Requiem for a rooster

George Washington died yesterday. He was a free soul, easygoing but solicitous of his female companions. My daughter named him a few years ago – don’t really know how he earned his name, but it was his very own.

We’ve had trouble with predators in the past, and our hens are therefore housed in chicken tractors (moveable, bottomless pens), to help protect them. However, we have a few ‘wild’ chickens, mostly roosters, who live free on the farm. In order to survive, they have to have a bit of that wildness more commonly found in the smaller breeds. Survivors tend to be quick on their feet (and nearly impossible to catch!). Their little birdbrains have to maintain honed isntincts to keep them from being caught and eaten. If they’ve managed to survive to adulthood, they usually live for a few years.

I’m not quite sure how old George Washington was, but he was at least 3 or 4. He was beautiful white with black specks scattered here and there in his feathers, and he was on the short side. He carried himself beautifully. I enjoyed watching him strut around, checking on his ‘girls’, going from one chicken tractor to another one. I thought I had a picture of him somewhere, but couldn’t find it…

George would show up at the cat food bowl on the kitchen steps, several times a day, looking for tidbits. I think cat food is one of the roosters’ favorite treats. He would jockey with the cats and the other roosters, Crazy Chicken 1, Crazy Chicken 2, and Rover, for position at the bowl. 

I’m guessing a pack of dogs, or perhaps a fox, came in the night, flushed him out of his sleeping perch, and attacked. I saw piles of feathers here and there, and much later in the day, our farm interns found what was left of him off in a corner, near the road.

We’ve lost a personality. George Washington will be missed.

4 Responses to “Requiem for a rooster”

  1. 1 Donna Heisterman 12 October 10 at 8:08 pm

    I read your blog. I could actually feel your sadness from what you typed. Your rooster was your pet. I am sorry he died. Maybe he’s with the “real” George Washington”, somewhere out there. 🙂

  2. 2 Marian 13 October 10 at 9:51 pm

    Sorry to hear about GW. I’d see him patrolling the property almost every time I came to visit. I will miss him. Tried many times to sneak up closers to photograph him, but he was quick and wily and would quickly scoot away from the lens. Too bad the wild dogs got him. They have killed too many chickens this past year.

  3. 3 Meredith 4 February 11 at 1:08 am

    Have you thought about purchasing a donkey? they are every effective at deterring coyotes, dogs etc. Especially females. I know they are probably very expensive, but it is something to think about. Having them in the chicken yard would probably deter any wild dog. Donkeys do not like canine and will run them off.

  1. 1 When dogs go wild « Redland Rambles Trackback on 2 February 11 at 10:46 pm

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October 2010

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