Yesterday I finally did it

Richard Pryor

Songster
May 17, 2017
179
92
108
It had gone on for way too long. My only rooster had 25 chickens all to himself and life was good. A new wife every hour, the only male in the palace. Food/Water 24/7, electric fences, automatic open/close door, you name it. Until one chicken decided he had something funny on his feet so she started pecking at it. Blood came out and the rest of the chickens got in on the action.

On 2 occasions I sprayed the blue stuff on his legs, but I don't think it did much long term. Getting close to him was never easy. And if you turned your back on him (while he was still healthy) you'd feel him charging your lower legs/calves. Out of 14 roosters, we chose him after consulting with the experts in the field of Marans. We could only keep 1. And we chose him.

His leg injury got worse as the days went by. He didn't come out of the coop much except when I came in to change food/clean bed/pick up eggs/scoop poop/give them treats. He was clearly limping at this point, and I realized why he stayed inside most of the day: because when he went out his wives would inflict damage on his already-injured leg.

He didn't defend himself, he didn't attack them. He basically tried to hide his right leg so that it was out of reach of the chickens. I would try to help him by spraying the attackers with the water hose. That helped briefly.

His leg got worse as the weeks progressed. I tried to grab him a few times to inspect it, but he wouldn't let me (I could have tried harder!). Yesterday I looked out the window and he had gone out of the coop for a second to drink water. He was fully limping on 1 leg. After he finished drinking he kind of got close to the chicken door to go back in again, but the ramp had fallen to the side so he would've had to jump to get back in. "Not yet. I can't do this yet. It hurts too much still. Let me catch my breath"

He laid there next to the door protecting his leg because otherwise the hens would come and prey on it. But he was such a gentleman. Never attacked another chicken even when they were eating him alive. He finally got in to the coop right before sundown.

I had a guy delivering firewood for me and after we were done stacking the wood I asked him:

- "Do you have chickens?".
- "No." he said.
- "I have a very sick rooster and I need some help killing it because my wife won't help me."
- "Where is he?" he asked
- "Just there in the coop. Would you be kind enough to give me a hand?"
-"That's the least I could do after you helped me unload your firewood"
- "Be right back"

Coop was closed, all birds were getting ready to sleep, perhaps thinking about their day tomorrow. I came in quiet, opened the door and went straight at him. Very gently I grabbed him with both hands and put him close to my chest so that I could feel him but also so that he could feel what I was going through.

He wasn't thrilled for the first few seconds but once i got him into a good position in my arms and reassured him in his ear that his suffering would come to an end in the next minute, he relaxed.

Next thing that happened was me getting emotional while I apologized to him for not doing something sooner, for not having his back, for not separating him from the rest of the flock even if it would've been a PITA, for not rehoming him, for everything I didn't do which was the direct cause of his current situation. Yes, my inaction was the direct cause of his predicament.

His life would end in less than 30 seconds. Firewood guy had the hatchet already in hand and laid out the best round available to perform the ceremony. This was not my first rodeo, so I knew what would happen once that head came off. And then firewood guy struck his first blow, then quickly followed with a second to completely dismember the head. No more suffering, old friend.

I kept him in my hands for what seemed an eternity. I felt morally obligated to be with him all the way to his last reflect. While holding tight, his movements and reflexes were part of the cleansing process for me. On a positive note, he was no longer suffering. On the other hand, I couldn't escape the fact that I let this go way too long and I had 0 excuses.

So I grabbed his headless body and tried to feel and sense every molecule of anger and contempt towards me. And while I was being bathed in his own blood by his own reflex-movements, I could not sense any hatred towards his master: the one who neglected and abandoned him way past the point of no return.

With blood everywhere (shirt, arms, face, hat, hands) I thanked "firewood guy" for the firewood and specially for his help with the rooster. As soon as they left, a sense of complete loathe took over. How could you let it go that long? Why didn't you do anything before? Did you look at that leg? Had it not been for the firewood guy, how many more days would he have had to continue suffering?

Before embarking on the journey to answer these questions, i had a flashback of the rooster, his leg, his worse moments and I broke down like I haven't in 20 years. How could I do this to a being? How could I prioritize other things in life when I should've been taking care or a hurt animal in my ranch? How long was he in pain for? For how long was that pain uncontrollable?

I cried like a baby. I apologized to him out loud and promised never to do that to any animal that I encounter for the rest of my life. Been crying few times per day ever since. He was a good animal and he didn't deserve this.
 

PouleChick

Crowing
Apr 6, 2016
2,158
6,266
407
SW France
It sounds like you have had a huge emotional ride over this one. I know it sometimes feels overwhelming and I always think 'it will get better' and often act later than I should when I realise that it isn't going to get better. It is a shame he had to be culled when he could have been separated and probably fixed although if he had been attacking you he may not have been the right roo to keep anyway. At least he is out of his misery now and sounds like you have learnt an enourmous lesson from this. I let a chick suffer longer than I should of as he was cross beaked and couldn't eat. I will never let that happen again and make the cull decision sooner next time. None of us is perfect and all experiences are lessons. :hugs
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,616
137,801
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
It had gone on for way too long. My only rooster had 25 chickens all to himself and life was good. A new wife every hour, the only male in the palace. Food/Water 24/7, electric fences, automatic open/close door, you name it. Until one chicken decided he had something funny on his feet so she started pecking at it. Blood came out and the rest of the chickens got in on the action.

