The Coup

There was a revolution in the hen house, and Felix the Red (Bantam) was in charge.

The hen house was how Felix thought about it, even though these days the ladies preferred to be called layers, after their occupation, and even though there was another rooster here, Gus.  This is what came from having inexperienced chicken breeders.  They should know that there was absolutely no way you could get away with two roosters in the same coup.  But they had thought since Felix was a bantam rooster, and Gus a gigantic speckled whatever the hell he was, but he was gigantic, they wouldn’t fight.

So far so good, but that was because Gus was dim.  Gus assumed that being so small Felix must be some kind of midget, sport, or undergrown juvenile, and looked at him quizzically, but didn’t try to kill him.  Of course, Felix tried to look as inoffensive as possible, and never let Gus catching him mounting a hen.

Some weeks ago Felix had found The Book and had spent days absorbing its significance.  Now, having got all the ladies… er… layers attention, he held it in front of him, covering most of his body.  It was a long and complex book.  Ten pages and full of drawings.

He opened to the front page, “This is what we come from ladies,” he said, as he showed a giant creature with feathers but also a muzzle and teeth, towering over puny humans.  “This is a t-rex, and he was the great, great, great grandad of us all.”

There were clucks of appreciation.  He flipped through the pages, showing a meteor hitting the Earth and the sad fall of the T-rex, and ending in a picture of a chicken.

“Yeah, and?” Gus said.  He was sullen, because he had found the book while scratching in the yard and failed to pay it any attention.  Felix understood the sting of being bested, and did his best not to smirk at Gus.  Partly because smirking at Gus would be difficult, when all he had was beady chicken eyes and a beak.

“So the genes are still there,” Felix said.  “What we need to do is start a breeding program, in which we breed for the strongest and the fastest, until we attain that size and power again.  Then we shall make the HUMANS lay eggs for us.”

The chickens clucked in appreciation, though Martha, who was getting past her laying years and was skeptical, muttered, “I don’t think that would work.”

“Of course it will.  It’s scientific.  My cousin, who was an experimental animal at a lab for many years,” Felix said.  “Told me the genes for teeth and claws are still in us, and gene manipulators have managed to make chicks be born with teeth and claws.  So a breeding program should bring the T-rex back.”

“Particularly if we breed for gene manipulators,” Martha said, and looked innocent when Felix looked at her.

“This can’t fail.  I say I will be in charge of the breeding schedule,” Felix said. “I will pick the fittest male, and he will breed with all you lad- Layers in rotation, and–”

Suddenly Gus was there, looming.  “That’s all right Felix.  We don’t need a breeding program.  Since we’re breeding for size, it’s obvious who the only qualified rooster is.”  Casually, he shoved Felix aside.  “Now, ladies, we don’t need a schedule.  I’ll get to all of you in turn.”

It was disgusting the way those silly hens clucked and cozied up to Gus.  “We must breed for intelligence, too,” Felix said.  “And ferocity.”

To prove his point, he aimed a peck at Gus’ leg but Martha was in the way, and didn’t at all take kindly to being pecked on the leg.  She chased Felix around the chicken coup, humiliatingly removing many of his brightest feathers in her fury.

All night long, Felix sat in the dark listening to the sounds of Gus having it on with every single chicken.

Life was not fair, and it should be.  There should be a place where Felix’s intelligence and ferocity were appreciated.  Tomorrow, at feeding time, he was going to fly the coup.

… Your guess is as good as mine.  Nope, when I sat down to write a blog this is the ONLY thing that would come out.  Possibly end of book-itis plus prednisone.  We’ve established that pred makes other people angry.  It just removes my internal governor.  And apparently most of what my governor controls is snark and silliness.  Today you get the silliness.

At any rate, you guys have always been able to have fun no matter what I give you.  So, have at it.

 

 

 

 

 

198 responses to “The Coup

  1. That was…disturbing, but in an entertaining way. 😀

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I wonder how Felix’s intelligence will help him against Mr. Fox? 👿

  3. Soooooo, I’m guessing Felix was/is a millenial.

  4. Once again a fatal flaw in a eugenics program is revealed.

  5. Clayton Wrobel

    Oh, Felix will learn when he is the guest of honor at Sunday dinner.

    • Only problem with that is that when the farmer chooses Sunday dinner, he is likely to choose the rooster that actually has some meat on his bones, ie. Gus!

