“I have a couple of chickens feet you could use,” Steve wrote.
“I’m keen! Naughty rooster?” I replied.
Often roosters are relegated to the pot for their noise and aggression. Steve, a gardener from the Blue Mountains, had gained the reputation of someone who will take unwanted roosters and send them to the pot. Jungle Fowls, Australorps, Croad Langshans, an Araucana and mixed breeds have all come under his knife.
Steve wrote a story for my project, and forever changed my perception of the bird.
A few years ago, I was sitting in my backyard, watching our flock of chooks free ranging with the rooster, Chanticleerix, named after the village rooster in Asterix and Obelix.
A Currawong swooped out of a nearby tree and began an attack. Chanticleerix clucked at the ladies, who promptly sought shelter, while the rooster stood his ground, and faced the attacker.
When the Currawong swooped again, Chanticleerix jumped one and a half meters into the air and attacked the bird. The Currawong took one last swoop, and again, the rooster fought him off.
Since then I’ve noticed that roosters look after the hens in their flock by finding food and stepping back to let the girls eat, before they feed.
Chanticleerix is a gentleman… and a hero!
If you’d like to make a difference to chickens, you can share a story, or contribute feathers and bones. See the bottom of this post for instructions.
Ciara, a friend from work, contributed the head, feet and feathers from her family’s backyard chicken, killed by their dog. Fry, of the duo Stir and Fry, will be immortalised as a cameo, to be attached to a bowl or plate. I’m experimenting with Fry’s feet to make the tongs of a fork and cup handle.
I’m keen to source more heads and feet, so if you come across these chicken parts, stick them in the freezer and contact me!
I’ll be sharing more chicken stories, art making and research as time goes by.