2015-05-21

模倣子 The Quiet Rooster

Raising chickens in suburban settings seems to be becoming a popular thing. However, raising roosters within city limits is often prohibited. Is this some kind of a manifestation of the growing hatred and mistrust of masculinity in American society?

Roosters are a part of "chicken society", although a part that is disliked. It's as if we feel that we can "cherry pick" the parts we like, the parts that we don't find offensive, and leave out the rest. It's a familiar theme.

It's of course that roosters crow in the morning and annoy everyone and wake everyone up. Do we ask whether the hens like this? Do we bother thinking about whether the hens enjoy having roosters around, doing their rooster thing, whether it's somehow good for the hens' health and well-being to be in the "society" of roosters, or do we assume that hens find roosters to be just as annoying and offensive as we ourselves do? Do we project our feelings that roosters somehow turn the chicken coop into a kind of oppressive patriarchy that enslaves the hens, making the coop somehow less "democratic", or rather, "pullocratic"? Are the hens robbed of their agency and freedom of self-actualization by the roosters' bright-feathered, loud-crowing ostentation and their constant wearying insistence and demands on the poor hens for sex, sex, and more sex? In spite of the fact that roosters are mostly useless, don't lay eggs, they "rule the roost" as "cock of the walk", and steal the spotlight from the more numerous, hard-working, and long-suffering hens. Hens lay eggs day after day only to have them taken away, and they have to sit on them and take care of them while the roosters are lazy, don't help, and only strut around.

Roosters have their pointlessly violent masculine fights over their silly pecking orders for control over the females. But we forget that hens also have their own cruel and violent pecking orders. Every coop has hens who have had most of their feathers pecked off by the more dominant ones. But still we cling to the idea that roosters are the bad ones, and since they are expendable, we are free to think that.

Obviously chicken society needs roosters, but we imagine that we need far fewer of them than we have, and then only temporarily. It occurs to me that there may be a third way and that Darwin and artificial selection may come to the rescue of our morning tranquility. Rather than kill off all roosters or send them away out of sight and earshot to some kind of "rooster prison" until and unless they are needed, why not systematically kill and eat only those roosters that annoy us? Theoretically we'll eventually end up with only those roosters who don't crow in the morning, or who crow more quietly or less long. Those roosters who are quiet and timid will be left alive to breed with the hens and those who are not shall be taken out of the gene pool and their unsavory ilk from future generations. Or we could find some kind of drug that makes all roosters like this.

Sound familiar?

It seems clear that this scheme would work, and might take full effect within only a few generations. The roosters would be the kind of roosters that we want, that would no longer offend us. The only question is whether chicken society could continue to function like this, and whether it would really be good for the hens.

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