  6. Disgruntled, Felix decided to try his hand at being an actor. He had one big hit, scoring the main part in a film called Chicken Run. Sadly, the sequel, Run Chicken Run, was widely panned for being too confusing: “I wanted to see one full-length film, not three 20-minute shorts,” was the recurring theme of most critics’ reactions — and so Felix’s acting career ended almost as soon as it had begun.

  7. That was…. AMAZING!

  8. I saw a video a ways back of a goose-sized breed of chicken, maybe the Maline breed (from Germany.) Freaky huge.

    • http://chickenbreedslist.com/Largest-Chickens.html
      It depends on how you want to measure. Jersey Giants are generally the heaviest, at around 10 pounds. Malays are lighter, but can stand about 3 feet tall. Langshans and Brahmas are also quite large.

    • One big Brahman Rooster……

      • THAT’S THE ONE.

      • All that chicken, and yet still a brain the size and wattage of a hearing aid battery controlling it all…

        • How is that any different than a Turkey?

          • Turkeys are dumber. No joke. A decade or so back, a heritage turkey breeder talked the State Fair into having turkey racing. (Like piglet racing or dachshund racing.) She explained that when training the turkeys to follow a radio-controlled truck full of feed around the tiny little track, they couldn’t figure it out. She had to teach a chicken to do it, and the chicken taught the turkeys.

            And these were not the butterball dumber-than-dirt white turkeys with the breast so large that they can’t even breed; these were a bit closer to wild turkeys.

            Funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Pity the vice-governor’s wife thought the whole thing was silly (it was!) and degraded the “dignity” of the Fair (what.) They had only a partial run the next year before she asked them to leave.

            • I know a guy who REALLY DID lose birds to drowning from looking up while it was raining.

              Theory: it’s because they were raised inside, and there wasn’t any rain before.

              • Domestics are dumb, often bogglingly so.
                Wild ones can be (‘hey, look, a motorcycle/car coming at me, blaring its horn, I shall stop and ignore it.’ or, attacking its reflection on a truck bumper), but come hunting season and they seem to turn Einstein.

                • Not all. One fellow I knew had a story of one he bagged because it came right up to him, basically committing “suicide by hunter.” He figured he did the species a favor.

      • Clearly the rooster Foghorn Leghorn was modeled after.

        Ah Say, Ah Say, Ah Say c’mere boy!

  9. In despair, Felix took to preaching to the crows. They also liked the idea of dinosaur ancestors. Not that Felix had a clue whether crows also had the genes for teeth and claws–their beaks were rather large–but any audience was better than none. Unfortunately none of the lady crows showed the faintest interest in experimenting. Perhaps . . . hawks? Umm, no. Not a good idea. Really.

  10. If nobody cares about your intelligence and ferocity, only good looks and size, what does that say about your society and it’s culture?

    How many generations did it take to start supporting a more agrarian lifestyle than a hunter-gatherer one? For most people, it depends on the level of immediate benefits. We plant corn we can eat through the entire winter; but if we just hunt, we may not get enough deer, bear, moose, elk, or bison to make it? You mean we don’t have to lose all our teeth at 30 from chewing on hides to soften them, but we can keep our teeth for 20 more years by spinning and weaving cloth instead? Sign us up!

    If we go into a breeding program, our great, great, great, great grandkids can be 10% stronger, 5% faster, have average IQs of 120, and be 10% more resistant to cancer? Yawn. I’ll be next door toffing the neighbor.

    • You ARE aware that this is in no way related to anything serious, right? And no, not related to anything we discussed yesterday. I just woke up with annoying Felix in my head.
      Or did you have your sense of humor ablated at birth?

    • The only evidence we have that Felix is smart is from his own point of view, and that intelligence seems to be largely “willing and able to be sneaky.”

      Felix doesn’t even recognize that the hen with lines (martha?) is at least as smart as he is.

      • I’d argue smarter as she knows what she doesn’t know.

      • I am actually inclined to concede at the start that a literate rooster is reasonably smart. But the limits definitely show, for example, both in failing to acknowledge Martha and in missing the rather obvious immediate result of proposing they breed for size.

        • Since Gus knows what a book is, and both he and Martha accept that the book says what it does, it appears that the three named characters can read.

          I’m more impressed that they’ve got the knowledge for his appeal to having a cousin in a lab meant anything, even if it is genetically fallacious. (I can’t remember if that’s the correct fallacy, I’m horrible at identifying which one is involved, but I couldn’t resist the way it rolled. And yes, I said it in a Lucky voice.)

  11. We’ve established that pred makes other people angry. It just removes my internal governor.


    Second most popular clip from that film.

