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June 30, 2008 3:30 PM

Cock-a-doodle . . .Hey! Wait a minute!

Posted by Nancy Leson

When my neighbor Lori called to ask, "Did you hear that crow?" she wasn't referring to the joyful noise of satisfied customers eating roast chicken in Lower Queen Anne:



Nor was she talking about the "caw-caw-CAW-ing" of these hungry neighbors, who were sampling take-out in the parking lot at our local QFC yesterday:



She was talking about one of her "girls," who wasn't a girl at all. She was a he: a three-month old rooster who voiced his first "Oh what a beautiful morrrrrrrning" at 4:45 a.m. on Sunday. Lori, who's been providing me with fresh eggs since her small flock began laying, was appalled.

She's already dealt with the hysteria surrounding her dog-in-the-henhouse problem and the subsequent vet bills for her chicken's face-lift (I kid you not). And more recently, death-by-kittycat. On Sunday she was convinced she'd soon be dealing with unhappy neighbors, thanks to a resident rooster (re)named Roger (formerly known as Rosie). That young bantam, born in March, has been chasing the other girls around the yard ("Why didn't I figure it out?" Lori wailed). As of Sunday noon, a serious intervention was on Lori's agenda.

An otherwise gentle soul, she briefly considered crank-starting him by wringing his neck, and was trying valiently to come up with alternative measures before next daybreak. As the neighborhood's resident Betty Crocker Hotline, I took her call and was up to the challenge. "Get him, ready," I said. "I'll be right down." With her sons near tears she jailed the bird, placed him in a small cage and transported him to the rear of my CRV, watching and waving as I drove off.

I headed straight for Fairbank Farm where my friend, Farmer Dave Fairbank and his wife, Janet, tend five acres in Meadowdale. This was a surprise visit. I usually only see Dave and Janet in the fall, when their farm is open to the public on October weekends. That's when we stock-up on Halloween pumpkins, feed their flock of ducks, geese and chickens, and ooh and ahh over the pygmy goats and baby piglets -- one of which grew into a honking-big hog, butchered last week and barbecued at a big dinner held on the Fairbank's farm to honor their church's volunteers. Roger's life, it turns out, will have a happier ending than that pig's:



When Lori's boys come visit the farm at Halloween, they'll get to visit Roger, too. Farmer Dave (who, for 20 years owned Dave's Petland, in Lynnwood) says the pet bantam will "live out his life" on the farm, and be easy to spot because he'll be smaller than the other chickens. Farmer Janet took an instant liking to Roger. "Look how tame he is!" she said, after taking him in hand, "He must have had a lot of loving":



I'll say! When I returned the empty pen to Lori, I found her hanging out with Roger's sister, Snuggles. . .


. . .whose eggs I expect I'll be eating any day now. Unless, of course, Snuggles starts chasing the other girls around the lawn and cock-a-doodle-doo-ing, like her brother.

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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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