Our hearts are heavy with grief over the loss of a wise, benevolent and patient flock leader. Isaac passed away today on the exact day that our big Blue Orpington rooster, Suede, passed back in 2012. September 20, 2012 Suede passed away, but I knew it was coming. Today, Isaac's passing was sudden and sort of unexpected, though I knew he was on borrowed time just due to his age and all he'd been through. He was 6 years, 7 months old. Ike got to free range one last time today, though of course, I didn't know it would be his last time. When I decided he should take his hens back to the pen, I started out to the yard and Isaac saw me and as always, ran uphill to me as I was coming down the steps, that kerthumping run he had from a severely arthritic hock joint. I picked him up so he wouldn't have to walk all the way home, noted the quills from new feathers coming in from his molt, took him back to his pen talking in his ear the whole time, threw some grain down, rounded up a couple of stragglers and went back to the house. Not long afterward, probably 20 minutes or so, when I opened the gate for Atlas, Isaac's grandson, and his hens to free range, they all refused to come out from under their coop, including Atlas. That had never happened. Puzzled, I searched around for whatever had frightened them, looked for hawks, etc, and saw nothing. When I walked around to Isaac's side to see if his girls were acting similarly, I saw him almost immediately, lying face down at the bottom of his pen against the fence, yelled to DH and ran to him, though I knew instantly he was gone. He was still warm and limp, so it has just happened within the last five minutes. I really thought he would make it to 7 years old, though I've never heard of a Delaware rooster of his age. I said to him more than once that I hoped his old heart would just give out in one of his hen-chasing sessions, doing what he loved best. And my prayers were answered. All his hens are in shock, of course. Georgie hatched with him and has never been away from him. June, my EE hen, is a year older than he and Georgie and has been with him for years. She was his head hen. Maretta, the other EE, would lay on the floor beside him when his hock joint hurt too badly to get up on the roost. He was their rock and I hope they don't grieve too terribly. Isaac left us on a sunny, beautiful day with no sickness, no injury and doing what he loved best, chasing his girls. His old heart just gave out. He never slowed down, always feeding his hens, always calling to them, always crowing in the morning chorus. Today, he was just King Isaac, doing everything he loved. He will be remembered for being a gentle soul, my best buddy, the perfect rooster. He left us and others great sons, grandsons and great grandsons with his same sweet spirit. Many have Delawares now because of him. Rest in peace, my dear old man. You've earned it.