I learn something new about chickens and race horses

Yesterday afternoon we participated with our church’s usual Trunk or Treat outreach. We took a few of our chickens to the city, including our young cockeral Bucephalus. Here he is with little Mack. Behind the cock are Butterscotch, a bantam hen, and one of our Rhode Island Red oshlots. When this picture was taken, we had been handing out candy and visiting with folks for a couple of hours and both the rooster and the boy were ready to go home.

"Think we've had enough of the City, Mum."

“Think we’ve had enough of the City, Mum.”

It was an absolutely perfect, sparkling October afternoon, and it was a great event. I ate too many tiny chocolate bars, but oh well. There is something so heart-warming about watching all the little princesses and ninjas and ballerinas and gypsies dip their hands shyly into our candy bowl to pull out their favorites.

I learned something new

That reminds me of a couple of Halloween stories about our two oldest sons. Bryan has told these stories many times, to illustrate the personality differences in these two boys, so I guess it’s my turn.

When our oldest son Matthew was about three years old, we were walking him around our neighborhood to do a little trick-or-treating. He had been carefully coached by his parents to a) Take only one treat per house, and b) To always say thank-you. At our neighbor Mrs. Wurst’s house, the door opened. Matthew uttered the proper phrase, and the kind lady held out a large bowl of tiny tootsie-rolls. Matthew dutifully took one little candy, and dutifully said thank you. Mrs. Wurst chuckled, and said “Oh honey, you can take another one.”

At which point our little over-parented, over-coached, conscientious little fella thought for a second, put down the tootsie-roll he had chosen and took . . . another one.

On the other hand. A couple of years later, when Andrew was about the same age, a similar opportunity presented itself to him–a nice lady at church had a big bowl of chocolate candies that she was passing around to the children. Our Andrew, of a much different temperament from his older brother (and possessing an incurable sweet tooth), spread his little fingers as widely as possible and dug deep into the candy bowl, pulling out an enormous handful of candy and dropping it into his bag.

“Why, sweetie,” laughed the nice lady. “I don’t think you could have gotten another chocolate in your hand if you had tried to!”

Andrew gazed up hopefully at the lady and said “I have pockets!!”

IMG_5017

We visited with one man at the event who had spent much of his life training Thoroughbred racing horses, “from California to New York to Texas.” He admired our roosters and told us many tales about how all the big stables that he worked with would keep roosters in the stalls with the race horses. Apparently the high-strung animals would go stir crazy when forced to stay inside the stalls for too long, but adding another creature, even just a rooster, would calm them down and make the stalls bearable.

I thought that was such a neat story, that I went home and did a search for roosters and race horses on the internet, but I guess not many of those stories have made it onto the world wide web yet, because I found very little. I did find this lovely painting by Theodore Gericault, though, on Wikipedia.

study-for-horse-turned-right-with-three-hens-and-a-rooster.jpg!Blog

And I remembered that when we kept horses, we always had a hen who preferred spending nights with the horses to going into the coop with the other chickens. Bethie used to bring in the eggs from the horse stall to me.

Even a chicken can be better company than nothing, eh? I have got to say that I’m happy for the company of my chickens. They keep our place from being too quiet at times. Which reminds me . . . it’s time for me to get out there and let them out of their coop. It’s time for the day to start!

Have a great one, Gentle Reader!

By the way, I’m sharing this post with the nice folks over at The Prairie Homestead Blog Hop and also the great folks over at Frugally Sustainable Blog Hop. Join us!

12 thoughts on “I learn something new about chickens and race horses

  1. Chef William

    A lot of nice stories today. Here in Mexico we have two roasters and a half doz. chickens at the moment. We had more chickens but because they are free range, that seems to mean free dinner to some of the people living a few yards from our property………what ya gonna do. it is what it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    Did a quick Internet search and found this question to a vet: “Does keeping chickens in a barn with race horses increase the risk of west nile virus in our horses? “(the answer was no). So, it would seem some people do keep chickens and race horses together. Interesting.

  3. Francene Stanley

    Great storied comparing the boy’s different way of looking at things. I love the painting of the horse waccompanied by chickens in the stable. Horses are some of my favorite creatures–that and a bantam hen. They both have kind eyes. If only they could communicate with us.

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