Robert Redbird, 4th August 2015 - 28th May 2018
It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that we bid farewell to our beautiful Rhode Island Red cock bird Robert Redbird yesterday...
On Sunday he was fit as a fiddle, happy, seemingly healthy, eating and drinking and looking after his ladies with his customary devotion, taking them in to roost and cuddling up to them in the evening.
But on Monday morning, I found Robert dead on the floor of the coop, looking just as though he'd gone to sleep and fallen off his perch. There was not a mark on him anywhere and there no signs that he'd had an accident.
Robert looking the picture of health just a few hours before he died
Our Robert Redbird certainly was full of character, right from day one. He was one of those guys that went under a lot of people's radar, especially with our two Silver Blue Brahma boys and quirky little Bertie around catching one's eye, but make no mistake, Robert was The Man. He stepped into Mister Bird's place when the old lad couldn't cut the mustard any more, and was utterly devoted to caring for his ladies: life was ALL about those girls for Robert.
Robert with Silver Blue Brahma girl Mira, his favourite wife, and Red Rock, our gender fluid Exchequer Leghorn
It falls to mini-man Bertie now to take care of the Big House Girls all by himself. It's a big task for the little fella. I am sure that the radically altered dynamic will work itself out, and Brimmel (our big Silver Blue Brahma) will most likely step in to some degree or other, even though the diminutive Bertie usually whoops his ass with Robert around.
Everyone is in shock at present, and Bertram definitely hasn't a clue what to do about the changed situation just yet. All the girls huddled tight together last night, with Bert alone in his corner, looking like he was wondering what the heck just happened. He has never been solely responsible for the ladies, having always been either Mister Bird or Robert's 'right-hand man'. Robert always kept him in check, even as they were working as a team to take care of the Big House girls:
Robert chasing Bertie, keeping him in line
Two roos, living together under one roof - Bertie and Robert a few days ago
As morning dawned on their first day without Robert, the entire flock looks confused. Even our wild pheasant friends, Jack and his Long Girls, seem to be perplexed. But I know they will adapt and carry on if at all possible. It's what chickens - what all animals - do. What else IS there to do, honestly?
We will all adjust to life without Robert in our own ways. It certainly feels very peculiar without him right now. I had a good old cry last night, reminiscing over the many beautiful photos and videos I have of him from a day old to the day before he died. He was the centre of our little chicken field world in many ways, even though he was likely not the first one people would spot upon walking into it. Robert's death really is a mystery, and a shock, of course. So full of life the last time I saw him, so typically, unassumingly self-assured. The Young King is no more. Let's see how things work themselves out in his absence...
Bertie and Brimmel just moments away from Bert chasing Brimmel off, believe it or not!
Robert was a fine young man and we ladies will all miss him. As for the other boys, I will be watching and wondering how out three remaining cock birds (and our fourteen remaining hens) will figure out their places in the new, Robert-less order of things...
Raven with 'Big baby' Robert - they loved each other very much
Life is short and so very precious. It can end any moment. Even in the prime of one's life, death could be a missed heartbeat away. Hold your loved ones close and treasure every moment. Remember always to make the most of it. It falls to those of us left behind to squeeze the life out of life. Don't miss a drop!