Our Wise & Benevolent Flock Leader Has Passed... RIP, Isaac

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by speckledhen, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    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.


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  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    I am so very sorry for your loss.
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  3. littlethorn

    littlethorn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2009
    Northern California
    So sorry for your loss. It always hurts to lose a favourite.
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  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you both. Isaac was a real rock star around here. He was amazingly sweet and passed that on to his sons, grandsons and great grandsons.

    This video was taken three years ago when Ladyhawk's daughter, Cheyenne, first met Isaac. Yup, this weekend was the first time he'd ever seen this teenager and this is how he did with a virtual stranger (he sure had an eye for the beautiful women, even without feathers!).
  5. robhuncor

    robhuncor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh Cyn, I'm so sorry! I know how much you love all your roosters and he was a wonderful one. What a blessing that he left on a beautiful day after having enjoyed his time outside and doing what he loved. There was no terror and no pain, just a blessed quick end to a long life well lived.
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  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Back when I hatched the batch from the group Janet Holtman had before Isaac's, I posted so many photos and talked about the Delaware breed's tenuous future, that breeders were trying to pull it back from extinction, to fix the issues hatcheries had caused by crossing in other breeds, etc. So many on BYC became interested in the breed because of that first group, then Isaac's group. Later, he was just my sweet baby boy, so wise and sweet. The other day my husband said of Isaac, "He has such intelligence in his eyes!". He loved Isaac very much, too, so the mood here is very somber today.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  7. Peanutsmomma

    Peanutsmomma Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Oh Cyn, I am so sorry to hear that you lost your beloved Isaac today! Please know that even though I never met the sweet old guy, that I am grieving right along with you and Tom.

    Rest in peace Isaac, you were rooster magnificence, everything that a rooster should be.
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  8. wekiva bird

    wekiva bird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2010
    South Carolina
    So sorry, Cynthia.
    We will all miss him! He pasted his good temperament to alot of his kids.
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  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Well, such a long and happy life. He was such a card! I know both you and your girls will miss him. My 2 Delaware pullets have some of your Delaware bloodline, and are such great little (well, big) hens, so I feel like I have a little of Isaac around too. And his final days were full of warmth, sunshine and the companionship of his girls.
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  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Atlas and Deacon are so confused. They are listening for his voice and both of them kept looking at me intently, right in my face, as if they wanted me to explain what happened. Atlas got off the roost when I told him that his grandpa was gone and wouldn't be coming back, which I did because he was looking at me so hard in the first place-he quietly walked around me to the door that separates his side of the coop from his grandpa's, looked up at the hole where we reach through to unlatch it, cocked his head and was listening. I told him as best I could again that his granddaddy was gone and not coming back but he seems so impacted by it.

    Deacon would crow, listen for the response from his daddy, didn't hear it and the look in his eyes was so telling. These males all seemed to inherit the intelligence, as well as the sweet temperament, from Isaac. A good rooster is worth his weight in gold. Non-chicken folks don't get it, I realize, but this was a very, very special rooster we lost today. Granted, Atlas and Deacon are good boys but they are much younger and do not have the history or experience of the patriarch.

    Now, we will eventually have to decide what happens with June and Georgie, the two oldest hens. June is almost 8 years old, Georgie was same age as Isaac and never without him. They deserve a rooster-free existence, really, but June is so dominant that I'm not sure she and Caroline would live through her going into the Old Hens' Retirement Home & Hospice. Caroline is almost 9 years old and does not take second place, not ever, not anywhere, LOL. Plus, June HATES Tiny and she'd be back there with the Tiny Terrorist, probably wouldn't be pretty.

    The blue Rock girls are same age as Rita, Deacon's hen, hatched together, both 5 1/2 so they can go with Deacon. Maretta, the younger EE, is 4 1/2, so she can go with him, too.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015

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