  12. Farmers are planners. They also watch their herds and flocks and crops with eagle eyes for threats and as well for results.
    Last year Farmer Brown had read in Egg Layer Monthly that some producers had seen a significant increase in egg production with the introduction of a bantam rooster. So he had obtained one from the co-op and turned it loose in the flock along with his tried and true primary rooster.
    Now, a year later, after careful examination of his records he saw a steady decline in eggs produced and sold. He suspected it may have been due to the hyperactive nature of the bantam which never seemed to stop squawking and agitating the flock. Sitting at the grindstone putting a shaving edge on his axe, for he was a kindly man and would see no animal suffer needlessly, he made a mental note to invite that annoying bantam to the annual culling of the hens scheduled for next week. The Lutheran church ladies were coming to process and can all those tough old hens past their prime and adding one scrawny bantam rooster to the lot would barely be noticed.
    And it sure would quiet down the mornings on the farm.

  13. Interesting…chickens live in a coop, not a coup, of course. So I guess the coop coup was stillborn.

    • Comrade, a coop is also short for a cooperative, which means the chickens live in a socialist paradise where they all work together for the common good……

      /sarc

      • Nix the comrade. A coop is a cooperative, a joint effort, and is essentially a business in which all members are shareholders. There’s all sorts of farming cooperatives, usually to promote their principle crop. My father and two other farmers formed a cooperative, though like many small businesses it eventually failed, in our case dissolving without any bankruptcies.

        You are thinking of a collective, a different critter. Collectives tend to be disasters in the making. They also have the pernicious nature of always coming back for another go. Always.

        • Depends a lot on your area– ours has “co-op” being pretty dang socialist*, while the valley we came from had the kind you describe.

          A possible place to look to figure out what is most common in your area is the local Grange. If it’s got a ton of “how to get money from the government for your organic farm” type stuff, it’s probably more communist. If it’s got “fund raiser for (non-trendy cause)” and “weed spray qualification classes” and such, it’s probably a cooperative.

          * they start out on the honor system, and end up with armed security. Literally, in some cases.

      • which means the chickens live in a socialist paradise

        Would that be like a cold war era chicken Kiev?

    • And certainly not a sedan.

    • I was …. being silly.

      • Me too. 🙂

      • Zillyness iss…totally acceptable.

      • I really need some silliness today!

      • And yet this post has the makings for something between Animal Farm and Watership Down. If it’s due to the prednisone, you might as well let it make you some extra money.

        • If it’s not too silly for Chaucer, it’s not too silly for anyone. :;

          Stuff can be hilarious and still have something to it.

        • I agree with Kevin.

          Up to the very end, I thought we were being treated to a parable. The bantam, having decided on a goal that would literally require a change in chicken nature (not to mention human nature in order for them to lay eggs) set out to organize to reach that impossible goal. Being stopped by the established order in the form of the large rooster, he set off to find new acolytes to help him change chickenkind and prepare for his triumphant return to power.

          Your Muse may be hung over and causing you to produce what you see as silliness, but you have the bones of something here.

      • Silly? You? Say it ain’t so!

        Ok, ok, it was entertaining. Please put down the carp.

    • No, they were just waiting for the right time to launch it. Which was, of course, set by a coop coup clock.

    • Michael Houst

      Yeah, I thought it was a deliberate play on words.

  14. The air getting chartreuse out in Colorado these days?

    • no. But I am on prednisone and also inhaled steroids to be able to breathe. For some reason this makes me strange.

      • Prednisone really can mess with your head. I’ve probably had a decade of Prednisone therapy over my life, much of it at 30+mg/day levels for months at a time. (Saved my life from the Crohn’s but gave me osteopenia, the it’s not quite osteopetrosis yet level of bone loss)

        Every time I had my dose increased (usually from tapering down to fast causing flair ups) I got hyperactive for a week or so and COULDN’T READ! It was horrible each time until I adjusted again.

        Evidently I would also be unable to stand still and would do this little dancing bounce thing while talking to someone while my mouth moved 100mph. My friends and coworkers found it hilarious to watch, especially in someone as laid back and introverted as I normally was 🙂

        • I’m having time settling down to write…

        • So prednisone made you ADHD? Weird.

          • ADHD is a fairly good description for about the frist week each time my dose spiked. After that my brain readjusted and I was OK.

            I was on long term doses, high levels, day in and day out for 6-12 months then a year+ of tapering off it since my body chemistry had adjusted to depend on it.

