Rooster At Large

Ranging Free

Barbadian livestock have tended in the main to be “free range” even before the term became popular. ¬† Regardless of type, very few have remained housed or cooped up in one habitat or area exclusively as their owners sought to give them fodder and exercise and introduce them to new delights. ūüôā ¬†The animals too seem to know the meals that suit them best and will forage intuitively in new areas for the grass or small stones that supply their dietary needs.

Mind you, some owners may not have been good shepherds but laid-back entrepreneurs who knew that they only had to ‘wait for the cows to come home’.

I have seen pigs a-roaming, dogs a-straying, sheep a-wandering, bulls and cows meandering, ducks a-waddling, goats a-skipping, and chickens crossing roads. And this not only in the countryside or rural areas.

Traditionally, many Barbadians have kept livestock to supplement their income, and to feed themselves. Quite a few also do it as a sole means of livelihood.

I came across this Rooster checking out hens and chicks as they played hide-and-seek in the bush on a side street,  in an urban verging on suburban area. Their actual home could be anywhere within a square mile of this place! Probably not.

The Government’s Ministry of Agriculture through its animal husbandry team has over the years seen to it that commercial big and small farmers have kept to the proper guidelines as befitting their status as food providers. ¬†However, the regular householder who only supplies himself and his neighbours or friends might not take kindly to the heavy-handed government treatment. ¬†After all, it is tradition passed down from previous generations. ¬†We keep a few animals or stock in the backyard and come time we slaughter and share.

This roaming feathered animal reminded me of fun times.   When I was a youngster we kept fowls. I did not a lot.

I would help wash down the ‘fowl-run’ with the hose pipe, get pleasingly soaked, and get the hosepipe removed from my little hands. ¬†I was sort of afraid of collecting eggs even with the great instructions I was given, but could not retain. ¬†So I would bring in one or two eggs and let everyone know that they were others out there, but the hens wouldn’t budge or the Cock was looking at me funny-like.

I loved the clucking pic-picking noises and the Rooster’s crowing at night morning daytime…whenever he felt good I guess. I liked feeding them the corn, you could do that from a distance; and I even sort of liked the look of the ‘fowl dung’. ¬†Interesting texture and colours that I was not tempted to taste.

On this occasion, on this side-street, had I not been carrying my new camera, I would have tried catching a hen!  Probably not.

Oh the joyful memories of chasing a chicken ranging free, and ending up with grazed knees and stone-pocked bleeding hands!



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