A lot of people have asked me where I got the name Black
Rooster. Simply put, it is a tribute to my dad. While also being a prodding in his side.
I grew up with chickens. Bantams, to be exact ... mini-chickens. They weren't used for food and we rarely ate their
eggs (mini-eggs, in fact). These chickens were pets. Many were especially tame, including one rooster who would allow me
to lie it upside down in my hand. But this story is not about that particular rooster.
The story is
The black rooster.
You see, we got
a batch of chicks that were all hens and all from the same mother. The color coding on their feathers was brown, with black
tips. After a while, these little birds got so horny that they would crouch down in mating position if someone walked too
So we got a rooster. Not sure what kind it was ... it was a mixture between
a bantam and some kind of fighting breed, or so it seemed.
This rooster had a lot of fun spreading
his seed, so to speak. He was quite a cock, indeed.
Most of his children would follow
the same color pattern, even the roosters, but every once in a while, a hen would hatch that had the exact opposite pattern
... black feathers with a brown tip. Absolutely beautiful, as far as chickens go.
After a couple
of years, an anomaly occurred ... a black rooster, one that matched the pattern of the black hens and was the size of the
bantam hens, unlike the other roosters who were closer to the big rooster's size. The best looking rooster I'd ever owned,
but not old enough to spread his own seed.
Nor was he old enough to mate when my dad told us that we
would be moving to another part of the city. But I could take all my chickens.
I was just a
kid and I always tried to catch my chickens. I would set up a box, with a stick holding it up, a string to pull for the trap,
and a pike of food to lure them in. Two days before we were going to move, I was able to catch the elusive black rooster.
I begged my dad to let me keep it in a cage of some kind for a couple of days, until we moved. But
Dad said no and reassured me that all of the chickens would be caught and taken with us.
I trusted my
Dad. He knew best. So I let him go.
The day of the move came. The chickens were rounded up.
All but the black rooster. Four people chased that damn rooster for at least two hours, one with a huge butterfly net ...
all around our yard, the neighbor's yard (and small grove of pecan trees) ... and even in a nearby field.
Chickens can run. Boy, can they run. And run he did.
At the end of
the day, Dad told me that we would have to leave the black rooster. He would be fine. I wasn't worried about that. Plenty
of neighbors with other chickens. He would have a home. It just wasn't my home. But we had no choice.
We had several batches of baby chicks after that, but not one of them ever made another black rooster.
Now that I'm older, it's just a joke, something I can rib my dad about from time to time. But when
I was a kid, it was a big thing. Just two days earlier, that little bastard was in my hands. Makes me want to go out and
choke a chicken right now.
So there you have it. Silly. Drawn out.
But human. Very human.