In Defense of Roosters

In Defense of Roosters

Seedmother DOES NOT ask for donations.

Seedmother is really an artist and commercial illustrator who happens to have an affinity for "chicken life". Chickens inspire my art and I want to share my appreciation of them with others who feel the same way. I have created an array of quality novelty products for the enjoyment of alektorophiles. (I made that up, alektorophobia means fear of chickens so I constructed a logical antonym/neologism).

If that sentiment and my artistic expression strikes your fancy as an effort worth supporting, I appreciate your business. But regardless, please enjoy, read the stories and maybe share a laugh or a tear. The stories are anthropomorphized but largely true, although, I've taken a few liberties with the chronology.

It's best to read the episodes from oldest to newest if this is your first visit.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rusty's Redemption and Seedmother Learns about Heteropaternal Superfecundation!

It seemed to me that after Sola brought those chicks out, Rusty underwent a personality change, some epiphany had transformed him. He seemed to take a singular interest in his Sis and the kids. At first I just thought he was hanging around with them to get an extra portion of seeds but I began to notice that he wasn't really eating, he certainly wasn't competing with the chicks for food, he was just sort of standing watch. He even brought over a few twigs and placed them in front of the little family, they even sunbathed and dirt dusted together.

I started jokingly calling him Uncle Rusty Pinklegs, he seemed so sweet and tolerant of his nieces and nephews. One day during a mongoose attack, I ran out and he was next to Sola sounding off the emergency warning system right alongside her.

How sweet, I thought…how brotherly…how avuncular…wait…a…minute…yikes…are those chicks…ooooh…but…they're bro…she's his Sis…whoa, wait a minute…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

First Flight

This episode speaks entirely for itself!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Survival of the Fastest & Most Obedient

We've watched many generations of chicks come and go during our time in the Ko‘olau rain forest and it's always sad as we watch mother nature perform her dispassionate balancing act.

The mongoose in Hawaii were brought in by some brilliant interloper to control the rat population but who apparently didn't consider the fact that rats are nocturnal and mongoose work during the day. They coexist quite agreeably and both have proliferated beyond control. Rats are disgusting enough but mongoose engage in a despicable practice, they suck eggs and eat little chicks and other small birds — most uncivilized. They have devastated the native bird species, evil little weasels! If there is a chicken boogeyman, it's the mongoose.

It's typical for Moa hens to hatch out up to 14 or 15 chicks, the hen will parade the "adorables" around, showing them off and teaching them their lessons. But every morning there will be one or two chicks missing. They usually end up with four or less that mature.

The hen and chicks stay connected by means of a sonic beeping system, the chicks peep continually and the hen emits a constant cluck that keeps the family together. When there is a threat the hen will stand up at attention with her neck stretched out and everyone shuts up. The chicks huddle together and wait for her instructions. If the attack is real she sounds the alarm and everyone scatters in different directions, ingenious really. One might get hit, like poor little Chester but the scattering ensures that there will be survivors. She will actually sacrifice herself to save the kids.

After the horror is over the hen resumes her clucking and all the chicks peep loudly and rejoin her one by one. They come from every direction. She takes the first arrivals along with her as she hunts to recover the rest. If she can hear them, she'll get them back.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I finally accepted that Sola wasn't going to let me do anything more than be the seedmom from a distance…so I reluctantly accepted her chicken wisdom and stayed back. However, those chicks were never wanting for seeds.

But life is cruel even for the innocent. A true life drama over the next day presented me with a moral dilemma. We heard the chicken alarm and ran outside to find that one of the hatchlings had been attacked by a mongoose and was badly injured and I had to sit by and watch nature work it's harsh justice.
Poor little chick was stunned and couldn't get up so I put him on a cool green ap‘e leaf so he could die in peace. They rarely recover but amazingly after a few hours he was able to hop on one leg. It was pitiful watching him try to keep up with Sola and the brood. I kept coaxing her near him with seeds so he wouldn't have to work so hard. Finally he learned to follow her clucking and I thought he might be ok but then I saw her, along with the other chicks, pecking him mercilessly. Then she started picking him up in her beak and tossing him. Poor little guy, just kept hopping after her. Tragic nature.
I named him Chester (from Gunsmoke). We've tried saving injured chicks before, they always seem to die overnight. I was so torn, I could have possibly saved him from his Mom but he never would have been able to take care of himself. We listened to his pitiful peeping under the house until dark…now he's gone, we won't ever know how he died. Poor little Chester, I hope he went peacefully.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sista Sola

