Goodbye, Rooster

My flock is without a leader and I am without a friend. We had to put our rooster down. He was sick; nothing we could do. It was good to hear it from a vet. I didn’t feel as guilty then.

He wasn’t getting better. His breathing was ragged. He went lame, shuffling his mass across the straw when I found him under a two-by-four. He crowed once when I grabbed him up. He fell asleep on the way to the vet. I was in the backseat, saying my sorries and my goodbyes and my rationalizations. Nolan drove us, our eyes meeting in the rearview mirror. The rooster nodded off, his comb now bleeding, poking out of an airhole I had cut into the side with a dull screwdriver.

I wasn’t in the room when he died. We sat in the car. I needed air. It may be silly, but I’ve never handled these things well.

I am without a friend. Our flock is now at 26. This is the last photo I took of him. “He was a good boy” is the maxim we’re repeating. The small eulogy for his small life. He was thoughtful and gentle for a rooster. He was malnourished when we got him and his body grew to its limits quickly. He wobbled under his own weight. He was patient. He was vigilant. He sometimes, confused, brooded in the nesting boxes. He was as tall as Milo. He went peacefully and is buried by the creek bed. He was my first rooster I ever owned. I will miss him. The morning is no longer punctuated with his trumpeting. I will miss him.

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