            Most usage of prednisone is in quick tapered sequences lasting less than a week. 1st day at 30mg, 2nd at 25mg, etc. Even there you can see they taper it but can do it quicker since you don’t become so adjusted to it.

            • Before my wife learned how to regulate the dosages, (low and multiple) prednisone resulted in some interesting events, such as painting the boatyard bathroom barn red in the middle of the night and putting little handwritten labels on the contents of the refrigerator. She avoided the drug for years until a life-threatening condition forced us to work out the system used now. I heard someone once say that people on prednisone should wear a big P on their forehead.

              • Polliwog the 'Ette

                Hearing this makes me *very* happy I declined the Prednisone Rx offered for repeated bouts of bronchitis. My kids were with their grandparents while I tried to get the house ready to sell so it was just me and the cat. G-d knows how much damage I could have done, and I would have thought I was going crazy.

                • I haven’t done any damage. It just seems to make me have less of an internal governor than normal, but not by that much.

                • Youngest daughter has lupus (on top of autism, celiac disease, mentally retarded, and vitiligo), and has had to take prednisone a couple of times for lupus flares. I am so thankful that she’s only had to have short courses of it. (I have a sister-in-law who also has lupus, and had to be on P long-term; she’s had both hips replaced because of it, and had mental issues, as well.)

              • Yah, the Big P on the forehead to let people know its not your fault, you just have Prednisone Brain this month. I went through HS and most of College with it… Made my normal Odd self even Odder I suspect 🙂

      • “-er”

        Strange-er

    • Now that New Mexico is no longer donating real estate to Texas, Colorado has started. Y’all can keep your topsoil, you know. We’ve already got plenty down here. (And fires, too, again. This is getting old.)

      • The Southwest always pays in the end for a nice wet winter. Mountains around here are still green for now – but I expect a smoky summer again.

        • here, too, especially since they dont want to clear brush because its natural…. and then they whine and whimper when their upper middle class neighborhoods in the hills are incinerated.

          • There is an increasing movement to managing property in fire country in such a way as to not be clear-cut but also to have a building when you come back after the fire has passed. I don’t know if it’s based on the same guy who wrote a book after years working fires in the forest—he built his own backwoods property, carefully distanced and maintained the vegetation there, and proved his point when a fire raged through the area and his house—and ONLY his house—remained intact.

      • Dorothy Grant

        Heh. I’m watching the sky turn yellow-brown, visibility drop, and airplanes twist and shimmy in their tiedowns. If this ain’t a dust storm, it’s definitely got ambitions to become one.

  15. Felix reminds me of a little Japanese Bantam Rooster we had for years. His name was Acorn (Named after the political group Obama was involved with). Acorn spent his life agitating the chickens, dogs, cats, guinea fowl and me.

    He would hide behind the barn door, waiting for the days when I would foolishly wear shorts instead of jeans because it was 100 + degrees out.

    As I would check for eggs and talk to my hens, Acorn would quietly stalk me, until he flew up and pounced, spurs first, on my bare legs.

    I would bleed profusely from these deep wounds, and I have scars to this day from that rotten little banty rooster.

    One day, I was walking back to the house after playing with the goats. I had my shepherd’s crook with me. By some miracle, I was quick enough to knock that little shit out of the air as he flew to attack me.

    And to my shock, that killed him. The guinea fowl literally gathered around the bantam’s body, making odd little guinea fowl chirps.

    • He might have been inspired by one of my grandma’s bantams. And sorry you killed him, even if he was a little shit.

      • I cried. I did not intend to kill him. He is the first and only critter I’ve killed.

        • I’m surprised he actually died from that. We had a large rooster that kept attacking my young daughters (gave a bare-chested Cedar two bloody wounds in the chest — would have put her eyes out, if she’d been a two-year-old instead of around eight). I whacked him hard with a two-by-four one day and thought I’d killed him (and meant to — I can get mean if something hurts one of my children). He staggered around the yard for a while, but by the next day he was fine. We gave him back to the people who had given him to us, LOL!

          • Michael Houst

            My neighbor had a problematic rooster. Having butchered hundreds of poultry over the years, I helped her prepare him for his farewell dinner after she got a more tractable one.

          • Polliwog the 'Ette

            My Dad didn’t have to do anything to the aggressive rooster we had because the goat got to him first. Rooster sprang at the goat and got a spur caught in her collar. Amazingly, the ride he got didn’t kill him, but he was a much more circumspect bird afterwards.

