The King is Gone

The woman was moving away and needed a home for her chickens. She had some beautiful Dark Cornish hens and a magnificent Buff Cochin rooster.  I told her I’d take the hens, but not the rooster, as we already had a rooster and I didn’t think they’d get along well.  No deal, she answered, the rooster and the hens have to stay together. Reluctantly I agreed, figuring I could make sure that no one got hurt when the roosters sorted things out.

I didn’t give our rooster Dee Dee much of a chance against the newcomer, who we named Elvis.  But much too my surprise Dee Dee not only defeated Elvis, but Elvis nearly died as a result–not from any physical injury, but from the humiliation.  Fortunately Elvis eventually recovered and accepted his new subordinate role. (Story told HERE).

But I later learned that Elvis had only been biding his time.  Surprising me a second time, Elvis emerged victorious in a swift but decisive rematch, and took his place as the king of our flock.  (Story told HERE).

Elvis.  The king.

Elvis. The king.

Elvis reigned supreme on White Flint Farm until a few days ago.  We’d seen him stumble a few times lately, and then about a week ago he started sleeping on the floor of the coop, apparently unable to fly up to the roosting poles.  We knew Elvis was nearing the end of his life.

The end came Monday and now his understudy Little Richard has assumed command of the flock.

Little Richard.  Long live the king.

Little Richard. Long live the king.

Elvis was a gentle giant around humans.  He defended his ladies when necessary and sired a lot of chicks. He was a noble and dignified bird.  He will be missed.

RIP Elvis.

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27 comments on “The King is Gone

  1. Sue says:

    A gentle rooster? Lucky you. I had “Duke”–a testosterone charged hulk of a bird that terrorized not only those of the feathered persuasion, but ANYONE—even the one bearing feed.
    My very favorite hen Mary Jane once timidly snuck into the house through the dog door–I imagine she needed the break from Duke’s amorous attention. I felt so sorry for her–she took the brunt of his “affections”–so I let her sit on the house plant she found on the floor and have a few hours of peace.
    Duke finally went too far and he learned the hard way—don’t EVER piss off Sue–she has a .357 and isn’t afraid to use it. Last time he ever cornered and attacked me.

    Hope your Little Richard is a gentle ruler just as your Elvis was. I know they’re “only” chickens, but they all have their personalities and can be quite endearing. I know you’ll miss him.

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    • Bill says:

      We’ve been lucky with roosters. We’ve only had one who was aggressive toward humans. It was one of our two Dominique roosters. I tried hard to convince him to behave better, but nothing worked. Eventually we had to send him off to freezer camp.

      Otherwise we’ve been lucky with roosters. Elvis was always tame and Little Richard, while not tame, is not aggressive toward humans and keeps his distance.

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  2. Joanna says:

    Having had several runs in with our cockerels (sorry roosters 😀 ) I can sympathise with Sue. One of our good cockerels met an untimely end due to stalking me once too often. It is sad to see the great characters in our flocks meet their end though, we wonder how much longer for our slightly dimwitted portly hen, she is getting slower and slower (apart from when a fox is in pursuit and then she developed a remarkable ability to fly quite a distance and I am surprised that didn’t hasten her demise). I do hope Little Richard proves to be a good one!

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    • Bill says:

      As I mentioned to Sue, we had a Dominique rooster whose behavior got him voted off the island. But otherwise we’ve been fortunate to have gentle, or at least not-aggressive, roosters.

      It’s a little sad when an animal dies of old age, but of course that doesn’t happen on farms much anymore.

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      • Joanna says:

        Lol that sounds like one of our phrases, “promoted up the food chain.” This encompasses several scenarios, from eaten by predators to ending up on our plates.

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  3. shoreacres says:

    i’m pretty sure I’ve never seen the death of a rooster marked, and I know for sure I’ve never grieved the loss of a rooster. He was such a handsome devil, but so is Little Richard. The king is dead, long live the king, as they say.

    What do the hens think about it all?

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    • Bill says:

      We’ve marked the passing of quite a few great roosters. Some died of old age, some while defending the flock from predators. We enjoy our roosters and try to always keep two per flock. We’re sorry to lose Elvis but his death is good news for one of our chicks. 🙂

      Elvis was a big bird, so I’m guessing the hens will be somewhat relieved to have their load lightened a bit. But the Cornish hens who came here with him seemed quite attached to him, so I’d suppose they miss him (in a chicken way).