She was the sweetest baby hen and the most hungry. No matter where she was in the yard when I shook the peanut can she would come running. She was the smartest and almost always got the morning cockroach which was delivered in a yogurt container to whoever was the fastest. She and Rusty were the only chickens who would would let me touch them but she alone would hop up into my lap looking for seeds. I was devastated when she turned up missing.

Irv was chased off and joined up with Henry's group after Rusty had become incorrigible and Sola, I supposed, was just mortified at how he had besmirched the family, well she was gone. The other hens, Goldie, Queenie, Penny, the Ladies Grey (4 0f them), Lucy (the redhead), Carmen (gorgeous black and gold), were beautiful and all but they just couldn't fill the gap, I missed my Sista!

Imagine my delight when John came home one day and announced that he knew where she was! "Where?" "Just come outside, look under the house".
OMG!!!!!! There she was with 12 little puff balls! She was looking so proud, and had definitely changed into a fully developed chicken woman! I was beside myself, I immediately forgot my obsession with Rusty and settled into being a doting Auntie. They were adorable!! More adorables, Oh joy! And I had an automatic "in" with them, after all, Sola was my Sis.
But wait, not so fast, as I bent over, all of a sudden she puffed up to three times her normal width and shrieked, "hands off", these are mine! "Whoa! But Sis"…she wouldn't hear it, "back off seedmutha", you can look but no touché, understand, yeah?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rusty Pinklegs

He was by far the most troublesome and charming manchicken! I couldn't keep my eyes off him, he was so uncommonly handsome and had just "that way" of looking at you from under his jaunty comb. And he was a big problem.

Before the kids came, John & I had enjoyed casually hanging out with and occasionally serving lunch to the local chickens on the outskirts of the yard but in the case of Rusty, our nurturing turned out to be a big mistake, I blame it all on love, animal love.

In spite of being reared by a foreign, non-species family and spoiled rotten…and…having delicate pastel pink legs, Rusty grew up big and strong with a heroic rooster ethic that instinctively drove him to claim the space under the house (right below our place of rest) as his domain. I was all in favor of this territorial acquisition as I thought "the kids" would be safer and started feeding them there so they wouldn't have to risk the dangers of the jungle and those vicious, nasty mongoose to find food. He, Sista Sola and Irving became inseparable in their sanctuary.
But once Rusty started crowing, "RRRRR" things changed. As he found his voice and his confidence grew, he added more syllables, "this is mine, this is all mine" and insisted on broadcasting right under the house below our bed. John regarded this with disfavor but temporarily indulged my maternal reasoning and was mildly tolerant.

So enamored with him, and protective, I would actually leave the bed, before my time, before my coffee! before he started his morning braggadocio, to get his peanut can and coax him for a walk down the road in an attempt keep silence until the menfolk awakened. He'd follow me anywhere for what was in that peanut can, he craved seeds and was accustomed to having his meals paid for. I think he understood that I would not allow any act of aggression toward him and he felt safe under the aegis of my devotion.
As with all pampered pets, his higher instincts began to degenerate and his base instincts started taking over. He became so cocky that he started inviting the other hens in from the yard for crumbs and other fowl fun. Older women who really belonged to Henry. He became a debauched party boy. Irving hung on for a while but Rusty eventually drove him off. And sadly Sola just disappeared.