On 2 occasions I sprayed the blue stuff on his legs, but I don't think it did much long term. Getting close to him was never easy. And if you turned your back on him (while he was still healthy) you'd feel him charging your lower legs/calves. Out of 14 roosters, we chose him after consulting with the experts in the field of Marans. We could only keep 1. And we chose him.

His leg injury got worse as the days went by. He didn't come out of the coop much except when I came in to change food/clean bed/pick up eggs/scoop poop/give them treats. He was clearly limping at this point, and I realized why he stayed inside most of the day: because when he went out his wives would inflict damage on his already-injured leg.

He didn't defend himself, he didn't attack them. He basically tried to hide his right leg so that it was out of reach of the chickens. I would try to help him by spraying the attackers with the water hose. That helped briefly.

His leg got worse as the weeks progressed. I tried to grab him a few times to inspect it, but he wouldn't let me (I could have tried harder!). Yesterday I looked out the window and he had gone out of the coop for a second to drink water. He was fully limping on 1 leg. After he finished drinking he kind of got close to the chicken door to go back in again, but the ramp had fallen to the side so he would've had to jump to get back in. "Not yet. I can't do this yet. It hurts too much still. Let me catch my breath"

He laid there next to the door protecting his leg because otherwise the hens would come and prey on it. But he was such a gentleman. Never attacked another chicken even when they were eating him alive. He finally got in to the coop right before sundown.

I had a guy delivering firewood for me and after we were done stacking the wood I asked him:

- "Do you have chickens?".
- "No." he said.
- "I have a very sick rooster and I need some help killing it because my wife won't help me."
- "Where is he?" he asked
- "Just there in the coop. Would you be kind enough to give me a hand?"
-"That's the least I could do after you helped me unload your firewood"
- "Be right back"

Coop was closed, all birds were getting ready to sleep, perhaps thinking about their day tomorrow. I came in quiet, opened the door and went straight at him. Very gently I grabbed him with both hands and put him close to my chest so that I could feel him but also so that he could feel what I was going through.

He wasn't thrilled for the first few seconds but once i got him into a good position in my arms and reassured him in his ear that his suffering would come to an end in the next minute, he relaxed.

Next thing that happened was me getting emotional while I apologized to him for not doing something sooner, for not having his back, for not separating him from the rest of the flock even if it would've been a PITA, for not rehoming him, for everything I didn't do which was the direct cause of his current situation. Yes, my inaction was the direct cause of his predicament.

His life would end in less than 30 seconds. Firewood guy had the hatchet already in hand and laid out the best round available to perform the ceremony. This was not my first rodeo, so I knew what would happen once that head came off. And then firewood guy struck his first blow, then quickly followed with a second to completely dismember the head. No more suffering, old friend.

I kept him in my hands for what seemed an eternity. I felt morally obligated to be with him all the way to his last reflect. While holding tight, his movements and reflexes were part of the cleansing process for me. On a positive note, he was no longer suffering. On the other hand, I couldn't escape the fact that I let this go way too long and I had 0 excuses.

So I grabbed his headless body and tried to feel and sense every molecule of anger and contempt towards me. And while I was being bathed in his own blood by his own reflex-movements, I could not sense any hatred towards his master: the one who neglected and abandoned him way past the point of no return.

With blood everywhere (shirt, arms, face, hat, hands) I thanked "firewood guy" for the firewood and specially for his help with the rooster. As soon as they left, a sense of complete loathe took over. How could you let it go that long? Why didn't you do anything before? Did you look at that leg? Had it not been for the firewood guy, how many more days would he have had to continue suffering?

Before embarking on the journey to answer these questions, i had a flashback of the rooster, his leg, his worse moments and I broke down like I haven't in 20 years. How could I do this to a being? How could I prioritize other things in life when I should've been taking care or a hurt animal in my ranch? How long was he in pain for? For how long was that pain uncontrollable?

I cried like a baby. I apologized to him out loud and promised never to do that to any animal that I encounter for the rest of my life. Been crying few times per day ever since. He was a good animal and he didn't deserve this.
I liked your story.
I’ve had two sick roosters here that had to be killed. I expected the other roosters to pick on them but it was the hens that proved to be the most aggressive towards them.
Neither rooster suffered for long but I found it very hard to decide when their lives were no longer worth living and did my utmost to try and bring about a recovery that realistically was never going to happen.
Sometimes despite our best intentions the lives we lead often mean things that should get attended to, particularly with roosters that may be difficult to handle, get postponed, from dealing with difficult behavior to tending the uncooperative sick.
Even simple things like dealing with scaly leg mite often means being out in the dark, taking each chicken out of the coop and coating their legs which all takes time and is so easy to put off until another day.
I’m sorry you’ve had to kill your rooster. The feelings of guilt will ease, but for me at least the memory of how I felt I had in some way failed to care adequately helps me now to make just that bit more effort.
 

Dona Worry

Crowing
Jul 5, 2018
1,526
6,918
377
Vermont
Hey, it's ok. Humans screw up a lot, it's one if our defining characteristics.
I don't see how you caused the initial leg injury, and while perhaps you could have culled sooner, better late than never.
Projecting the emotions onto the rooster won't be helpful-- chickens can't loath or hate, nor do the have a concept of master, or indeed, responsibility.
He was biologically incapable of blaming or hating you.
Chickens have no concept of death, so he was never aware of his end.
Let yourself off the hook for this a little. Yes, you could have done more-- but that is always true. Do better next time, it's all you can do.
 

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