Earlier this week, our flock of 5 roosters staged a coup and dispatched of Rufio.
At least that’s what we think went down.
The coop has been a bit Lord of the Flies of late with all that masculine energy running amuck. Now that the hens are laying, it’s exacerbated the situation. During daylight hours, there isn’t a moment that goes by that a rooster isn’t crowing. And Rufio was the worst offender. In all honesty, besides looking really really ridiculously cool, he was a pain in the butt. Flighty yet aggressive, noisy yet skittish. I’m not surprised the other roosters were none too pleased with his behavior.
But that in no way means we’re thrilled that a chicken was likely killed by a fellow coop-mate. I am not entirely convinced that that is what went down, as I feel that we would have heard such horror. James and the girls ventured up to the coop on Wednesday to do the nightly egg collection, and discovered Rufio dead in the coop. While there was some blood on the scene, it wasn’t a blood bath. In fact, Kaki informed me that Rufio was sleeping because he had a boo boo. Had it been death by hawk or other predator, there would be no body (just a mess of feathers), and we think it may have been a much more dramatic affair had it truly been another rooster. Ultimately, we don’t have a great explanation. Chickens are not terribly bright, and so he very well could have gotten himself in a bad situation (stuck in the fence? a branch?) and that could have caused the damage that led to his demise.
The kids requested to learn how to pluck a chicken, so Rufio is currently in a brown paper bag in our chest freezer, so that he can still be a part of our chicken harvest, which has been accelerated to this weekend to avoid any future rooster catastrophes. (You see, Rufio’s fate was sealed long before Wednesday). We will be keeping only 1 rooster (sweet sweet fluffy Ferdinand) and the rest have got to go. They’ll make for some fresh chicken stock and meals this winter, and continue to teach our girls about the circle of life and the realities and responsibilities of a life eating meat.
While I still cringe and squirm at the thought of processing my own animal meat despite understanding the correlation to my food, I am grateful to be raising people who will be less hysterical and more rational about the whole process. Kaki was holding the brown paper bag carrying Rufio’s body when the girls relayed the story of his death. “MAMA! DO YOU WANT TO SEE?! LOOK! Rufio is dead. He has a boo boo. That’s sad, but now I can have one of his pretty feathers.”
Yep. Meanwhile, I was slowly creeping further and further away from my preschooler clutching a bag of dead chicken to avoid having to look at the situation.