'Chick Magnet' wins over owner's heart

I never thought I would have a love affair with a rooster. In fact, I hated them as a child. They terrified me. I now own one. I didn't mean to. It was a total accident. I tried to get rid of him. It didn't work. I now proudly claim him as my own, but we had a bumpy start.

We recently moved onto five acres in Lynden. I have been a city girl for years, but when I recalled my childhood, I could grasp onto a few country-girl roots. My beginnings didn't start out on a cul-de-sac, but on a pile of dirt. That little farm girl was screaming to make another appearance. So I marched myself down to Elenbass Country Store and ordered myself four chicks. Four turned into eight quickly. My last purchase was a little white leghorn. The thing is, I had a funny feeling it was a rooster. Something I didn't want! Jerry was working that day. He told me it would be romantic to own a "Foghorn Leghorn" rooster. He convinced me it would be a wonderful, enriching experience. "Besides," he said, "you have a 20 percent chance that it's a hen!"

I took it home reluctantly. I stared at it for an hour straight. It looked so sweet and harmless. Was it really a future bully?

"Achoo!" he sneezed. I was instantly scared. I didn't want the bird flu on my little farm! I raced him back to the store and busted through the doorway. My little chick was perched innocently in the palm of my hand, blinking. "Jerry! ... he is sneezing! What do I DO?" He looked at me calmly from behind the counter. "Charge admission" he said and went back to work. I couldn't believe he wasn't concerned! I went back home and put him back in the brood box. The next morning I came out to check on them and I heard ANOTHER chicken sneezing. I scooped it up and took it to Elenbaas. I walked up to Jerry and held him out, waiting for him to sneeze. Nothing. "Jerry, I am going to lose my whole flock if I don't do something. Should I give them medicine? I now have TWO chickens sneezing!" I yelled. He didn't miss a beat. He was at his register with a customer. He said, "Charge double." On my way out I heard him mumbling something about eight chickens not making a flock.

I am happy to say they recovered and I lost not one chick. But as he grew he got aggressive. I just knew he was turning into a ROOSTER. I researched his breed I found out three very important things.

1. Leghorns are the meanest breed of rooster.

2. Leghorns are the meanest breed of rooster.

3. Leghorns are the meanest breed of rooster.

They are the ones who wear little black leather jackets and carry switchblades in their socks. They will wait for you in the dark and jump you before you can say "Chicken Little." I knew I had a little terrorist in our midst and I couldn't risk him turning on us. I went back into Elenbaas and asked Jerry to take him back. He wasn't going for it.

"Michelle! Look at it this way," he began. "Best case scenario, it's a HEN!"

"Mid-case scenario, it's a rooster, but he is NICE!"

"Worst case scenario it's a violent rooster and I will send out a hit man to kill him for you in the middle of the night."

I asked who this hit man might be. He pointed to the employee next to him. "Marshall."

Marshall nodded, smiling. I felt better. They gave me their promise. I left feeling hopeful. Things would be just fine. In fact, they turned out better than fine. That chick turned out to be a mean rooster, but I like him anyway. We named him Chick Magnet He fills our days with laughter and fear. It's become an adventure! We dressed him up as a leprechaun for St. Patrick's Day and a bunny for Easter. He recently gained 100 fans on Facebook so we took him back to Elenbaas for a photo with Jerry!