oldest son), being up and down with some persistent ailment, and being deluged with web design and maintenance duties (for everyone else’s website – not mine); I let my Fowler’s Farm Fresh site and this blog, fall by the wayside.  Anyway… 

I am happy to report that for the time being we are ‘roosterless’.  Now I have said, and it still is true that one does not need a rooster in order for hens to produce eggs.  So why did a rooster reside for a little over a year at FFF?  

Not long ago I fell in love with, and still do love, the Marans breed.  Marans originated in France and one distinct characteristic, besides slight feathering on the outside edge of their shanks and outer toe is that the hens lay a beautiful dark chocolate brown egg.  In ordering my spring 2013 shipment of day-old chicks, I had hoped to receive a trio (I cockerel and 2 pullets) of Black Copper Marans and possibly rear some of my own Marans in the future.  On the day of hatch, however, I was contacted by the hatchery to inform me that the Marans would not be available.  Very disappointed, I selected some substitution birds of another breed and prepared for the chicks’ arrival. 

When the chicks arrived, much to my surprise and delight, there was one lone Marans cockerel in the box of fluffy ‘peeps’.  This little guy thrived and grew up along with the mixed flock of pullets.  I didn’t have any Marans hens to go with him, but I figured they could be obtained and added at a later date. “Lucky Pierre” was a proud fellow and as he grew he took ownership of the flock and I decided he could stay despite the fact that no eggs would be set for incubation. 

 As he grew, it became clear that a show specimen he was not.  Pierre had a definite thumbprint defect on the side of his comb and his color was somewhat mossy.  As a run-of-the-mill chicken, he was attractive, but he was not going to be heading to the shows any time soon.  In addition to Pierre’s unworthiness as a show or breeding specimen he began to get decidedly “fowl” tempered.  This is not a good thing when you have grandkids who like to go out to help pick up eggs and visit the birds.  It got so bad, I had to arm myself each and every time I went out to collect eggs.  When Pierre would threaten and posture I’d respond with a stern attitude and push him away with my stiff length of rubber hose.  Occasionally I would grab him and press him to the floor, asserting my dominance.  This would work…for a while, and then Pierre would again launch into an aggressive display.  One day I made the mistake of turning my back on him and did he let me have it!  My left leg was so bruised and swollen I could barely move.  After a second vicious attack on me and an assault against one of the granddaughters, it was clear “Lucky Pierre” had to go.  There was no way we were going to leave for our upcoming trip to California to attend our son’s wedding and leave the caretaker to fend for himself against such an aggressive bird. 

Lucky for Pierre, I actually found a couple who was willing to take him off our hands so he narrowly avoided the stew pot.  I told them that this was an aggressive bird and to please proceed with caution.  I refused any monetary compensation because frankly removing him from the premises was payment enough.  

One thing I immediately noticed after Pierre took his leave of us was that all of the hens seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.  No wonder because as is the nature of the male of the species, Pierre’s sexual appetite seemed to know no bounds.  His “favorites” all sported a bald patch on their backs as well as on the back of their heads.  After a few days with no unsolicited sexual advances from the "Marquis de Sade" with which to contend, the hens resumed their contented humming.  All was, once again, right with the world. 

One day I still hope to have a small flock of Marans, but the set up will be different to be sure. So for now it's just us chickens...the 'lady' kind. 


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