Monday, January 20, 2014
Henry and siblings when just a couple of weeks old. Henry is one of the smallest birds in the nesting box.
One of the favorite posts from one of my other blogs, "What I Learned from Daniel" was this one, which concerns the life and passing of a young rooster. This post originally appeared there on November 1, 2011.
Those of you who are ardent followers of this blog may remember that two days before Daniel's sudden Autumn passing,now three years ago, that Daniel purchased a beautiful young rooster to watch our chickens. Daniel named him "Ross the Rooster" because Ross is a Rhode Island Red. Ross is still very much with us, and has sired about a hundred chickens and young roosters. One of those young roosters hatched about a year and a half ago was "Little Henry". "Little Henry" was the same size as his siblings as a hatchling, but very quickly, they surpassed him in size and in speed and agility. It wasn't long until we had to place Little Henry in a cage beside them,so that he would not have to compete with them for food, wouldn't get stepped on, could get water, and wouldn't be picked on by his more aggressive larger teen brothers. I did some research as to why Little Henry appeared not to be growing, and why he appeared to have a much paler comb than his counterparts and I came to the conclusion from references,and from the vet's suggestions, that he likely had a heart defect which would limit his abilities as a rooster and likely shorten his life. Most good farmers would have ended his life, but I never said I was a good farmer, and as long as an animal appears to be enjoying his time on Earth, in the warm sun, enjoying pecking the insects in the grass, and getting those tick eggs out of here on occasion, I tend to allow animals to eat and live, until they are called home. Little Henry has been doing rather well. He has been enjoying his life, periodically ambulating alone around the outside of the cages, basking in sunlight, and even seems to be gradually putting on some weight. Our plan for the winter was to shelter him more than his brothers, so that he would not be subject to as broad temperature excursions as his brothers would likely easily tolerate. With a heart defect, he would be more prone to pneumonia.
Last night, my husband brought little Henry into the barn, where it is warmer over night especially since we have had two hard frosts overnight the last two nights. He ate his grains and comfortably closed his eyes, as if to go to sleep. This morning, when my husband checked on him to consider putting him out again, in his neighboring cage, Little Henry had passed. Little Henry will not be enduring the long winter. He will not be here to bask in the sunlight of Spring next year. He will however, join a sister and a brother who passed before him, and a few hatchlings who did not make it into this world, and the sweet little rooster who never got beyond half normal size will bring joy to Daniel, who will be pleased to see the legacy of his rooster.
I am pleased that if Little Henry had to pass, that he did so, quietly and comfortably in his sleep. Goodnight Little Henry. I really enjoyed our time with you. Thanks for coming. Tell Daniel and Dad hello and that we love them too.