Tribute to a Rooster

I don’t cry much anymore. I used to cry multiple times a day, but I hadn’t in months, until yesterday. I thought the chickens were acting a bit off, and when I walked into the coop, I saw why.

Of these chickens, we lost two this weekend.

There lay one of the older black hens, with our dear rooster, Buckbeak, lying at her side. I screamed, “Nooo!” as if that would fix things. It never does.

A couple of weeks ago, Buckbeak inspected Tyler’s new garden. He was a red sex-linked rooster (they have different color chicks depending on sex).

I was pretty stoic when all the other roosters and so many hens were attacked and killed over the winter. This one was different, since I Buckbeak was one of the oldest chickens in the flock, and I had known him since right after he hatched, around three years ago. He outlived all the other roosters, and was always there, protecting his “ladies.” Or trying to make more chickens with them. Ahem.

Thinking about chicken love.

Everyone said he was the best rooster ever. Cathy and Kayla, who lived in the cabin when we got him, were the ones who named him, and he was always their favorite. I made sure to tell Cathy before posting this.

Sara, who was co-owner of the chickens until they started dying off and became my chickens, told me he was the best rooster she ever knew, and she has known a few! She helped me a lot right after I found him, which was just after yesterday’s long horse ride.

This is how it used to look, with everyone running up to me.

Sara and I looked for evidence of what could have gotten the old black hen and Buckbeak. The hen was missing a head, which happens with owls, hawks, and foxes. When we found an area on the fence that looked lifted, we began to suspect fox, but who knows, maybe the darned owl is back. IN any case, we blocked that opening up.

I really wish we’d had time and weather to cover the coop or move them sooner rather than later. We are also missing one of the barred rocks, but found no body, so I thought maybe she got caught up in the storm Saturday (that’s when I noticed her missing).

Since there was no visible damage on our gallant boy, we figure he was trying to help out the hen and got in the way. A good rooster until the end.

Buckbeak, King of the Coop. Rest in peace, chicken man.

Sara saved me some of his feathers.

Sometimes it is really hard to be the stoic ranch person. I’ve had to deal with more sad deaths, accidents, and slaughters than I’d dealt with in all the years before, just in the few short years I’ve been here. Life is no picnic.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

2 thoughts on “Tribute to a Rooster”

  1. ooooooooo I lost SO many fowl when I had them. Owls, skunks, raccoons, coyote … everybody loves chicken … and duck, and guinea fowl, and geese. Somebody made off with my full grown Toulouse Goose !! Had to be coyote. I doubt I’m meant for farming/ranching …. I’m too close to my critters.


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