Chicken Diaries: Gay birds and the Supreme Court

Rosie awoke in a foul mood. She did not want to come down from her roosting bar. Her head bowed as the others filed out of the coop and into the play area. When it was time for petting and hanging out she barely acknowledged me. She puffed up her black feathers as if putting on a jacket and deeply shook herself off. Dust from her bath scattered and fell through shafts of light like tiny fairies flying around her. Normally she might be amused by this but today she gave out a small low growl.

Star Moon also stood by himself in an opposite area from her. The normally cheerful fellow pecked slowly around the ground and did not speak to anyone, not even his twin sister Dandelion.  Happy, the colorful and cheerful but entirely dictatorial rooster marched between Rosie and Star barking orders.

They are star crossed lovers. Happy will not bless their relationship. They kept apart and when Happy wasn’t looking they gazed at each other, Rosie much taller than the rest looked over their heads and deeply into Stars eyes.  It’s no risk to her to disobey Happy. She often literally puts her large foot down directly in front of him or steps on top of him walking over him if he annoys her. She disregards Happy at nearly every turn and openly disapproves of his relationship with her best friend Henny.  Rosey is no one’s slave and is known to have a hot temper.

The problem is that if Star Moon adopts that attitude he risks his life. Roosters will fight to the death and Happy is far more aggressive than the zen practitioner, Star who subscribes to Ahisma or non violence.  He will not fight Happy even if it means unrequited love, even if it means great personal injury. He is strong in his principles.

Happy makes his decisions based on only one principle; he is head rooster and that means all the hens are his. He believes he was born to this destiny and there need not be any further discussion. Rosey, however, is not an old school hen and it looks as if she’s willing to press boundaries, especially for love.

She does not follow the rulings of the US Supreme Court.  She is not governed by them nor does she need to be. Chickens don’t care about the same things as humans. She does not need a law to inform her that gay chickens have the same rights as straight ones. There are more than one hundred species of birds who have gay members, chickens are among them. They don’t care. A rooster may be the lead rooster and be gay or straight. Gay hens may be willing to deal with a rooster long enough to fertilize her eggs and then opt to raise her chicks with her hen partner. It happens as a commonplace part of chicken life.

Rosey is concerned with the affairs of her own heart and life in her own coop, she does not care to bother other chickens about what goes on in their tribe or coop. She happens to be interested in a boy.  But he is not the same as she.  She is a Black Sexlink and he is an Asian bird, a Grey Silkie. There are no two birds in her flock who look alike and are the exact same color. It’s entirely immaterial to chicken life. They are too busy trying to keep alive from outside predators to worry about such detail. They are also not trivial birds.

I remove Happy from the group for a quick snuggle and treat. While I’m beguiling him with my, if I say so myself, excellent petting skills I see that Rosey and Star Moon are sweetly chatting and flirting. She has shrunk herself down and he has stretched himself out so that they are eye level. Whether standing in silence, chatting or cuddling anyone can tell two lovers by their body language. Rosey and Star are no exception.

In chicken love there are no other requirements. Gay, straight, black, grey, brown, white or yellow have no meaning in chicken life. They are focused on life, love, child rearing, food, sun, rain and air.

I sit with them huddled around me and hear their gentle songs, feel their feet as they cross over me to take the shortest path and witness their joys and sorrows and when I am with them I am a part of them where there is no homophobia, no racism and no need for a court to interpret what is true.


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