Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ode to A Rooster

King of the Barnyard -- 2002-2012

My old rooster died yesterday.  It looks like he just fell over and that was that.  I'll miss the old guy.  We had a sometimes rocky relationship but he was a pretty good fellow.  He never offered to chase me or be aggressive....he just had certain hens he hated and made life miserable for.   However in all other things he was a good one.  He alerted the hens to danger, and made himself their protector.  

A year or so ago a neighbor 'got some chickens' and after keeping them confined in a dog crate during their baby days she turned them out to free range over the entire neighborhood.  My chickens also free their two plus acre fenced pastures.  I knew there'd be a problem eventually as she had two roosters.  One of the roosters disappeared (as did most of the hens).   When it was down to one young (and very large and very healthy) rooster and one hen, it came to a head.   The youngsters kept working their way nearer my elderly flock (moving through and over fences).   I was worried for my old rooster.  When I say old, I mean really old--he was nine years old then.   

I wasn't home when the showdown happened, but from the account of it my rooster flew over the fence of the home paddock (something he didn't normally ever do) stormed down across the pasture and beat the ever loving tar out of the young rooster.  Then he ran him out and smacked him on the way.  Well.  Okay then. I was very impressed.   Eventually the young rooster and his hen were captured and we were able to give them to some other people (with the owners permission and help).  That was quite a story too, Black Ops Chicken Capture, but maybe for another time.  

Back in July of 2002 one of my hens hatched out a chick.  A single, only chick.  Which just wouldn't do, as chicken politics are harsh to on-lies.  So I went to Cackle Hatchery and bought some day old chicks.  I got way to carried away and ended up with an assortment of Americuanas.  Thirteen of them.  So I had fourteen baby chicks.  One of the acquired chicks died at two days of age but the rest thrived and grew.  There was only one rooster---and he grew to be a magnificent fellow and has reigned here for ten years.  

I now have four hens.  Three are from that same hatch.   The fourth is a daughter of the 'only' chick hatched and is one year younger at nine.  Yes, they still lay.  I get about a half dozen eggs a week which is plenty for me.  I've never fed layer pellets but they do get to free range.  

Sue, one of the grey hens I'm sure is dancing on his grave.  He hated her with a passion and off and on for ten years has made her life miserable.  (She spent a long time as a yard chicken with my dear footless rooster Eddie....).

Time sure flies...even for a chicken.  I'll miss the old fellow--it seems odd without him around.  One of the hens...the white one..has been practicing her crow for the last year though, so maybe it won't be too quiet around here.
There have been some heavy and sad losses on the small farm this year.  This one I can talk about because I know he lived a long and happy rooster life.  He was King of the Barnyard.


Karen Anne said...

I am sorry about your rooster. He looks like he was a magnificent fellow.

Michelle said...

The lifespan of your chickens always amazes me! Here's to a grand old man and the fine life he had with you! And I'm sorry to hear about other, harder losses....

Michelle said...
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phylliso said...

I`m sorry about the old guy,he had a happy life with you.Do you have a roof over your chick area?phyllis