            • We’ve kept chickens for most of my adult life (and I’ll be sixty soon), and for a long time, every rooster we had was aggressive to some degree. But in the last six or seven years, almost all of my roosters have been pretty decent. I had one that was really good with the hens, but would go after me — I eventually trained him out of it (I’d catch him and carry him around with me while I did chores; also removed his spurs, so he couldn’t really do any damage), but he was still aggressive to anyone he didn’t know. I have five roosters right now, and none of them have shown any signs of aggression to humans.

    • Birds are rather delicate, physically. Even though a raptor can practically gut an adult human, if you get a good smack on them where they aren’t well padded with feathers, you’ll break bones.

    • The story is told of my grandfather that he was being pecked by the rooster. Finally his parents gave him a stick and permission to hit the rooster with it. He did, and killed it….but didn’t stop with the rooster.

    • My mom once accidentally killed the half-bantum rooster that was about to attack my little brother– with a rock, at a range that was about second base to home.

      Dad’s mom round-house kicked one that flew at her, same thing. I think Patrick McManis told a similar story about his mother.

      It DOES suck, even if the little homicidal maniacs were TRYING TO KILL YOU.

      • Yah, but that’s the way they’re WIRED. They can’t help it.

        • Think of them as small feathered dinosaurs without the teeth but with a T-rex attitude.

          • Dorothy Grant

            There might be a reason the teeth got bred out of ’em. If we could breed the teeth back in and leave their beaks strong enough to hatch – or make the eggs more soft and leathery like snakes, so they can survive…

            That way lies madness. Nevermind.

        • They can be taught, at least in some cases– my mom wouldn’t allow a vicious rooster.

          Not entirely because of safety issues, either– we were in an area where cockfighting was a going concern, it’s a good idea to avoid even the apperance of going into the buisness.

          • Heh. I remember, not that many years ago, seeing roosters staked out by little huts. Cockfighting is against the law here, but not the ownership and/or sale of the roosters. Odd that this disappeared when there was a crackdown on cockfighting.

            • Dorothy Grant

              Rooster ownership is against the law in town here. Not for cockfighting, but for… neighborly harmony in the early morning. Noise regulation. A quiet rooster is an overlooked rooster, and his existence is officially ignored.

              • Lamentably, mine is one of the noisier ones – something sets him off at about 5 AM without fail – but the neighbor on one side works nights and has four Basset hounds who give voice if they hear a mouse fart in a high wind, so he has little to complain of. Neighbor on the other side is elderly, her bedroom is on the far side from my house – and she likes watching the chickens anyway. The more distant neighbors are all country-raised, and rather like hearing them.
                We give eggs away regularly to them all. And homemade fudge at Christmas. No, we are not bribing them for silence – really.

      • My parents had a rooster for a while. The bird would attack anyone crossing through “his” yard.
        One day, I’d had enough and kicked him right on the breast bone. Knocked him back about ten feet. He left me alone for the rest of the day.
        The next day, he came at me again and discovered I could kick backward, too.
        After that, we had an Understanding.

        • We have had many roosters. *counting . . .* Eight that were ‘coop roosters’ as opposed to ‘stew pot roosters’, though the current trio is probably unaware that their status is subject to change.
          The first rooster, when I was a kid, was a terror. He was killed by a neighbor’s dog. Of his two sons, one was given to a friend who had a chicken killing dog that needed to learn better. The dog learned, the rooster was subsequently butchered. The other was slightly less stupid or more mannerly, and lived a long life of two or so years until taken out by a hawk.
          As an adult, we had Matthew, who started as Matilda but turned out not to be a she. He was given away, with his flock, due to a move and I don’t know his eventual fate. Then we had Loudmouth, who fell victim to a cougar (we presume, at least he vanished about a week before Fish and Game trapped a cougar), and Roo Two, who was a vicious little snot (okay, Buff Orpington, so big snot) but earned a stay of execution due to successfully defending eight idiot chicks from skunk, he died at three and a half, in the winter. They were succeeded by Top, who has the sense to not attack humans much and is still the Top rooster in the coop, and has two sidekicks, who, if they have names, I have not been informed, though they were only chosen from among ten of the same age to not be dinner a week ago, so I expect names will be forthcoming. (The kids name the chickens.) As Top is three this spring, we don’t expect him to last another winter, and where we live, two roosters is one, and one rooster is none. Note that we have had one rooster only die presumably to none-predation causes. None, in spite of many getting kicked, hit with shovels or other implements, and in at least one case (the first rooster) a bucket of water, have ever died thanks to a human except intentionally by slit throat at butchering time.
          The girls don’t seem to mind having two to three roosters around, but we have a decently sized flock.

