Many BYCers have known and loved our Suede, some in person and many through his stories and pictures on BYC. Many all across the country have his sons, daughters, grandkids and great-grandkids and so on. Yesterday, at the age of 5 years 8 months, our beloved Blue Orpington rooster, Suede, died in my arms just after 4 p.m. He outlived 3 Barred Rock roosters and 4 of his own hens. Suede started showing weakness in July when, during the hottest week of summer, his crow sounded weak. I thought it would return in all its deep, howling fullness when the weather cooled, but it never did. He began sleeping at odd times during the day, often laying on the ground, his color turning dark. Suede held on with the tenacity of a bulldog for two months, obviously not doing as well as he should, but absolutely refusing to let go of life. He lost weight, became weaker, but kept going in spite of us having to remove him from his side of the coop into the broody pen adjacent to his girls because he could not jump up to the 21" high roost shelf any longer. We could have put him up there, but didn't want him to hurt himself jumping down. I took him special food daily-grits with eggs, blueberries, cornbread, biscuits, just to get him to eat. By the end, he seemed to have lost almost half of his normal 14 lb of body weight, no meat on his keel, but he stood up most of every day, managed his weak, "short version" crow every single day in response to the other roosters. I thought at one point that if he got to a certain stage, I would euthanize him, but he never seemed that far down. He fought to hang on, for his hens, for me, I'm not sure which, but I've never seen such an iron will to live other than from my Zane. Yesterday, I gave him a bowl of blueberries and yogurt, his favorite. He was dropping more than he could get into his beak, then he turned on his heel and marched back into the broody pen side of the coop and lay down in the back corner, with his favorite hen, Meg, on the other side of the wire wall from him. Meg is the same age, hatched with him in the first hatch I ever did in my then-brand-new Hovabator back in Jan. 2007. A little while later, after our early supper, I took him some biscuit. He was standing in the door of the coop and he ate some biscuit with his usual enthusiasm, plus some scratch from my hand. When he had enough, I left to check on some other birds, was gone less than ten minutes, came back and he had left the building and was laying on his side in front of the gate to the pen where his hens were. I guess he wanted to get back to them at the end and had gone to the gate, but collapsed and could not get up. He was still alive, breathing with eyes open, but not even trying to get up, so I yelled for Tom to come, picked Suede up and held him in a lawn chair. His breathing was more labored, he turned very dark, then he cried out and died in my arms. I will have to make sure Meg doesn't grieve herself to death. She was the head hen of the four of his remaining girls, always grooming him, and her being his same advanced age and just finishing a hard molt, I'm worried about her. You can see in the pictures below how attached she was to him. He was my big blue baby, a real mama's boy. There is such a hollow feeling here today. Not long ago pics of Big Suede. There was not a mean bone in this boy's body. He was an amazing rooster, my special pal. As Suede began showing signs of weakening, Meg was never far from his side: Earlier photos of the Suedenator, as we affectionately called him: Anyone else, feel free to post your Suede pictures and/or stories.