She Takes Her Rooster Into the Pool

Last night while Cindy was on the phone I grabbed the TV remote and surfed to a program about chickens. It was all about the chicken business, and about people who love these creatures dearly. One Virginia man rhapsodized about the funny noises his backyard flock emits, and how he lets them wander freely all over his large farm, free to forage for insects and consume as many little pebbles as they want. “They’re incredibly smart,” he said, but eating rocks to me doesn’t make them smart.

Then we met a woman who has a pet rooster. She takes swims in her pool with her gussied up bird, and after the swim she washes him in a tub and blowdries his feathers to an elegant sheen. She even sets up a dainty pillow for him to recline in while he watches Pavarotti sing on the TV. She pampers the bird like a lapdog, and says he’s the best pet she’s ever had, so loving and so faithful.

Cut to the 250 million laying hens who provide us with so many eggs. They live six to a crate, just enough room to turn around, and they never turn out the lights on these eight layers of life in the giant chicken house. I felt sorry for the poor birds, mostly because I know that they are social creatures who love nothing more than to hunt and peck in fields for bugs and pebbles.