The Independent

Cowboy in the chicken business

I doubt that a “prize” egg from a “prize” chicken tastes measurably different, but beauty, and perhaps taste, is in eyes and taste-buds of the beholder.

One local cowboy has gone into the chicken business. Milton has six new-to-him hens that he got from someone that raises prize chickens.

The criteria for these particular prize chickens is that some other farmer-type cowboy leased a reputation rooster to put with his run-of-the-mill hens and now he is labeled a prize chicken breeder. Seriously.

Milton is only concerned that they lay eggs. So he built them a pen out of one of those dog kennel kits with cyclone fencing and for a roof he added some old tin he had lying around. Some neighbor gave him a nest box. He deemed this “good” and is expecting prize eggs any day now. It takes so little to entertain a cowboy.

Not one to watch chickens work, Milton went to rope. Upon arrival at his roping partner’s place for practice, things went downhill fast. When his buddy came around the corner of the barn he saw Milton’s ancient one-horse trailer laid over on its side and his horse Boomer was firmly tied to a big oak tree. Boomer was bleeding a little here and there.

Milton was red in the face and mad as one of his prized wet hens. Seems during saddling, Boomer had set back hard while tied to the trailer, pulling it completely over on himself and on Milton.

Milton managed to crawl out from under the trailer and commenced to have a serious “discussion” with Boomer. His roping buddy wasn’t sure which of Boomer’s wounds were from the trailer and which were from the “discussion.”

They tied a rope to the trailer, pulled it back up with the truck and everybody’s consensus was that before them now stood three of the sorriest things a fella could have—the truck, the trailer and the horse.

During the melee of Milton, Boomer and the trailer up-righting event, the roping steers were standing in the snake of the alley leading to the chute, waiting to be roped.

When the ropers finally go to the arena, they found that one of the steers had gotten down in the alley, neck twisted and nose in the dirt while another steer backed over him. Nearly smothered, it took some cowboy CPR (a unique form of encouragement), letting out the lead steer and a good bit of cussing to get the downer on his feet.

He finally he got up, wobbled down to the catch pen and laid back down. The following morning, you couldn’t pick him out of the herd so apparently the short period of oxygen deprivation didn’t cause much brain damage. However with roping steers that is hard to judge.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Ritadammit and Valentine, resident dog and cat, were keeping a close watch on the new cluckers. Not quite sure they liked sharing their domain with chickens and certainly not impressed with their “prize-winning” status, the duo found some satisfaction in knowing that at least the hens would never be housebroke.

But then, neither was the resident cowboy, and he had his own recliner.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com.