Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Morning on the Prairie

This morning we awoke to a Cacophony of Cock-a-doodle-doos. Chris was first to get out of bed and out the door to open the barns and houses. As the doors swing open, a flurry of feathers come rushing out to greet the morning sun.

All of the birds LOVE a morning after a midnight rainstorm. The grasses are wet and bugs are abundant. New growth is freshly sprouted too... just waiting to be discovered by the curios and energetic roosters and hens. 

As soon as one of the roosters finds an especially interesting morsel, with the utmost chivalry, he summons the hungry hens so they can have first nibble. While he goes through the barnyard pointing out piles of freshly scattered scratch grains and other delicacies, he stops every few feet to scan for potential dangers. He is always on the look-out and takes his duties as flock provider and protector very seriously. We humans have a lot learn from these noble, responsible and generous Roosters.

Some of you may have already met John Lee.  He has one of the more dubious tasks of overseeing a large flock of hens and a few young roosters who survived Hurricane Katrina.

These all-white former "broiler" chicks have many difficulties due to their abnormal size and genetics, which were caused by breeding practices meant to make them grow unnaturally fast so that they are full grown and can be at slaughtered at only 7 weeks of age - just innocent babies.

John Lee spends most of his days caring for, teaching, protecting, and loving his flock. The girls adore him and the boys look up to him, and we respect the heck out of him!!!  He even recently 'adopted' a new duck, Duffy. She had been rejected by each of the other duck groupings. Ducks are one of the most difficult animals to introduce into existing flocks. They are extremely territorial and form lifelong mates and bonds with flock members. More on ducks later...  Anyway, Duffy feels very secure and at peace when she is with John Lee. She knows he will not only accept her, but he will also protect her and care for her. He is amazing.

By the Way... John Lee was left to die in a trash can. He was discarded by a "family farm" egg producer. Since roosters don't lay eggs, they are killed by the billions. It doesn't matter if the egg producer is a factory farm, "free-range", or family farm.  The production of eggs for human consumption is one of the most cruel forms of animal abuse, but also one of the most preventable-- go Vegan! John Lee and his brothers deserve to live!

While the ducks, gees, chickens, swan, and turkeys love to scurry through the wet grass and splash in fresh mud puddles, the goats and sheep are far less enthusiastic about getting out of bed on a muddy morning. Slowly but surely they will tip toe out of their barns and head for dryer pasture or pavement.

Isabella, the little black pigmy goat who is as wide as she is tall, lets out the most pathetic of bleats (goat language). One by one, they will all commiserate loudly. The "woe is me" bleat is actually just a warm up for the "Yahoo!" bleat that comes as Marty kicks up his heels while they head out.  The, "Oh I suppose it's not so bad" attitude is contagious and pretty soon the younger and spryer goats are playfully head-butting and jumping as the whole herd welcomes the new day.

Michele Alley-Grubb
© 2006 Michele Alley-Grubb
If living ethically is important to you, please remember that there is nothing humane about “humane” animal farming, just as there is nothing ethical or defensible about consuming its products. When confronted with the fundamental injustice inherent in all animal agriculture—a system that is predicated on inflicting massive, intentional and unnecessary suffering and death on billions of sentient individuals—the only ethical response is to strive to end it, by becoming vegan, not to regulate it by supporting “improved” methods of producing dairy, eggs, meat, wool, leather, silk, honey, and other animal products. For more information, please read The Humane Farming Myth. Live vegan and educate others to do the same.