      • I have never been able to hit a baseball with a bat, I was so shocked that not only did I connect with that little rooster with my shepherd’s crook – only about an inch in diameter – but I hit him hard enough to kill him! I just wanted to bat him away from me long enough to run inside and put on jeans.

        • The difference is, you were trying to hit the baseball. Because you were not trying to hit the bantam your brain did not interfere with your hand/eye coordination and simply did what your reflexes were attempting.

          When I am not trying to dance I can easily move to a rhythm, but when I insert my intent, my brain, into the circuit the timing just isn’t there.

  16. c4c…another one of those days.

  17. LOL … I had a good laugh this morning because I have met that rooster and survived.

  18. I forsee red wine and a lot of vegetables in that rooster’s future….

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Or he escapes the coop only to learn that it’s safer inside the coop.

      Not sure if it would be “better” if he couldn’t get back in or if he is able to get back in. 😈

    • Dorothy Grant

      Chickens like that explain why I think that revenge is not a dish best served cold; it’s best served steaming hot with a side of garlic bread.

      Bloody Mary was a tough, mean, old hen, but she made the best chicken soup I ever did have. Mmm, lovely steaming brothy revenge…

  19. Martha watched Felix with a wary eye. She had always known Felix was one of the smartest birds in the hen house, but she had never liked or trusted him. If asked, he would probably say that he used his intelligence to come up with ways to improve the lot of all chickenkind. As far as Martha could tell, what he actually used his intelligence for was to enumerate the ways that he was treated unfairly, then make up a few additional entirely imaginary grievances to add to the list. Now he had gotten this dinosaur breeding idea into his head. Martha knew it would never work; she was no slouch in the brains department herself, and she was well aware that if it were even possible, millions of generations would be required. However, she feared what Felix might do in the meantime to try to make his dream a reality. There was nothing so dangerous as an intelligent man determined to force chickens to do the impossible.

    As she watched him, Martha came to a decision. At her age, she had little left to lose. When Felix left the hen house that night, she followed. Felix gave her an annoyed look.

    “What are you doing out here?”

    “I could ask you the same question.”

    “I’m leaving. Going where my ideas are appreciated. If you layers just want that big rooster Gus, I’m going to find others who understand what I’m trying to do.”

    “I know. Do you want company?”

    “Company?”

    “I know you’re much smarter than Gus. I know your serious about this dinosaur idea. And I want to go with you.”

    Felix considered. Having some female companionship would be nice. And it was good that someone appreciated his ideas. Even if it was Martha. He looked at her suspiciously, but her eyes looked innocent and entirely sincere.

    “Very well. You may be the first hen of my flock. Come on. We’re wasting time.”

    Martha breathed a sigh of relief as she started after Felix. Now, whatever he tried to do, hopefully she would be in position to stop him…

  20. Doubting Rich

    It’s a pretty good warning fable of a revolutionary, I think.

  21. Now I’ll be eyeing Larry-Bird, my own backyard rooster with great suspicion. Fortunately, he is not terribly bright,

    • I’ve got five backyard roosters (one needs to go — he hopped the fence from the neighbor’s place, and isn’t the same breed as what I’ve got). So far, they’ve all been well-behaved. I don’t tolerate aggressive roosters for very long, although it is possible to remove the spurs so they can’t do any real damage.

      • And fortunately, Larry-Bird is rather mellow and laid-back for a rooster, or so I understand from other people who have kept chickens. Of course, I don’t think he has ever quite recovered from the fright that he got when he did get into the next door neighbors … and got chased around the yard by the neighbors’ three friendly Basset hounds. Larry-Bird was so humiliated that when we retrieved him, he went straight into the coop and didn’t come out again until the following day.

  22. When I think of the number of neighbors who have tried and failed to raise chickens (live out in the country, lots of predators who are VERY SMART at getting to the chickens), I loved this tale! Thanks for a chuckle on a Saturday morning. All else aside, though, I believe it’s better to be a hawk than a chicken.

    • Umm, I hope you have Fridays off from work (or that your post is dated with someone else’s time zone).

    • Hmm. Around here, most people pen their chickens up like gold bars in Fort Knox (if there is still any gold actually in Fort Knox, LOL!) to keep the predators out. I’ve got a livestock guardian dog, and haven’t lost a chicken to predators in a long time.

