This may sound trite to you unless you’re a chicken keeper or animal lover. This afternoon, we buried Buster wearing our “Chicken Lives Matter” t-shirts. I think I’ll just cry again. This was a very somber evening even though the family knew it was coming. We knew that old age had taken its toll on the old man and we knew it first when he stopped running at us when we approached his chicken door.
Buster came to our home to replace a young mean rooster that we had. I was new at chicken keeping and felt that the rooster in our run was too mean so with little affection for him, I traded him with $20 in my hand for another rooster who looked just like him. (I know! I know! I got taken!)
The chicken trader had an eleven year old boy go into the pen to get Buster so I really thought I had some gentle animal to take back to my flock. Little did I know that he was not only mean and “busty” but meaner and tougher than the roo I had traded. I had a real monster rooster on my hands! We named him “Buster” aptly because he busted out every time we would walk past. Buster left no opportunity untaken. If a gate was cracked in any way, he would bust out and run at us. When we came to feed him, he ran at the fence. When we walked to and fro near the runs, he would eye us down.
All of that meanness became actually endearing to us and we loved him for his solid personality of Mr. Mean. Sometimes people would want to get a closer look because he was indeed beautiful and I would brave catching him so we could gaze into those dreadful eyes and dreadful they were.
Earlier in the week, before Hurricane Irma, we noticed he was slowing. He didn’t have that kick in his step and he wasn’t eyeing us quite so steadily. Most obvious, he wasn’t running at the gate or fence or our legs and so we knew there was something really wrong.
This morning, he stood at the door of his coop and did not brave the heat. He didn’t spur the fence. He didn’t crow with that great and powerful “| er, er, er, er, er |”.
We lost Buster today and we’re all sad because of our loss. Many might say, “Oh, it was just a rooster” but when you’re a chicken keeper, chicken lives matter and especially those with unique personalities like Buster. RIP.