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Sunday, March 15, 2009
The Chickens With Daniel
About a year ago, in April, our daughter Stephanie and I were in the feed store buying feed for the animals when we saw a small chick lying flat in the cage with one of its legs extended behind it. The other chicks were pecking at it and it was being trampled. We asked the owner what was going on with the chick and he said that she had a broken leg and that once she died, he would throw the little pullet away. I bought our feed and asked if he could just box up the chick and give it to us. At least it could die in peace without being attacked by the others. We bought a quarters worth of food for it and were on our way. Stephanie named her Chickadee and we placed her at home in a box with a light. Stephanie deserves the credit for most of this as she took wonderful care of the chick, and I simply relocated the leg which eventually turned out to be dislocated rather than broken. Chickadee was very tame and eventually defecated only in one place in the box. Chickadee, who was supposed to have died shortly after we brought her home became a beautiful large snowy hen, and the only person more pleased about this than we were was the shopkeeper.
A couple of weeks later the shopkeeper broke his rule of only selling 6-8 chicks at once and sold us one more chick to keep Chickadee company. The chick was first called Charlotte, and when he grew a comb uncharacteristic of a female, he was renamed Charlemagne.
Charlemagne, an apparent Cornish cross, grew to be the largest rooster I have ever seen anywhere. He was tall and broad, snowy colored and had a very large and tall crimson comb on his head. He was quite intimidating and even our dogs avoided tangling with him. He also crowed very loudly. Daniel enjoyed these chickens very much and when they grew up, Matthew took on primary responsibility for their care, especially since Stephanie was at college.
We were sad to learn that these particular chickens were bred for size and meat and were intended to be slaughtered after only a few months. They were therefore, not the best choices for pets or even for breeding purposes. This was hammered home to us in the heat of summer when Chickadee died suddenly at about five months. Charlemagne was devastated, and so to give him someone to watch over, in the hope that he would remain here on Earth longer, we bought three hens who appear to be Brahma and Rhode Island Red crosses.
Our large rooster Charlemagne, as he heads toward a year old has been slowing down. Daniel bought a new rooster to be housed separately named Ross in order to watch the girls in anticipation of Charlemagne's passing.
On Friday the 13th after a long day of running around the yard, settled in the corner of his cage and passed quietly. We buried him this morning. Chickadee and Charlemagne are once again together, and Daniel now has the chickens he knew first with him.
Charlemagne the Rooster b April 1, 2008 d March 13, 2009