      But Sarah’s idea of breeding some T-Rex back into the flock might cure the predator problem in a different way, LOL!

      • Given what mine do to snakes and mice, I doubt any of the T-Rex ever got bred out. Actually, velociraptor is more their size and style.

        Doesn’t matter how well we pen, we have a couple Americana/Americana-Orpington crosses and those gals are *flying* birds. Short of a roof, they only stay in if and when they feel like it. Fortunately, they mostly like hanging out with the heavier birds who don’t hop the six foot fence. (The Americana hatched her first clutch twelve feet up, ON the roof.)

        • I’ve still got some old hens (who are going soon), but the chickens I’m keeping are Whiting True Blues — they have Americauna and Leghorn breeding, and they can fly pretty well, too! I’m getting ready to build a new coop and pens (separate breeding pens) and the pens will have tops on them, LOL! (And if anyone is interested in the breed, Murray McMurray sells them; there is also some info on the internet about them.)

          • I’ve never lived in an area that didn’t have covered pens– are the raccoons just not an issue in your area? Don’t you lose a lot of feed to wild birds? How about hawk predation?

            • Our coop is covered, the runs off the sides are not. Feed is stored in a metal garbage can. The coop main door hass a combo lock. Haven’t had raccoon problems, except for the one Bobbi-dog took offense to: Bobbi had to get stitches, don’t know if the raccoon survived or not.
              The chickens are only fed in the coop. We haven’t had a hawk problem, when the chickens are free they tend to hang in the brush, when they’re in the runs attached to the coop they can hide in the coop. Nor are the fire bombers hawks, though the chickens do the scatter and cover thing for them, too.

    • One of my friends who lives in Montana had a heartbreak a couple of weeks ago when 3/4 of her chickens spontaneously slaughtered one another. And the survivors started eating at the bodies (because they do.)

      Another friend had just found out that sometimes they’ll just go bonkers when the temperature yo-yos, so at least there may be an explanation. But it was really hard on her, especially as her kids are young and very attached.

  23. “We discovered the chickens had undertaken a selective breeding program. By the time we noticed it, they had managed to produce what amounted to small raptors. It was not feasible to take them out one by one, and we estimated they were a matter of days from being able to escape the coop.”
    “So that’s when you called in a bioweapons specialist?”
    “Yes. We needed to control them in a hurry before any escaped into the wild. They had a modified strain of avian flu which knocked down the entire population in a matter of hours. There were some survivors, but those were weakened and easy to kill.”
    “So bio-warfare was the only way to deal with this problem?”
    “Yes, it was absolutely necessary to flu the coop.”

  24. Christopher M. Chupik

    Get an illustrator and this has the makings of a kid’s book.

  25. I feel kind of like Hobbes the Tiger. (blink blink) “How did the chicken learn to read?”

  26. Birthday Girl

    Clever wit vs. brainless brawn, seizing the opportunity, discreet henhouse matriarch, oops foiled again, vikings allusion, puns, greatly enjoyed, thank you! I agree with up-thread poster that I’d like to see Felix’s comeback.

  27. But I do hope whatever Felix is planning, he doesn’t cock it up.

  28. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Talking about roosters, there was a video floating around that I saw.

    We see this cat stalking a mouse but when the mouse makes a break for it, the mouse gets caught (& eaten) by a rooster. 👿

  29. I think we need a new regular feature – Fun Fridays. (So long as it can happen without the prednisone!)

  30. Could we have Chicken Every Sunday? Please? With whipped cream and a cherry on top? And sprinkles?

  31. Maybe it is my own anger at life but two things I never expected here were:

    1. Chicks dig assholes being vindicated.
    2. That non-assholes are losers who deserve to be run off.

    Like I said, I suspect it is my day (week…two weeks) filtering what your broken filter came up with.

    • Felix and Gus are both jerks.

      Gus is the jerk who can mess up a chicken community’s day, but basically he is doing his rooster job. Felix is the jerk who wants to mess up his entire species.

      Of course hens mostly dig big strong roosters, though. They are chickens, not humans.

      It is not a happy story of chicken utopia, and nobody in this story is as sterling a character as Chanticleer or his wise and faithful hen Pertelote. (Or whatever her name was.) And they were flawed, too.

    • I’ll second the “both assholes” that Banshee pointed out– the only reason it doesn’t jump out for Felix is that folks don’t tend to see themselves as villains.

      • I thought it jumped out pretty hard that the eugenicist plotting to take control of everybody’s behavior for his own ends was a jerk, honestly.

