The Myth of the Cockadoodle-doo


For those of you that don’t know me that well, here’s a little bit about my background. I grew up on the mean suburban streets of central New Jersey. Though I was vaguely aware that farms existed, I bought my food at a grocery store or supermarket. Occasionally, we would drive west to Delicious Orchards, where I bought giant sized produce and learned that fruit grew on trees.

A farm was a place to visit as a tourist would visit a temple of someone else’s religion: it’s nice to look at, but not within your realm of understanding; their thing not yours. But I read once in a children’s book, most likely, that on the farm, roosters went cockadoodle-doo at dawn to wake up the farmers for a new day of farm labor. A farm alarm clock, I remember thinking – smart!

This understanding of the cockadoodle-doo is at best a gross exaggeration, at worst a bold-faced lie. Roosters don’t greet the dawn with cockadoodle-doo; they greet EVERYTHING with a cockadoodle-doo. They squawk all day. Roosters are not convenient farm-based alarm clocks. Instead, they are giant hellbirds spawned from Satan whose reasons for living are to impregnate hens and to prevent humans from getting 8 hours of sleep per night.

Sadly, in Asia, roosters are everywhere, so many a night has been ruined by the squawking of the local rooster. In Luang Nam Tha, in Northern Laos, we spent a night in a Lahu village up on a hilltop in the jungle. I should have known it would be a problem when we arrived and were immediately greeted by no fewer than four large roosters. They woke me up at about 2am, then 3am, then 5am, by which point I was so angry, I didn’t know whether to find a weapon and seek vengeance for my lost sleep or just cry. Eventually, I decided to just lay there and sleep with my eyes open, staring at the thatched roof. 

So if I ever had any ideas of running away from the city or the suburbs and living on a farm with chickens, goats, and roosters, I now know that I wouldn’t last long. Time for another backup plan!

2 thoughts on “The Myth of the Cockadoodle-doo

  1. Canada geese are as bad as roosters –just an FYI in case you are ever in, say, rural Virginia. Where I have lost many nights of sleep. Give me a garbage truck, a car alarm, and several sirens any time.

  2. I hate roosters. When I was in the Peace Corps, they would sound off at any freaking time. I eat chicken with that much more pleasure now….

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