Appalachia Appalachian Dialect Profiles of Mountain People

Foundered Rooster

My Dad got in deep trouble one time when picking ‘baccer worms off the tobacco. He said they were walking rows, with pails, pickin’ off worms. They were supposed to either step on them or put them in the bucket and “drown’em in the crick”!

Dad said there was an old hateful rooster that would attack him and his brothers ever time they went to the barn to feed or milk. But, when he picked off ‘backer worms it followed him and he would throw that old mean rooster worms, which it gobbled up with delight. His Dad seen this and shouted from a row or two acrost, “Don’t feed Mammy’s rooster them worms, or you’re going to founder it!”

Well, there was five boys, most pickin’ worms, most hated the rooster so they kept sneaking that rooster ‘baccer worms. Up and down the rows they went, rooster a’hoppin’ and a’skirtin’ and pickin’ up ‘baccer worms.

My Dad said later up in the mornin’ that rooster was slowin’ down while a’follin’ them and pickin’ up the worms. Soon one of them said, “Lookee there!” Yep, that old rooster keeled over, died deader than a doorknob!

“We’re in deep trouble now,” they said, “We’ve foundered Mammy’s rooster!” Dad said it didn’t eat too many worms, he said it was all that “nicotine” in the worms that probably killed it! The rooster mysteriously disappeared from the ‘baccer field?

When asked if they had seen her rooster, they told Mammy the last they’d seen it, it was headed toward the barn fer Pappy told’em not to feed it ‘baccer worms! Dad would laugh about it and said, “Mammy had many good roosters, but that one she liked and took pride in the fact that it only liked her and was mean to everybody else!” He said he could finally feed the hogs and milk without having to worry he was gonna get flogged by that hateful rooster again!

And that’s the story of the “foundered” rooster on a Mars Hill ‘baccer farm!

~B.Ruth – November 2016



Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    October 26, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Tipper looking back of mean roosters. We had one he would chase me and I was little I said ole cock I show you so you Miss Julie had a teacup where little dibbies drank I picked up that cup and got ole Red square dab in his head he spun around and away he took . that ended his chasing me .

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    August 3, 2018 at 2:25 am

    lol tipper can you picture little pap doing that? gosh kids and the things they do…I have heard that chickens are awful mean I probably would have given the bird worms to keep him away from me too. lol bet that story makes it around to this day

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 2, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    I’d forgot about writing about that mean old rooster when my Dad was a boy…I don’t know how much truth to the tale there was but I’d say most of it was true. In later years after Dad grew up and married and I came along…Granny was still raising chickens…and had another mean rooster…I was only a very young girl when that rooster chased me down and flogged me…I thought it was the biggest bird I had ever seen. He was dangerous and very sneaky…always acting like he might like you and hang around then all of a sudden go to dancin’ sideways dropping a wing then running and jumping up with those spurs straight at you…Dad took after that one with a backer stick when it side saddled me up to the side of the barn and me screaming like crazy…I don’t know why I thought I could always be friends with all the animals on the farm…guess I was trying to be a Dr. Doolittle…lol
    Don’t mean to sound boastful …but I enjoyed reading that story again..
    Thanks for posting…
    I enjoyed all the comments too…thanks folks…

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    I may have told this in the past can’t remember, but neighbors boys I grew up with had a rooster they called Preacher and that was the meanest blame rooster you ever saw, didn’t have to worry about the dogs, just ole Preacher because he’d chase you until he’d catch up with you, and give you one good flogging, Well, one day one of the local drunks came to visit these boys Daddy, they were dranking buddies, and ole preacher caught him before he made it to the porch, the only thing he could do was try to grab him and sit on him because ole Preacher meant business and give Mr. C a good working over, they said he was in the front yard sitting on ole preacher howlering for their Daddy to come get his rooster, because he’s afraid to let him up after he finally caught him.

  • Reply
    Brian P.T. Blake
    August 2, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Fun story! Love the boys’ creative explanation about how their mom’s favorite rooster went to the barn, but not why it didn’t come back! Comedy gold!

