The next morning he was back under the hedge. Looking miserable. But no blood this time. Right, no more of this moping around. I dragged him out from under the hedge. Picked him up. Walked back to the hen coop. I remembered the vet had told me he needs to be with his flock for optimum recovery.
A strange thing happened as we neared the coop. He started tensing up in my arms. Looking increasingly nervous. I put him down on the ground so he could make his own way to his flock. Out of nowhere the three remaining scruffy roosters appeared. Started chasing poor Horace around, pecking him.
Suddenly all the pieces started falling into place. Like a kind of B-grade movie where the hero(ine) eventually gets it and the director spells it out in a manner that the target audience with the target IQ will understand.
No sign of a struggle. Dried blood on his head. No damage to his claws. He wasn’t fighting off a predator at all. We had a little coup going on right under our noses. So I shut Horace in the hen coop by himself. We had snow forecast in the next few days. He was literally going to freeze to death if the three feathered insurgents ran him off again.
It was time for a family group conference. Do we let nature take its course and let the best rooster win? Or do we load the dice?
We decided we were going to get rid of the three insurgents. That afternoon. How were we going to explain this to the kids? It was quite easy. We’ve been living in rural New Zealand for a few years now. We only eat “naughty” animals. I’ve perfected the technique of looking at an animal almost ready for the freezer. Sucking air through my teeth. Telling the kids that it’s starting to look a bit naughty.
The boys were really quite excited by the idea. Our daughter wasn’t so enthusiastic. But something had to be done. And quickly.