Monday, March 7, 2011

Yogi is dead!

Hi all,
Brad again with sad, sad news from the Hen House.

Yogi is dead.

Yogi was a bantam black Cochin rooster and while I am truly in awe of my own beautiful, many colored feathers, his weren't too shabby either.  His feathers were so black , they looked green in the right light, like a beetle.  Beautiful, if you like that kind of thing.

2007 Champion - Yogi
Another impressive feature of his black, lustrious feathers, is that he had tons of them!  Even on his legs and feet.  I would think it would be hard to stay clean while scratching for food but somehow he did.  His tail was a large bushy ball of super soft feathers and even though he had feathers on his legs, he also touted a large pair of sharp spurs.  Good thing he was a peaceful rooster because I'm not sure my spurs were as long as his and I don't like to get hurt as we discuss who gets to include which hen in a rooster's harem.

His only real fault, besides being vertically challenged, was that he was too nice!  He handled the girls so gently, really taking his time to court them before performing his roosterly job.  I don't have time for that as I am often patrolling the field for preditors.  We have a lot of girls here on the farm too and if I took that kind of time to court them all, I'd never make my rounds before the sun set.

Yogi and the flock out scratching for grub.

The other thing that I found strange, was his deep affection for the middle sized female human that lives on the farm, Arianna.  She would call him and he would actually go to her!  He loved being held by her and would often fall asleep in her arms as she carried him around the property and even into the human house!!!!  Crazy, I know, but he was very happy with the arrangement.

Yogi and I, while very different breeds, classes and sizes of chickens, were both exhibition chickens.  Our humans would bath us and pack us up a few times a summer to go to fairs and shows where all we had to do was look the prettiest for a few days.  It's a tough life, I know, but somebody has got to do it.  Lucky for us, our humans are well trained in our beauty routine ensuring our success in the show ring.  We have many ribbons and trophies as a result.

While Yogi was already an older chicken when he joined our flock, he still put on a good show and helped Arianna learn how to properly care, prepare and then share her knowledge and skills with others.  I was just a young cockerel when I joined the flock but even I have learned to enjoy the ministrations of the middle sized human female.  Yogi told me that the reason he joined our flock was that his middle sized humans grew big and became busy with other activities, thus not having as much time for the birds.  Boy, I hope that doesn't happen with Arianna!

He said they had quite a few chickens like him there and everybody got along great.  No fights, just discussions.  Unfortunately, I wasn't raised that way, having several young cockerels of different breeds all jockeying for flock dominance and access to the girls has made me a bit feisty.  I learned to fight and took my share of hits but never to the death, just to the point that they all knew I was ALPHA!

Yogi wasn't into that and as a result, often was a target of the lower status roosters.  Sometimes he would try to fight back but it was never good and usually he ended up on his back waiting to be rescued by his human friend.  Eventually, she made a special summer and winter cage for him so he would be protected.  He had it good!!!

So I guess that brings us to today's blog "Yogi is dead."  This winter was long and cold, especially for an old rooster like Yogi, even in our heated coop.  He seemed to be tolerating it well but just as the weather started to get nice, he stopped eating and became very quiet.  He had a very distinctive crow and our coop is diminished by this loss.

Our middle sized human realized pretty quick that he was fading and did all she could to pamper him, even more than before.  She spent many long hours sitting in our coop, just holding him.  I could tell it brought them both some peace as he neared the end of this existence as a chicken.

Finally one morning, she came in to bring us food and water and found that he had passed away sometime in the night.  She cried a bit but seemed to know that death is a normal part of life.  Though it is sad to say goodbye, I know he's in a happy place full of fresh water, easy pickings and warm nests.

So, to end my blog today, I want to say, Yogi, rest in peace and may your next life bring you many fresh worms, sweet grass, crunchy seeds and lots of pretty hens!

Mediterranean Leghorn Rooster
Alpha Male of the Hen House
Former mate to Angelina, (rest in peace due to the sly fox)

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