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  4. Laurie@hinterlands.me says:

    Lovely story! I even have to admit it brought tears to my eyes.

    Like

  5. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, barnyard pecking orders can indeed change quickly just as Elvis’ coup in barnyard reveals. Only one Roo and rule apparently Elvis’ rule has ended. Elvis has left the building. Long live Little Richard. Hopefully, his rule will be a good one. Most unruly roosters end up in the stew pot. I never had the desire to have chickens after leaving my parent’s farm. Yes, eggs were nice and fried chicken was nice but I’ll trade for them any day with something I grow or build. Homesteading in my opinion is not about off the grid isolation living but being part of a community that trades what they are good at with others for what they are good. Trying to raise everything, grow everything, build everything, seldom works. Much of my garden is done with donated or free stuff. I just got a call from my cousin yesterday to come get a garden bench that will go nicely in Terra Nova Gardens or even at my other property 35th Street. Some yard art came with it so now the gardens will be decorated with a couple pelicans and a turtle. All kinds of things have come my way just because of my blog about the gardens. Urban dwellers have this fantasy about what gardening should be but become quickly discouraged when sweat and weeds are involved. So they want to be rid of all the memories along with the tools of reminder for the bad experience. My shed is filled with all the weasels and Ronco yard gadgets advertised TV. Some do OK but there’s just nothing that can compete with a hoe, garden rake, and a spade. Anyway, you grow the chickens and eggs and I’ll trade something you need built out of pallets. Deal?

    Have a great Roo changing of guard day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

      Hey Dave? I think you just described a Community… Bravo!; )

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I envy your skills Dave. I don’t mind hard work–in fact I enjoy it–but I am next to useless when it comes to building things. My brain just can’t handle things like that. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to install our new irrigation system today. Cherie or our son could have set it up in minutes. If we were closer I’d definitely take you up on your offer.

      By the way, I chuckled at “Elvis has left the building.” I wish I’d thought of that as a title for this post. When I was thinking of what to call it I remembered a corny song that was a hit shortly after Elvis Presley died (that was a real big deal here in the rural South). It was called “The King is Gone.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. avwalters says:

    Rock Star Roosters. Hmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Most of our animals’ names are references to pop music. Hamer the Framer suggested Little Richard in a comment a while back and that’s where he got the name.

      Little Richard has had some lucky breaks in life. He was masquerading as a pullet in a batch of Barred Rock chicks we bought from a friend. Just as he reached the age we’d normally cull and process young roosters, our second string rooster died. And now, from such humble beginnings, he’s risen to the top of the White Flint chicken ladder.

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  7. The King is gone, but not forgotten. Sorry to hear his reign is over. Elvis was a magnificent looking bird. His named suited him well.
    I have a gentle rooster (Jose’) that knows how to “treat the ladies” and I am grateful for that after hearing so many mean rooster stories.
    How long did Elvis live?

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    • Bill says:

      I don’t know how old he was when we got him, but he lived here for over 3 years.

      I’ve read about Jose before. I love how you refer to his “flamenco dance.” I’d never thought of that before. 🙂

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  8. Elvis looked like he spent a great deal of time working out in a gym with weights, bulked up as they say. 🙂 –Curt

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  9. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Great story(ies) Bill: )
    He was a Very Handsome Fellow indeed!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      He was always a hit with visitors. When he first came here he would (very reluctantly) allow himself to be picked up. Later he would let a person come to within inches of him, then would scoot away (but never run).

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  10. Such drama in your chicken pen. Rest in peace Elvis.
    He was a good looking bird.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s not a good idea to introduce a full-grown rooster into a flock that already has a rooster. I didn’t want to do that, but went ahead and gave it a try. It was almost a fatal mistake for Elvis. When a rooster grows up in the company of a dominant rooster there is less drama.

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  11. EllaDee says:

    At least your Elvis had a good long life… unlike his namesake.
    RIP Elvis. He had the sort of life a rooster should have, and that he’ll be missed is testimony to you all 🙂

    Like

  12. associatedluke says:

    The king is dead. Long live the king! RIP Elvis. Richard, may your reign be long and gracious.

    Like

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