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RIP, DaddyRoo: We Will Always Love You

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Barry Natchitoches, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    DaddyRoo was the best rooster our family ever had.

    Well, actually, we've only had chickens for two and a half years, and DaddyRoo and his son Pierre are the only two roosters we've ever had.

    DaddyRoo was an EE. The feed store gave him to us by mistake: we asked for two EE pullets and four other pullets, but they sent us one EE pullet, the four other pullets we asked for, and DaddyRoo.

    We got him at about two to three days old. When he was a baby, he laid on my wife's bosom while she rocked him gently in her rocking chair. He was eating out of my hand before he was a week old.

    We thought we had all pullets, so we were quite surprised about eight or nine weeks after he was hatched, when one day we heard what sounded like a young boy's attempt at crowing. He sounded like a sick foghorn that first time, but it didn't take him too long to develop a strong and very distinctive cock-a-doodle-doooooooo...

    When he got older, he took it upon himself to be the protector of his pullet flockmates. When there was food, he would call them over, and then -- like the gentleman that he was -- he'd step out of the way while the girls ate first. He would eat what they left him.

    He probably didn't seem much like a protector to the girls, though, when -- at just ten or eleven weeks old -- he began to try and mount his pullet flockmates. I guess he figured he was ready, and didn't notice that they were not. That didn't stop him though, and there were actually a few times I had to isolate him from the young pullets. No little girl is ready at just eleven or twelve or thirteen weeks old....

    But the girls grew older, and soon they mastered the "pullet squat," making DaddyRoo very, very happy.

    About the same time that the pullets mastered the squat, they began laying their first little eggs. You wouldn't think those pullet eggs would be viable, but ole' DaddyRoo wasn't shooting blanks, and by the time DaddyRoo celebrated his six month birthday, a broody flockmate hatched three healthy children -- all of them DaddyRoo's.

    DaddyRoo wasn't much for paying child support -- in fact, we never got a single payment from him to help support his little ones.

    But whereas he wasn't much for paying child support, he was a guardian and protector of the flock. If a hawk or owl came flying overhead, he would warn the flock and all would take cover. If my wife or I came walking out of the house with treats, he would call out to his flockmates so that they could meet me at the chicken yard fence and beg for their treats. He would even break up fights between hens -- especially when it was one of his hens against one of the hens that belonged to his son, Pierre. He ALWAYS stood up for his own hen, right or wrong.

    He always kept tabs on where his hens were, and at night if they all did not come in to the henhouse, he would actually go out looking for the missing hen.

    Oh, he could be noisy at times! That boy would wake up and begin to crow BEFORE dawn sometimes!

    But he was loveable, too.

    And whereas I read about aggressive or violent roosters on the web, DaddyRoo was never an aggressive or violent roo. We could not have gotten a better rooster if we had been searching for one.

    About the only problem with DaddyRoo was that he had a bad crossbeak problem. His top beek was curved and extended out far past the lower beek. It made it hard for him to eat, and we had to make sure he had a #10 can filled with pellets or larger morsels of food, so he had something that he could eat. He could never eat crumbles, nor could he eat out of a traditional chicken feeder or off the ground.

    But the crossbeak problem was manageable until this week. Well, actually, until about three weeks ago.

    One day a few weeks ago, I went outside to find one of my chickens with a bloody back of the neck. I wasn't sure what caused the problem at first, but then it occured to me that that was where a rooster used their beek to hold down an uncooperative hen.

    I brought the bloody girl inside and treated the wounds. I let her sleep inside the house that night. Then the next day, I returned her to the main henhouse, hoping that was a one time thing.

    But then a couple of days ago -- right before a wicked Arctic blast forced its way into the mid-south area where I live -- I went outside and found not one, but two hens with identical bloody cuts at the back of the neck.

    I knew this happened when a hen rejected his advances. He'd use his head and beak to hold down the reluctant hen, as roosters are programmed to do. If he had been a normal roo without a crossbeak problem, this probably would have been OK.

    But DaddyRoo was no ordinary rooster: he was a rooster with a crossbeak problem. And when he had to hold down a lady like that, he could -- and did -- end up cutting her. Bloodying her up.

    Of course, a bloody hen is an invitation for mayhem and even being pecked to death by the other hens. So that is a very serious problem.

    I couldn't let him keep bloodying up hens necks when they didn't want to be the recipient of his "special favors." Especially given the fact that when chickens find blood on a flockmate, they often gang up on the injured hen and peck her until they kill her if no human is around to intervene.

    We loved DaddyRoo. We love his son, Pierre, too -- a boy who came out of our broody's second clutch. But the truth is, we probably loved DaddyRoo even more than his son.

    Even though I really didn't want to do it, today I culled DaddyRoo.

    I'm going to miss his leadership in that chicken yard. The way he could rally the hens. The way he protected the hens.

    I'm going to miss how he lets everybody know when I walk out in the yard with treats. I guess the hens will have to keep a look out for me themselves, because DaddyRoo won't be there to do it for them.

    And I'm going to miss how he wakes me even before dawn to let me know it's going to be another beautiful day.

    DaddyRoo, I'm so sorry I had to cull you today. But you will live on in the children you fathered during your time with us.

    And we still love you. We will ALWAYS love you.

    Rest in Peace, DaddyRoo

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011

  2. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    [​IMG] I'm so sorry.
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens


  4. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    I [​IMG] when I read this. Sending you [​IMG] and [​IMG]. Hope his son can fill his shoes.
  5. jktrahan

    jktrahan Chirping

    Jan 10, 2011
    Sweet Lake
  6. axion_lotus

    axion_lotus Songster

    Jan 19, 2011
    Central NC
    [​IMG] So sad! I feel your pain, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    It's really hard to cull an animal you've raised its entire life.

    But you did what was best for your hens, which is honorable.

    Good luck with the son of Daddyroo; may he be just as good of a flock-leader as his father.
  7. jeannieo

    jeannieo Songster

    Oct 25, 2008
    Collinsville, CT
    [​IMG] What a beautiful, engaging way of telling the tale of DaddyRoo. I was crying too. [​IMG] Rest in peace DaddyRoo.

  8. ginbart

    ginbart Crowing

    Mar 9, 2008
    Bloomsburg, PA
    OMGoodness, [​IMG] I now know the whole life story of DaddyRoo. I'm so sorry for you and I know where your coming from. I think most of us do. [​IMG]
  9. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    Thank you for the sweet words. He sounded like such a great Roo. I am so sorry for your loss [​IMG]. Hope his son does better. Good luck. [​IMG]:fl
  10. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    My family thanks all of you for caring.

    I guess that at a little before dawn this morning, DaddyRoo was up in heaven -- crowing loud enough to wake every angel in the clouds.

    I just hope that there is plenty of green pasture for DaddyRoo to roam up there, and plenty of bugs, mealworms, and other treats to peck out of the heavenly grass. And maybe he'll find himself a flock of hen-angels that he can share a heavenly chicken coop with...


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