The place became a political catastrophe. Gimpy, the old lame cockadoodler started challenging him with bloodcurdling objections to Rusty's feathered arrogance. Henry, the gruff, one-eyed dominant patriarch of the outer yard, and keeper of most of the hens became so peeved he would just march into Rusty's den of iniquity and conduct a strident "crow off" in an attempt to reclaim his girls and take Rusty's confidence down. It didn't work, they'd reluctantly return to him but the minute he wasn't paying attention, they'd sneak under the house for more fun with the young and virile Rusty. Juantu, Rambo and Guido, young cockerels, admired his reproductive virtuosity, and were eager to get in on it. They cheered him on vociferously from the sidelines like chicken spectators at a Roman orgy. The din was outrageous, it was a cacophony of deafening proportions! Rusty needed to be dealt with.

Well, as you might imagine, this exacerbated the situation with the man I sleep with (or rather, sleep next to, he wasn't sleeping) and the man's immediate descendant, both of whom had various "ultimate solutions" for Mr. Pinklegs. They advised me to let go, Rusty was old enough to take care of himself, not a chick anymore, etc., and they reminded me that they were both very good shots. A rift was growing between us as Rusty Rooster was stealing my affections and loyalty and I was desperate.

I hated being a cheat but I passionately loved him, I was abjectly possessive, he was MY rooster, he had PINK LEGS! But I couldn't go on much longer during dinner pretending, "A noise, what kind of noise? I didn't hear anything".

In a disingenuous attempt at a diversion, I even convinced John it was all Gimpy's fault. So one afternoon we packed him off into the forest where we hike. Oh! did he give me a toxic look as he hobbled off into the deep jungle after being released from his rubber band leg irons and liberated from John's backpack. I felt like a skunk, but I still had Rusty! It kept on, getting more and more complex and out of control. Eventually I was forced to admit we (er,…I) had a serious problem. I knew there would be a war and I was in the middle of a poultry love triangle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The "Preppies"

Rusty came to us along with Wingtip, Sista Sola and Irving on July Fourth last summer.

Their Mom, Goldie had 25! eggs under her thanks to the other opportunistic hens in the yard. After number 8 hatched she cackled "Enough!" and proceeded to peck the newest little black chick and throw it out of the mailbox, then jumped ship with the lucky first borns. It's true they nested in the mailbox!

John, the man I am pair bonded to, brought the little abandoned peeper in "just to show me" and of course, we had to save it, being the compassionate saps we are. We got a little box, and I naively suggested, "well, just bring all the eggs in, they probably won't even hatch".

I was astonished that eggs start peeping before they actually break through! We ended up hatching out 5 eggs of the 17 orphaned egglings in our bedroom before they dried up. John actually performed a little chicken caesarian section and peeled a couple of them right out of their shells. We did lose most (thank god) they just went inert. Two were murdered, another story, the remaining three became our beloved little chicken kids.
We came to refer to them as "the adorables", we doted & spoiled them to the point that they refused to associate with the rest of the flock. We fed them a special high protein diet of fresh cockroaches, and delicacies from the table. We jokingly called them "Private School Kids", "Preppies". Elitist chicks with a sense of entitlement who insisted on living under the house right below the bedroom where they were born, well, hatched. They just wouldn't move out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Defending Roosters

Roosters start bragging about their various masculine attributes at 4:00 a.m. so they get a lot of criticism and death threats from the neighbors and other members of the household.

But I staunchly defend them—my beautiful dandies.

The hens think it's pretty impressive that they are so articulate at that hour so they ruffle up and bend over to show their petticoats (and whoa! sometimes much more) and pretty much do everything they can to encourage it. I'm in complete agreement with the hens as I think the boys show ambition and a readiness to get down to the job of protecting and providing but mostly —— being attractive. By the time the sun is up they are all preened and looking just gorgeous. I try to be out there bright and early to take their portraits while they are fresh and gleaming. I have seeds of many colors to encourage cooperative behavior.

Also, coercing them to associate with me, I feel I must protect them from the sleep craving basketball players who have been up all night playing WOW and talking scat on myspace. They really want to wring their necks and stew them but I assure them that I would cry and carry on and make their lives not worth living.

So I keep my roosterboys reasonably safe from becoming comestibles.