We are sad to announce the passing of our dear little friend Speedy the Rooster, who has gone on to The Great Chicken Coop in the Sky.
Speedy was a colorful, nervous little bird, full of quirky noises and jerky movements that kept us smiling and stole our hearts.
Like most of the men in my life, he was a total surprise. We had ordered a collection of hens, plus a couple of roosters from Murray McMurray Hatchery next door in Iowa. We’d ordered mainly Australorpes and Barred Rocks- big, hearty birds that can withstand the crazy Midwest weather. As with most mail orders chicks, you have to have a minimum to send them during certain times of the year so they stay warm on their journey through the postal system. Speedy was one of those “bonus chicks” they stick in for good measure. And what a bonus he was!
As a Silver Duckwing Bantam, he was more colorful (literally) than all of the other chickens. He just stood out, especially with his beautiful, shiny white “mane” that spilled down his neck and back, and his perky tail. His small body and enormous red rooster comb made him ill-suited to Illinois winters, and sometimes he looked a tad frostbitten. He was often parked permanently under the heat lamp on cold winter days. In nicer weather, his black feathers had a blue sheen to them in the sunlight, and his skin looked almost green beneath them. His size was unfortunate, because it put him at the bottom of the pecking order. His beautiful tail got plucked out by the other birds (they must’ve been jealous!)
But Speedy didn’t let any of it get him down. In fact, most of the time he acted like he’d just been on a latte binge at Starbucks. He zoomed around the chicken yard, belting out his strange, awkward high pitched noises for the whole world to hear, at all hours of the day and night. He often loved to fly up as high as possible into the trees nearby, to the envy of his larger, heavier companions.
He also loved to hide, so it’s been hard to find good pictures of him. I seem to have a lot of blurry pictures of his back end. But you can find some beautiful pictures of this beautiful, rare breed here.
Tonight we found him hanging from the chicken feeder. His comb somehow got stuck and he got so upset trying to get out that he gave himself a heart attack. That was our little Speedy- high strung to the last. We buried him under a pine tree in our yard and said our goodbyes.
My four year old asked where he went. Was he in the sky with God?
Yes, I told him, Speedy flew up to heaven. That’s where he always wanted to be anyway.
God’s a good doctor, my little guy said. He’ll take good care of him.
We will all certainly miss him. He is survived by his close friends (18 hens and 2 roosters of various breeds).
On the bright side, he should be all set to vote in the next Presidential Elections. If dead people can vote, why can’t dead chickens???
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