Somebody say a few words for the death of a farm icon.

And on March 16, 2013, the Good Lord finally counted to 50.

That’s how I imagined I’d start his eulogy anyway.

Two years ago, we took 49 red broiler chickens to the butcher. We thought we were hauling 50, but when we returned, we saw this in the field:

That’s not a goat.

So we kept our divinely spared and grossly large-breasted meat bird alive on at the farm until he became a staple, showing up in millions of photos as an perfect old-timey accent. His coloring was like a postcard.

Anyone who knows me knows that I despise chickens. They are gross and smelly. But this guy grew on me. Actually, he kept growing in general. He was a broiler originally, and by the end was at least 20 pounds.

We’ve had some good roosters, but this one was the best so far. While other roosters, at some point, inevitably greet you with a face full of spurs, this guy never so much as looked at me funny. He was too fat to fight with anything but the goats, yet I admired his swagger. He owned the place. He had a great crow, which is vital on a homestead, and he was never violent toward the kiddos.

 

Alas, meat roosters are not really bred to live that long, and his blue comb at the end suggests he had some sort of heart or respiratory illness that done him in. He died in our bathtub. I was with him. It was gross. But the good news is that he is the first chicken to die on this property of something other than a car or predator. We’re keeping them alive longer, I suppose. I think that’s a good thing.

I’m happy for his two years of borrowed time. I’m glad he let me put a Santa hat on him for our Christmas card.

I’ll miss him. I’ll actually miss a rooster. I’ll miss hauling his fat butt into the barn in the middle of the night because he was too big to fit through the cattle panels to roost like the rest of the chickens. I’ll miss kicking him out of the house in the summer, and reminding him he is NOT an inside chicken.

So today we cheer this giant beast, and we raise our glasses to the Best Rooster So Far, who made the most of his two-year reprieve.

 

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