Monday, July 18, 2011

winthrop's gone

It's never what you think it is. I expected to home home to a lame sheep, overheated animals in need of fresh water, more dead chickens, and a destroyed garden. Everything I worried about didn't happen. What did happen was on the left, front side of the barn. Under a canopy of rusted old tools lay the dead body of Winthrop, my favorite rooster.

He died of natural causes. There was no trauma or blood. He had been spending more time in the shade, his crow sounding weaker and weaker. Last night he slept in the hay instead of roosting. I knew it was his time. He passed away in the shade of the red barn on the soft ground on a summer day. Not a bad way to leave the world.

Winthrop was an enormous Light Brahma, kind and cuddly. He howled like a wolf, purred like a wookie, and watched over this flock for nearly four years. Many hens came and went from his watch over this place, but every winter and spring: he was here. He was from my first order of chicks when I made that little cabin in Vermont my home. He lived in two states, engaged in much sexual congress, and got his portrait on this blog, my chicken book, and Tim's photography site. I have a lot of happy memories of that bird. He will be missed.

photo by Tim Bronson

49 Comments:

Blogger daisy said...

Oh, Jenna. I'm so sorry. I'll bet he's watching over you right now.

July 18, 2011 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Mare said...

So sorry Jenna...

July 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

goodbye, were-rooster, may you find peace.

July 18, 2011 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

peace.

July 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger crazymimi said...

So very sorry for you loss. Our animals are so important to us.

July 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

So sorry to hear, Jenna. Sounds like he had a good life and a good death, though.

July 18, 2011 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Goodbye to a handsome rooster. Hope his next path brings him happiness and contentment.

July 18, 2011 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger karental said...

So sorry, but he did have a long GOOD life. A rooster's dream.

July 18, 2011 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Dahlia ChanTang said...

I'm sorry about Winthrop.

July 18, 2011 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

We will miss the tales of Winthrop. Hopefully his genes live on.

July 18, 2011 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Jenna. Winthrop did much important work on your little farm.

July 18, 2011 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Katou said...

So sorry Jenna for your lost...

July 18, 2011 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thank you all. It's okay. I'll just miss that little boss.

There are two chicks here, his kids, hope one of them crows up to be a fine rooster!

July 18, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

sorry for the loss of your friend.

July 18, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Oh, I'm so, so sorry. I'm crying. Winthrop changed my mind about having roosters, and I loved his dignified and friendly personality. He had a wonderful life with you.

July 18, 2011 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

Oh Jenna, I'm so sorry. Winthrop was a truly magnificent bird. Through your photos and stories on this blog, as well as my one time in his presence, (when you picked him up and cuddled him in your arms like a cat), he became the "gold standard" that I will always measure roosters against.

July 18, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Winthrop was exceptional for a rooster. We'll miss him, too. Keep us posted on his offspring!

July 18, 2011 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I'm so sorry for your, and Cold Antlers loss. Hang in there

July 18, 2011 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Tora Consolo said...

He's in Rooster heaven having his way with all the chicks and eateng all the corn he can! And sending you wonderful blessings in thanks for all the care you gave him and his flock.

July 18, 2011 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Asia said...

You have given him a great life and his death was a peacefull one, can't ask for more.

July 18, 2011 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger Whosyergurl said...

aw. I'm sorry. Four years is a long time - isn't it?
}hugs{

July 18, 2011 at 9:58 PM  
OpenID pawsfurme said...

I'm so sorry Jenna. It must be something in the stars lately. I've had 2 favorite pets lost to me this month. One of my mentors lost her only child to a car accident. It's been a rough month for a lot of people, it seems. "Howl at the Moon" takes on new meaning for me ever since I heard his were-rooster howl in May. May his crazy crowing genes live on.

July 18, 2011 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger damnyankee said...

Aaaah shit. I hate that. When its your time, its your time. Such is life on a farm. Weren't you lucky to have a great rooster with so much personality. Peace to you both....

July 18, 2011 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Lara Katherine Mountain Colley said...

May the memory of Winthrop live on. He had a good life.

July 18, 2011 at 11:02 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

So sorry Jenna. Winthrop was a true gentlman, I hope my future roosters have as much class as he did.

July 18, 2011 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger sueguzman said...

RIP Winthrop. He was a gentleman indeed. My deepest sympathies Jenna. I don't do well when I lose my birds.

July 19, 2011 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

Wow, so sorry Jenna! Winthrop will be missed! hoping your ok!

July 19, 2011 at 12:49 AM  
Blogger mmgreenough said...

So sorry Jenna. Glad he lived a good life.

July 19, 2011 at 6:11 AM  
Blogger PurrfectPetSitting said...

I'm so sorry Jenna. I'm sure he will be missed.

July 19, 2011 at 6:18 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

You guys are so dang sweet. I am okay, very much so. I liked that chicken, but it wasn't like I lost Jazz or Annie or Gibson. I do appreciate the kindness, though. He was a happy guy! No sadness here, just smiles.

July 19, 2011 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

I too am sorry Jenna because I know he was special to you.

July 19, 2011 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

So long ol'e chap! And here's to the next generation of Cold Antler doodler's!

July 19, 2011 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I have 6 tiny light Brahma chicks in my brooder and am hoping at least one of them is a rooster. I couldn't wait to get them after hearing so many great things about the breed (and Winthrop in particular) on your blog.

July 19, 2011 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Rest in Peace, Winthrop. I'm sorry for your loss, Jenna, and for the rest of the farm. He'll be missed.

July 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Aww, I'm so sorry. :( Godspeed, Winthrop!

July 19, 2011 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

I always thought he was such a fine looking guy and friendly for a rooster.

Now who do you have to be the top crower?

July 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Lyssa Kaehler said...

It is strange, but after having chickens for a few years, I feel happy when they die of old age! So many of them meet early ends. It sounds like Winston had a fabulous life and many happy girlfriends. A good rooster is hard to find.

July 19, 2011 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Aurora said...

Oh Jenna, so too bad, but what an adventure he shared with you. I'm happythat you had the gift of knowing him for as long as you did.

July 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I lost one of my roosters, Naploeon, last fall and I still miss him. Whoever thinks birds don't have personalities have never been around roosters or chickens, for that matter. The overwhelming feeling, rather than sadness, was how happy I was that he lived a natural life as so many chickens, particularly roosters, never get to do. Hope Winthrop's progeny turn out as magnificent as he was!

July 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

not a bad way to leave this world. pluck a tail feather and cherish his memory.

its odd he wasn't taken by your nightly predator. the young, old, injured, or weak are usually the first to be preyed upon.

July 19, 2011 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Firecracker Farm said...

Winthrop was the only rooster I ever liked.

July 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

I hate losing chickens; even if it was 'their time' to go. Hope one of his progeny does end up being a roo to carry on his legacy.

July 19, 2011 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Winthrop had a fantastic life. What a way to go—at the farm he was born in the place of his choosing.

July 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Jamie Elfrank said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Jenna. :(

July 19, 2011 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger NorthcountrygrlNY said...

Sorry for your loss.

July 19, 2011 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Shmoopywood said...

SOrry about the loss of your Roo :( It isn't ever easy.

July 20, 2011 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Oh so sad. Winthrop had a great life. What a peaceful way to go though. Take care.

July 20, 2011 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Kris Mo said...

Sorry to hear it, Jenna. But you provided him with the means to a great life, and I'm sure in some rooster way, he is grateful.

July 20, 2011 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger Jburd said...

sorry for your loss Jenna - a real gentleman rooster, he will be missed i'm sure

July 20, 2011 at 8:47 PM  

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