What should be done with a Rooster who is repeatedly attacking its human care taker?
Beyond being an early morning alarm clock, a Rooster does have other functions, one of which is to protect it’s flock from would be daytime predators like hawks, rodents, cats, dogs or whatever else. You see, chicken nor roosters can see at night without light so otherwise, the rooster can only protect during the day. Perhaps that is why as soon as the day breaks he makes his presence known.
Lately, as soon as Roosty, as affectionately named by Reshama is released from the pen, he goes on the attack. That might be okay if he weren’t attacking his bigger, stronger and not to mention hungry human custodian. As soon as Reshama starts collecting the eggs, Roosty charges towards her very aggressively. Is he telling us that he doesn’t want us in the coop taking his girls’ eggs? Maybe, but when I collect eggs why doesn’t he charge me? Sometimes when Reshama is not near the pen nor the eggs, he targets her and boldly goes where no rooster should go. Perhaps her shrieks can be heard across the farm, sorry partner. But in her defense, Roosty can be intimidating when he stands at attention, flairs his neck feathers and darts towards you faster than you’re expecting. In fact, I have recently started standing on guard as she collects to prevent any surprise attacks.
Today however, Roosty has gotten feisty one too many times. I usually let him knows who’s boss but today he didn’t seem to care. He didn’t care about my size, stature nor my fearlessness and charged towards me, not once but twice! Oh no he didn’t! Well, yes. Yes, he did! I quickly put my boot in his face but luckily there was no run-in between the two. As I resumed a normal stance he tried it again. Where was Reshama to see that he wasn’t just picking on her, but that he was an equal opportunity annoyance? This time I took up arms. I grabbed the rake and charged him, chasing him far into the orchard. The nerve of him! I don’t even eat yardbird, but I know plenty who do.
If the culling should start soon, I nominate him, who we have lost our affection for. I don’t even eat yard-bird, but I know plenty who do!
Muslims if physically able, are obligated to fast during the month of Ramadan, which is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The lunar calendar has 12 months like it’s solar counterpart Gregorian calendar however, being based on the phases of the moon. Each month having approximately 29 days makes this calendar 10 or 11 days shy of the solar calendar. With each year Ramadan arrives 10 or so days earlier than the last, and when it falls in the intense heat and long days of summer the practice of abstaining from food, water, arguing or becoming angry, is in my opinion most challenging yet most rewarding.
As you might imagine, fasting can make one quiet and deeply reflective. During one of these treasured moments the thought came to me that the farm(Sarvodaya) was an equalizer. From the least educated to the highly educated, little means to the comfortable, from the disadvantaged to the privileged, we all have an equal exchange on the farm during this training. No matter the status or station in life, each of us must labor in order to receive the fruits of our labor. In this case, the fruit is the skill set of farming. Likened unto Ramadan, farming is a skill that requires discipline that is challenging yet rewarding.
My team partner recently asked, “So, what do you do when you’re not here?” With NO hesitation I said, “Dream about being here!” At the risk of sounding lovesick and infatuated, I LOVE THIS PLACE and I miss it when I’m not here. The labor, although tough at times is so rewarding. For this reason, I feel useful but not used. And because I learn something every time I’m here, I’m eager to do more. It’s even hard to pull away at noon, so I usually keep working until a natural stopping point occurs. I’m living the dream. Mine, anyway.
I feel as though I have been initiated as a farmer, yet another reason I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. “Why,” you ask? Well, last week my fingertips began splitting. First, my right index, middle and ring finger developed small painful fissures. I thought, perhaps I had cut myself while preparing a meal. It wasn’t until later in the week when the same fingers on the left hand started cracking in the same way, that I thought differently. After doing some surface-level research, I learned that I have farmer’s hands. Well, that’s not really a condition but, I just made it one. The sweet pain of hardworking hands. Although I try to keep gloves on, sometimes they just come off. Apparently the soil and various amendments are drying to the skin and can cause this condition. While I appreciate this experience, I will be mindful of gloves and moisturizer.
My team partner Reshama and I, are like children in the nursery. Pun Intended. We are actually being trained in the plant nursery in this first rotation. I love it! The nursery is so full of budding new life and potential. One can’t help but to be excited in this environment. As a result, any given farm day we can be found sharing and laughing and learning from the great Farmer Rishi, of course!
I am so ready to rise at Sarvodaya’s Urban Farmer Training. I am just one of many Sarvodaya future farmer hopefuls willing to improve our communities and beyond through urban farming practices. I am so excited to make this 42 mile journey, three days a week for the next six months in order to be a student of an urban farmer family. For those who may not know, let’s explore what an urban farm is or can be and why it is important.
By definition, urban farming is the practice of growing, cultivating, processing and distributing food in an urban environment. This practice can also include animal husbandry aquaculture be keeping and more. I have been dreaming about my involvement in this practice for years because I realize the critical importance of becoming a food producer on a local level. For me the biggest and most important draw is food security. Have you ever paid attention to where your food comes from and what it takes to get it where you are? Have you given thought to how a labor strike or natural disaster anywhere in the world may affect or even disrupt service to your local markets? Considering these questions and answers perhaps you will have a new appreciation for the importance of an urban farm.
Urban farms like Sarvodaya are usually small lots more or less 1 to 3 acres dab smack in the middle of a residential, business or industrial area, schoolyards and rooftops. I have visited a few and what I love about them all is the incredible amount of diversity living in these densely packed farms. So many plant, fungus, animal, aquaculture, bug and insect species to delight the senses. And not to be overlooked, the diversity in people at each urban farm that I have seen has been inspiring and impactful. I have worked and studied along side various ages, races and nationalities, professions and socioeconomic backgrounds. As all of these different species of people converge from near and far to observe, study and learn Urban Farming and Agriculture I am hopeful that we will also learn how to work together so that ALL will be uplifted to help create and maintain food security for ALL!