    • Reply
      Darrell Cook
      August 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      I have not heard the term “foundered” in a long time. I enjoyed this story!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 2, 2018 at 11:19 am

    That’s a great story. It made me laugh and I can picture the whole thing in my mind.
    Rowdy boys and a mean rooster. You just know there’s going to be a story there.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 2, 2018 at 10:55 am

    I enjoyed B. Ruth’s story about when she lived at Mars Hill and that blooming Rooster. When me and Harold was a whole lot younger, we had lots of hens, pullets, and some Roosters. We made us a bow and arrow and we were good shots. We took care of any Bad Roosters and buried them across the way from the house. When daddy came in from Carpentering, he never noticed and we kept our mouths shut. Lordy, what kids would do to keep Harmony on our place. …Ken

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 10:14 am

    You made me laugh this morning Tipper. That was a good one. I could just see em. We use to raise tobacco . Hard work. I just love your post. It takes you back in time, if only for a moment. And thats special Tip. God Bless!!!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I’ve picked baccer worms that were so full of juice that they practically exploded when you touched them. Maybe that’s what happened to the rooster too. One last overstuffed tidbit and kablooey he detonates in a shower of chartreuse. Gruesome but colorful!
    Good story B.

  • Reply
    DAna WAll
    August 2, 2018 at 9:22 am

    When i was a kid, we visited Mom’s aunt and uncle on their farm. They had a rooster like the one in today’s story. One day Dad was standing in the yard saying those prolonged Iowa good byes. My uncle turned to go into the house, and Dad flipped his cigarette butt onto the ground as he got into the car. That old rooster snatched the lit cigarette and swallowed it in one bold gulp. The bird started running in circles, and then streaked off across the barn yard and disappeared behind the machine shed. Dad got into the car and we left. Never did hear how the rooster made out.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 9:00 am

    That was a good one, B. Ruth. Those five boys knew exactly what they were doing. I don’t blame them for killing that old mean rooster. I’m glad he didn’t end up in the pot for a nicotine and dumplings supper.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 8:33 am

    We didn’t grow tobacco, but we sure did go out in the fields and pick off bugs and worms. Maybe I was a bit crazy, but I never minded anything to do with growing crops. I despised feeding an old hog before school and in the evening. The grass was wet and a little higher always with the dew hanging on.,and it was a good distance from the house. It seemed that ole hog would put its head right where I poured and splatter my clothes. As I look back probably lost half the feed, but I just wanted it done. It seemed most farm children knew which animals to bond with. I never bonded with the piglets, but always adored the little dogs we had through the years.

    Those roosters could get mean, but I was not afraid. I would probably be now, as it has been many many years since I helped with farm animals. None of us were big fans of meat, and I wondered if this was because we learned too much about the nature of animals. I remember the big tubs of scalding water and defeathering a fryer. Tipper, B Ruth’s post took my memory to some strange places this morning. These memories were part of growing up, and they shape your life later on.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 2, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Hmmmm maybe there is a moral in there about being both mean and gluttonous. It is noticeable to me that wrong often self-destructs which, to me, proves its error.

    Reminds me of a tall tale I heard told by Mountain Man Bob about his little Easter chick that turned out to be a big Easter rooster. He named it “Aloecious” and it became “forevermore mean”. Being called by its name really enraged it. It was so mean it would rip pants legs from the knees down. Every dog on the place was afraid of him. I believe he came to a bad end also.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 2, 2018 at 7:41 am

    B.Ruth, that was a goodun!
    If you have ever topped, suckered, or stripped backer, you know how much sap or tar you get on your hands. The nicotine soaks right through your skin. I had an uncle that would get sick working in backer. He was a backer chewer but that double dose of nicotine made him sick.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    August 2, 2018 at 7:28 am

    My aunt had a rooster like that and he would chase all of us kids around the yard til she came out and hollered.
    He would run to her for treats and we would make our gettaway. Great memories.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 2, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Tipper–Thanks to B. Ruth for a dandy tale. I reckon that old rooster had the ultimate “nicotine fit” or else it paid the supreme price for greed. Just goes to show that being a bully can reap the wrong kind of rewards.

    I certainly had an early morning chuckle, something which is always good for the soul, with the reading of this story.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    August 2, 2018 at 6:45 am

    I remember mean roosters. And my Grandad Nick Byers had a little tobacco crop every year at Ivy Log. I remember those ‘backer worms! And that was his name for them…”backer worms”.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 2, 2018 at 6:36 am

    The demise of the hateful rooster, guess he got what he gave but poor mama was sad! That’s a wonderful story, thanks for sharing it.

  • Reply
    Rick Shepherd
    August 2, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Awww!…..Poor rooster!…..I probably told a few half truths to Mom also, but wish I hadn’t!…..Good story though.

  • Leave a Reply