From early on, we had our suspicions about Sister Evangeline. She had large feet, and she grew unusually fast. Still, she was gentle enough, though she didn’t like to be petted like the other hens. And she did not have the flashy comb that roosters (or so I thought) are supposed to have.
The first convincing sign came about three weeks ago, when there was a strange noise from inside the fence that scared the cat and me both. It sounded vaguely like a fox barking. But when I dashed to the door and looked, I saw an adolescent rooster practicing his crowing.
The second convincing sign started about two weeks ago. Watching chickens do it is not a pretty sight. It looks like rape to me, and now it happens first thing every morning, as soon as I let the chickens out, and again at random times during the day. He pinches the hens on the back, or on the back of the neck, to hold them still while he does his ugly little thing. The hens squawk. But so far no one seems to have been hurt.
I’ve been opposed to having a rooster, for several reasons. For one, they don’t lay eggs. For two, they make a lot of noise. For three, they can be mean. I have very clear memories of a rooster who used to flog me when I was a child and was sent to the barn to feed the chickens. I came home from school one day, and he was in the oven.
However, Brother Evangeline doesn’t spend a lot of time crowing. And, so far, he has never been aggressive with me. He continues to spat with Patience, the oldest and largest hen, but she hasn’t backed down yet and given up her place at the top of the pecking order, and they have not hurt each other.
So I guess the abbey’s nunnery is stuck with a rooster.