Farewell, King Rooster
I wrote earlier about King Rooster, who put himself at the top of the pecking order despite his smaller stature. Sadly, King Rooster sleeps under the roots of a lilac tree tonight.
A few days ago Angelika found him staying very still in the pen. He'd fallen from the top of the pecking order and had seemed beaten up and frantic in the past, but this was different. He didn't seem able to use his legs. We brought him in in a dog crate for a few days, but he didn't get any better. A vet friend of ours looked at him and didn't think he'd get better, so we decided that, alas, it was time to try the killing cone.
As we were setting up, it started to sprinkle. As I actually slaughtered him, it thundered. It rained while Angelika dug his grave, and then the sun came out as she finished planting a lilac on top of him.
It was my first time doing it, and not perfect. Still, I think he's better off under the lilac than sitting sadly in the dog crate, looking confused about what happened to him.
He might have been sick, or he might have been injured somehow. He clearly wasn't happy. The rest of the chickens - our older ones and the rest that had arrived with him - seem fine. He hadn't seemed happy since losing his place in the pecking order, but I hadn't imagined that this would happen, or that anything like it would happen to the one member of our flocks who really stood out as a unique character.