Q: Why did the chicken cross the courtroom?
A: Because Maurice, the rooster, is on trial – for being a rooster!
Until recently, Maurice lived peacefully in the French island village of Saint-Pierre-d’Oléron with his three French hens and devoted flock keeper Corinne Fesseau.
But feathers have been ruffled. A couple from Limoges who have made their holiday retirement nest nearby are calling fowl on Maurice’s morning “song”.
Residents of the otherwise sleepy village on France’s western coast northwest of Bordeaux are brooding over the contretemps, which recently brought Maurice and his accusers into the courtroom.
Local sentiment may be in Maurice’s favor; after all le coq gaulois is France’s national symbol. It is the emblem of the country’s football team and for centuries has graced buildings, coins, weather vanes, furniture and ceramics.
“A rooster needs to express himself,” says Ms. Fessau, and tens of thousands of her countrymen agree, having signed a petition in support of Maurice’s right to his song. According to The New York Times, even local mayor Christophe Sueur says “the rooster must be defended!”
A verdict is not expected until September, which gives everyone plenty of time to stew over the issue.
Meanwhile, the Polloplayer hens do not have the luxury of a rooster, which keeps the neighbors happy but does present a challenge for sustaining the flock: without a rooster, how do you get baby chicks? Tune in next week – we may have something to crow about!