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Episode 4 of 11

TDSP 2-4: The Shooting of Rusty, 1, 2, 3

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station description If you’re a dad (old or young), have a dad, are married to a dad, or just know a da... read more
‎The Dad Story Project
Duration: 11:22
An innocent foray into raising chickens leads our family down a sinister path as our rooster slowly goes insane. Danger lurks around every corner until we no longer bear it and drastic measures must be taken. And while things end with a bang (several, bangs, actually), the terrible conclusion isn&ap
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An innocent foray into raising chickens leads our family down a sinister path as our rooster slowly goes insane. Danger lurks around every corner until we no longer bear it and drastic measures must be taken. And while things end with a bang (several, bangs, actually), the terrible conclusion isn't what you might expect. The takeaway? If you insist on having a rooster, be prepared for carnage (and carry a busted canoe paddle). Music: Purple PlanetShow NotesThe Shooting of Rusty, 1, 2, 3© 2021 The Dad Story Project. All Rights Reserved. thedadstoryproject.comMy friend Stefan is relocating his family from a distant land of asphalt and cul-de-sacs to a tiny town in our beloved Maine. He’s trading endless strings of traffic lights for one-light villages, and 300 days of sunshine a year for, well, January. It’s an intentional, faithful step, full of hope and eagerness and the need for studded snow tires. Many rural adventures await Stefan, Jen, and their daughters, and among them may be a small flock of laying hens. “I want the girls to understand that there are other beings in the world that need care and attention besides themselves,” Stefan told me recently. Thus, he hopes, a dozen tiny chicks will mature into a brood of brightly feathered teachable moments, whose care and protection will also help mature his fledgling daughters. It’s a noble cause and calling, marred slightly, by the inexact art of determining the sex of chicks. What you want are hens, of course, with their accompanying eggs, but a rooster will often sneak into the mix. It’s hard to tell among all those pin feathers. And once snuck, said rooster may raise all sorts of hackles...so to speak. So, for Stefan and any others among you contemplating the classic rural scene of a front dooryard flocked with adorable hens scratching among the perennials and gobbling up yummy invertebrates, let this be a cautionary tale; for among the all and sundry farmy accouterments of chicken rearing, you may also need a large-bore weapon.Before I begin, I must warn my listeners; this is a serious story, told coldly and without exaggeration. It may not be suitable for those with weak constitutions or who frighten easily. So, kids, you may want to ask your parents to go fold laundry or watch TV for a few minutes.The story.A good enemy keeps you alert and brings great clarity to life. I had an enemy once. Our relationship began in innocence and ended in murder. I think.It started one spring day with a little yellow order form from the feed store and a few dollars. After pouring through books and picking the brains of experts, my daughter Amanda and I finally decided: there would be six each of Araucanas, Rhode Island Reds, and Plymouth Rocks. We were about to become chicken ranchers.Ours was a practical and endearing plan. Practical because for the price of the eggs you get the birds which give you the eggs; and endearing because, well, farmyards with chickens scratching about them are about as adorable as rural life can get. The stuff of postcards.So, we handed in the form, plunked down our money, and waited—our little fluff-balls would arrive on May 24th.When ordering chickens you hope to get all hens—sweet, passive, stupid hens. But sexing chicks, like parallel parking, is a tricky business; it’s hard to see what you’re doing, you’re always in a bit of a rush, and close enough isn’t always close enough. Sometimes you scrape the curb or end up with a rooster.Enter Rusty, a fine, proud, heavy-shouldered, 100% male, Rhode Island Red. My new enemy.Rusty first took charge of the hens, which seemed fine and proper to us, herding them about with one eye cocked toward danger. Then, a few weeks later, he took charge of t
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