It’s taken until the windchill hit 19 below but Thunder finally deigned to sleep indoors rather than out.

A graduate of our 2018 Cackle Surprise Box, Thunder has been a loner since he was a baby chick. He attracted Evie’s attention from day one because he was bold and friendly and ridiculously cute…unlike the rest of the chicks, the floofy footed guy would jump right on your hand to see what was up while everyone else hid as far away as they could. He was always more interested in what the humans were up to and wasn’t paying much attention at learning how to chicken.

Thunder’s incredibly awkward looking teenager stage (Brahmas grow slooooow and weird for a long time) saw him set off on his own like a half-feathered, long-necked beatnik chicken poet—all about peace and love, but also the kind of kid you knew would grow up to live in a van down by the river growing the peyote. He doubled down on his human flock friends and began ignoring his chicken friends altogether. This was, of course, fine with Evie..who doesn’t want a giant Brahma chicken-dog to follow you around?

He spent his first winter in the big coop–always awkwardly alone but still in proximity with other birds. He was the first to come out in the morning and the last to go in, as if the very presence of being with “the rabble” was almost too much to bear. He spent his daytime hours utterly alone—following humans if they were about, but if not he was happy to wander around on his own, contemplating a day when someone would finally realize his genius and free him from this life of pointless clucking. Thunder had not time for chicken-ing, he was here for bigger things.

This past summer, Thunder remained a daytime loner and then quit the coop altogether and began sleeping outside on the fence alongside the big barn (alas the river was too far away for him to walk and he hadn’t earned enough yet selling weed to his friends enough to buy a van). I attempted to put him back where belonged a few times, including a 2 week down lockdown in the coop so he would “reset” his brain to sleeping in there but it was all to no avail—he just did not want to “chicken”. He was a free spirit, a maverick, a Rooster Without a Cause.

For the first part of this winter, I tried to lock him in the big barn with Mama Pig, Lloyd and co (the even dumber turkeys have their own winter box stall so they don’t roost in trees and become turkey-cicles) and the elderly donkeys but the moment he discovered the barn cat door, he was out again and refused to stay inside overnight. After catching him after dark and returning him to the barn in subzero/freezing rain/full on blizzards a half dozen times, only to find him sleeping outside again the next night, I gave up. Thunder would do what Thunder would do.

But tonight, a miracle!

Of his own free will, I found the lone wolf rooster perching on the wall between Mama Pig and the donkeys—happy as a clam and giving me a stink eye for waking him during night barn check. We have serious cold AND a big blizzard in the coming days, so I am hopeful this remains his gameplan!

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