Although I consider myself an early-riser, to me that means I get up sometime after 7:30am. I so dislike getting up in the wee hours that I once considered whether I really wanted to go to Germany when my flight required I be at the airport at 4:00am. In the end I went, but there was a large amount of mumbling complaints and requests for gallon jugs of coffee.

This morning, however, I shot straight out of bed at 5:00 without a second’s hesitation. I heard it: the crow. The rooster among us was awake and crowing in my quiet, residential neighborhood. I threw on a sweater and staked out the coop from our living room window, frantically wiping sleep from my eyes and trying to get focus on the two suspects’ mouths: Edna and Stella.

After about 30 minutes I noticed a trend with Edna (the new araucana). She (he) would put her (his) head out with mouth open, as if to crow, but nothing would come out. Every once in awhile there would be an audible mini puff of a crow. It was like watching a teenager try to talk in a low voice, but a squeak would still sneak out here and there. That’s the best way I can describe it. So Edna, now called Ed, is our crower.

But wait – the plot thickens! I have noticed that Ed seems to get picked on. From time to time he seems to get little bald spots on his back from getting pecked. I always assumed he just fell to the bottom of the pecking order. But what I witnessed this morning makes me think there are actually TWO roosters among us.

As I continued to watch them, I noticed Stella (the new plymouth rock) was picking on Ed a lot. Eventually they got into a “stare off”. Both had their necks protruding, holding steady eye contact, and neither was backing down. Then they started jutting their heads back and forth a bit. Then things got really crazy, they both fluffed up their neck feathers, and some sort of squirmish followed. Basically, I think I just witnessed my first cock fight. At 5:40am, no less.

So what to do? We can’t have cock fights and crowing going on in our little urban food forest. The roosters need to go. Here’s an idea I have been mulling over that may make me lose a few readers… Keep in mind that the chances of me finding a nearby farm needing a rooster are slim. If I sold him/them on Craig’s List, someone will probably buy him/them for meat. If I took him/them to a feed store, they would probably sell him/them for meat. See where I am going here?

Is it insane if I butcher Ed, our for-sure rooster, in my backyard? (I still want to see Stella crow before his/her fate is determined)

The first time this thought occurred to me, I even thought I was crazy. But as I thought about it more, I realized that this is what people do on farms all the time. But I’m a city girl. Yet I’m still straddling the line between city-girl and farmer by raising chickens – basically I’m an urban homesteader. So does that difference really make it so morbid? I’ve gone hunting for meat. I buy free-range chicken for meat. Isn’t this kind one step in that same direction? Discuss.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson