Iris had long been my favorite chick. She was smaller and more docile than the others. She was sickly in the beginning and had nearly died several times so i had pretty much raised her on my chest. I had spent a considerable amount of effort keeping her alive and neither she nor i had seemed to forget it. I was showing someone a picture of the chickens at my workplace when she said, “Oh you have a rooster!” I said, “no, no rooster, just 6 chickens.” She said, “5 chickens and a rooster.” I asked, “where?!” She pointed. As i followed her finger to the indicated chicken in the photo i said, “That’s iris.” She laughed, “Well, Iris is a he.” I gasped. Could it be? Over the next few weeks “iris would grow differently than the others. Her comb would become larger and floppier and she had little appendages that hung down from her neck while the others’ were thin and stretched tighter. Her feathers were also coming in differently around the neck and tail. I began to realize, my friend was right. It was confirmed for me when i heard a large amount of commotion coming from the chicken pen and peered in to see Iris trying to hump the other hens. It was settled. Iris was a boy.
He couldn’t really be having a name like “Iris the rooster”. So “Iris” became “Ira”. Ira the rooster. I would finally get to have a rooster and hear it crow on the regular, the one true sound that reminded people they weren’t in the city anymore. If any of the hens died or went missing i could put a couple eggs under the remaining hens and hatch out the chicks. But most importantly, a rooster would protect his flock from predators such as hawks, foxes, and raccoons. An adult rooster would act as a lookout, scanning the environment for trouble and alerting the hens to any lurking danger when spotted. What good news! I had a rooster.