Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RIP Chief


I don’t mean to bum everyone out with a sad story. I even thought about just not mentioning it, but it’s kind of amazing that one white rooster would have such an impact on so many people. I’m not usually fond of chickens, as I’ve told you before, but our neighbor, the Chief, really captured my heart. And now, he’s gone.

It was very weird. I saw the rooster and his girls coming over to our yard from across the road yesterday. I was on my way next door to my other neighbor’s house to use her fax machine, but I ran back to the kitchen and grabbed the bag of bread scraps and corn chips that we save for them. The little band of birds had already crossed over and were gathered in the bushes between our house and the one next door. They like to root around in the dirt and take naps over there. Two of the hens saw me sprinkle the goodies next to my forsythia bushes. I thought it was odd that the Chief didn’t come running with his funny hop-along, wait- wait- I’m-in-charge-here gait like he normally did. I went into my neighbor’s house and didn’t really think about it again.

Ten minutes later, she and I walked outside, and I could see that all the hens were eating in my yard, but the Chief was still in the bushes. I had a bad feeling. My neighbor went to check it out, but I couldn’t go look. “He’s a goner,” she announced. He didn’t appear to have suffered, just fallen asleep and passed away. I started to cry. Of course, the people who own him and their three little kids were even more upset than I was. We had a little funeral by the henhouse. My daughter, my 95 year old mom, several neighbors, and the immediate family attended. We were all very sad.

Why do I need to tell you this and why am I so touched by a gimpy white rooster? I’ve been seriously considering what made him so special. He was loved, and he knew it. Everyone treated him with kindness and respect. The children played with him like they would with a dog. He watched after his harem and if one of the hens wandered off, he’d run right over and push her back with the others so she didn’t get hurt. He would eat corn chips, his favorite treat, out of my hand and let me stroke his smooth feathers. On Monday afternoon, I was down by the barn when he came over to spend some quality time with his ladies under my forsythia bushes. He crowed to me, and I waved my arm to welcome them. What he did in response made me laugh with delight. He lifted himself up and flapped both his big wings at me, as if he was waving back. Who would have thought that a simple chicken could touch and connect so many people? Each one of us had our own favorite stories and routines that we shared with this personable fellow.

A good rooster is hard to find. They’re going out today to hopefully find a new one, but he’s got some big clawprints to fill. We’ll all miss you, Chief.

15 comments:

Breathe said...

I sort of relieved to read this after that terribly scary rooster on craigs list.

I'm sure he's got quite a harem on the other side.

billie said...

So sorry - folks who have chickens seem to develop deep attachments to them. We are considering a small flock of hens, and reading about your fondness for Chief and his special way of communicating makes me want to go for it.

Lori Skoog said...

It is nice to know that so many of you cared about Chief. It sounds like he knew you did! I would have been right there crying along with the rest of you...so glad he had a good life.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like Chief was quite a character and had a lot of special friends. So sad that he's gone but he went peacefully and that's a good thing. Although he can never be replaced I hope his family finds a sweet new rooster for the hens.

Victoria Cummings said...

Well, I'm glad that you guys don't think that I'm crazy. It's been so quiet here today. The Chief didn't crow excessively, but he did serve as my alarm clock and always announced himself and the hens when he came to visit. It's a bit lonely around here.

Jayne said...

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of Chief. I would have been crying along with you too. My best friend had a little band of hens that all had names, but her rooster was a meanie.

deejbrown said...

All hail, the Chief! May he rest in peace, and live on in fond memory to all who loved him.

Dusty Devoe said...

So sorry you lost your friend Chief. You have a lot of great memories.

detroit dog said...

Sounds like Chief had a great life, good friends, and a peaceful death. That is truly the best one can hope for.

I will always remember him as loving your babka! ;-)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

A touching story. I love neighborhood pets that bring a smile to everyone's faces. Sorry for your loss.

C-ingspots said...

Just goes to show you how much anyone and everyone (no matter what you are) bloom and excel when shown love, kindness and respect. It's the same for all living things...and how much their lives can enrich ours amazes me. Rest in peace cool rooster.

John and Regina Zdravich said...

It doesn't matter that he was "just a rooster" -- his was a life that was involved with your life, and the lives of others. Animals have their own personalities, and we appreciate them and love them for that. We have chickens, and are attached to them as we are our cats, goats, and horses. Bless his little soul.

Pony Girl said...

I don't think any animal is "just a anything"....I think we connect in beautiful and amazing ways with all kinds of animals. I had a pet gerbil that I was attached to and cried when he died. A rodent! :)
Chief sounded like a very cool dude indeed, and what a happy, wonderful life he lived with his ladies and human friends!! I think it's nice you had a funeral and some closure and recognition of how he touched you all.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds to me like Chief brought you his own special brand of joy. Anything that has the power to do that is going to be missed when it's gone. Nothing wierd or crazy about it.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Callie said...

Aawww.........Poor ole buddy. Sorry for you and friend's loss. :(