This is Big Boy....the world's meanest rooster. This picture was taken in the spring of 2006, and he was about 5 months old. Today--March 8, 2010-- he breathed his last breath and crowed his final cock-a-doodle-doo. He was a beautiful specimen of the old heirloom breed of Rhode Island Red. He got really big, weighing in at about 12 pounds. Last winter he managed to get frostbite...on one foot and his comb. He must have had the one leg and the top of his head sticking out the door of the coop is all I can figure. So for a year he has been all gimpy, but he still managed to rule his little flock of hens. He started getting mean around a year and a half old....before that, he would let me walk into the chicken run and pet him and talk to him. Suddenly he didn't want anything to do with me, and would as soon rip my face off as look at me. We had several close calls. Once he threw himself at me from the doorway to the chicken coop (which sits up high). I was walking away from him, and he hit me square in the middle of my back and knocked me down. Luckily I had a full gallon water jug in my hand and I turned and knocked him ass over teakettle with it as he got ready to come at me again. He stood up, shook himself off and started at me and I yelled at him and threatened him with the jug again and he backed off. We had a few more encounters before I started just staying away from him as much as I could. He ripped my hand with his spurs a couple of times inside the coop when I was gathering eggs.
For about a week he has been acting very listless and dug himself a shallow pit in the chicken run for a dust bath...I found him laying there this morning looking pretty rough. Early in the afternoon the hens were making a lot of noise and I went back to check and there he was...right in the center of the run, dead. I said a little prayer and thanked him for taking such good care of the girls, and we laid him to rest. His crowing every morning will be missed, mostly by me, as I'm sure he drove the neighbors crazy. He was really beautiful and had the heart of a warrior. I've seen him take on snakes and he even caught a mouse once. One night a baby possum managed to slink through the chicken wire and he raised hjoly hell until we came and got it. He stood right there, lunging at it, making sure it didn't hurt his girls. When an occasional cat would jump on top of the fencing, he would gather up the hens and move them inside the coop where they would be safe.
He was moulting here, but you can get an idea of how much he'd grown in just one year. (2007)
Here he was when we first brought him home from the farm store....what's not to love?
So, here's to the memory of a rooster who lived his life to the fullest, gave it his best, and breathed his last breath in the bosom of the Mother Earth. R.I.P. You will be missed....