I own a rooster. Not intentionally it’s true, but I own him anyway. He wasn’t bad as a young chicken, but as he got older, he started picking on our hens and eventually had to be separated from his lady loves. Now he spends nights in a covered cage so he’ll disturb the neighbors less with his completely random crowing. Days, he runs around our yard scratching and screaming. Especially if you’re on the phone. and especially if you need him to be quiet. Add this to the fact he has 3 inch ice pick sharp spurs on each foot, and that he loves to use them on people, especially me, and I spend a lot of time angry at the jerk.
Today he was doing his usual dance, yelling about every cloud or bird that flew across the yard, threatening me, and generally being annoying. I shut the door so I could make some calls, and after a while I noticed it was quiet outside. This was pretty unusual, so I went to look around. Butters the rooster was standing in the yard with a big chunk of Cholla stuck to his comb, struggling to get it off.
For those who don’t know about Cholla, it’s not much fun. The branches are covered with 2 inch needles that have microscopic hooks on the end. when you just barely brush them, they stick and pull in more stickers. To make them even more evil, the branches are made out of small segments, and they break off the main plant really easily. this means that if you brush against one, a chunk of it will stick to you until you pull it out, which is not an easy task because of the hooks I mentioned.
Anyway our hero was standing outside the back door with a piece of cactus the size of his head stuck to his comb. Even though he was being quiet, he wasn’t about to let his guard down. He sprinted away from me any time I got close to him, flopping his new Cholla head as he ran. I finally decided to chase him into his cage, so I left his door open and set up a portable fence to herd him into it. Once he went inside, I climbed in the cage with him, cornered him and grabbed him by his giant spurs. While I held him upside down and he flopped around for all he was worth, I pulled the cholla off, and only got a couple thorns in myself in the process (In cholla terms this is a good thing!)
Still carrying him by the feet, I took him inside and found a pair of tweezers to pull the broken needles out. Like they usually do, the cactus left tiny holes that bled a little and then stopped, so the rooster had bloody freckles all over his head when he decided to shake off real good and sprayed blood on my t-shirt.
I finally let him go in the yard, and he wasn’t grateful at all. He even offered to kick my butt by dropping his wing and coming at me sideways. It was a relief to see him acting normally again, and as he got back to his job of guarding the yard and warning about every cloud in the sky, I went back to my work on the phone. This time I didn’t forget to shut the door!