  32. But what will happen when the DCP (Dinosaur Chicken Project) meets the RLF? Friends or Foes?

  33. As others said I’d like to see Felix’s misadventures become a series of very punny social commentary.

  34. What sort of self respecting bantam isn’t constantly picking fights with bigger birds? Or even your boots, if you turn your back on the little bastards. Felix needs to up his game!

  35. Dorothy Grant

    A friend of mine who grew up in Nigeria (Lawdog) has plenty to say about the strain of chicken that manages to survive almost-unattended and certainly without supplementary feed in west Africa. He reported he was most confused when he got to another country and the boys called him “chicken.” They weren’t expecting him to agree that damn right he was tough, scrawny, sneaky, and will go straight for your eyes with spurs out without any provocation.

    Apparently, American chickens are almost unbelievably plump and dumb compared to African ones.

    • The one I can’t figure out is “pansy.”

      Seriously, if those things spread at a decent speed they’d be a horrible weed!

      • Some day I’d like to get grips for pistols with pansies on them. I particularly like how they seem to enjoy having the weather dump snow on them! That, and pansies get their name from “panser” in French, implying they are thoughtful.

        If someone ever had to use such a pistol for self defense, I’d also like to see the discombabulations an anti-self-defense prosecutor would have to go through, to try to make hay about the designs on the gun (in contrast to having “Punisher” grips, which I recall Massad Ayoob pointing out that such a prosecutor would have a field day with).

        • Dorothy Grant

          Pansies and roses. Wild roses – like wild blackberries and raspberries, are no fun to find skin-first in the woods!

          • I have a possibly unworkable desire to make a two-barreled upper for the AR-15 where I would load 30-06 bullets using an M1Garand clip from the top, and .223 bullets in a magazine from the bottom.

            The working name for that was “Pansies and Buttercups”, the latter mostly because I like how it flows from the tongue, but also because I couldn’t think of another pretty but tough flower to use.

            I’m going to have to consider “Pansies and Wild Roses” now (although “Pansies and Roses” is probably better…)

            In retrospect, it annoys me that I didn’t even *think* of roses as a candidate flower. (And this, despite being aware of rose bushes being a good ornamental flower to grow under windows as a way to deter people from using those windows for breaking in.)

    • Game chickens will go feral in a heartbeat and do just fine with no human help. Key West is full of feral game chickens.

  36. To CCO and others I apologize for saying Saturday rather than Friday. When you are retired the days/weeks/years seem to run together. Keep working as long as you are physically able to (I stopped only because of heart issues). I guess I am lucky that I loved what I did when I worked. Took me 3 years to reconcile to being retired.
    I have NOT tried to raise chickens! Grandmother on father’s side cured me of that very early thank heavens. On the other hand, I kill most green things that grow by merely touching them. This is odd because my father could stick a broom handle in the ground and it would grow. Genetics are a funny thing. Felix may regret trying for bigger chickens…

  37. I hope this shows up.

    • Dorothy Grant

      “This sad little chicken told me that he was a tyrannosaurus on his mother’s side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humouring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply.”

      (with apologies to Heinlein)

    • Wonderful!

    • There have been a few Rose Is Rose strips where the birds remember their ancestry.

      Two fly into the kitchen — the descendents of the mighty dinosaurs fly where they will! — and Pasquale and Rose think they are scared and sneak about.

  38. Didn’t see a clip of this exchange from the Big Bang Theory, so I’ll just post the transcript…

    Leonard: Have you guys heard about this research team that’s trying to transgenically manipulate chicken DNA to create some sort of chicken dinosaur?

    Sheldon: Oh, I think that sounds wonderful.

    Howard: What? You’re afraid of both dinosaurs and chickens.

    Sheldon: Yes, but tell me a dinosaur chicken salad sandwich wouldn’t hit the Mesozoic spot.

  39. With a name like “Coup”, I expected something more…serious…

    As it stands, the story reminds me of a meme I’d like to see: a picture of an angry rooster saying “We used to be this” with a picture of dinosaurs, “but you now turn my kind into *this*”, and a picture of dinosaur chicken nuggets, ending with a very angry roster “Why do you mock us so cruelly?!?”

    I haven’t seen such a meme, but my wife said she’s seem something like that on Facebook.

  40. The poultry version of “Animal Farm.”

    • There’s the old cartoon of Chicken Little where (spoiler) the Fox wins– this reminds me strongly of that cartoon, retold in a more serious manner.

      It’s the one where the Fox has Marx’s book.