Saturday, August 2, 2014

Goodbye, Animal

Animal was my rooster.  Until this morning, when I found him on the floor of the coop, deceased.  I believe it was age that did him in, as he showed no signs of disease, strutting around with the hens as usual right up until I closed them in the coop yesterday evening.

 My main rooster, Animal had survived several cullings of roos because of his

  1. beauty
  2. friendliness toward people
  3. work ethic
He was a handsome sucker.   He arrived in a straight run shipment of Aracauna (the blue/green egg layers) chicks in 2007.  I don't remember how many cockerels I ended up with from that batch, but he is the only one who didn't end up in the soup pot.  I confess, I was taken by his profusion of red hackles, the same hackles that got him named Animal after the Muppets character. Being an Aracauna, he also had a beard, making his red 'hair' stand out against his black whiskers. Much like the muppet Animal's bushy black eyebrows stand out against his shaggy red mane.

He had superb manners with people.  Another trait which gained him favor and allowed him to continue living long after his age mates became chicken dinners.  He never once showed aggression toward a human being, proving himself trustworthy even around young children.  

He was a great leader and protector of his harem of hens.  While he was docile with people, he didn't give four legged animals the opportunity to get close to his ladies.  I never lost a hen on his watch (rather, all my coon and possum related poultry losses were from the portable pen dwelling meat birds or young pullets not yet moved into Animal's flock).  He was also very good at calling his ladies over to some treasure he'd found (such as a juicy worm or tasty bug, or even the corn cobs or watermelon rinds I gave them in season) and then let all his girls get their fill before taking any for himself.

I wish I'd put some eggs in the incubator this year, so that now I would have a son of his to carry on as protector of my flock.  Unfortunately, his last son, a golden haired roo I'd nicknamed Hot Stuff, went to the auction in a flock culling several years ago.  At the time I'd sent Hot Stuff off to the auction, I didn't know he would be from the last batch of eggs fertilized by Animal that I would ever hatch.

Goodbye, Animal, you were a good roo.

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