I adopted Reuben from the county in 2007. He had been picked up as a stray in a field (and I suspect he got dumped there because of his personality). He lost his right eye last year, when he decided to go mano-a-mano with a very large rattlesnake and was bitten in the face. (Reuben won the match, because I found the dead snake a few days later!) I nursed him back to health over the course of several weeks, during which he lived in the house with me and was doted on, and he responded by becoming even meaner. My avian vet had hopes that his eye would be okay, but it never recovered, and he was left with a permanent squint.
Most people hated and/or feared Reuben, with good reason. He was sneaky and mean, and he never lost an opportunity to do a flank attack and to gouge a bit of calf flesh out of your leg, given the opportunity. Even I wouldn't go out to face him without my super soaker assault weapon. He attacked my dogs, my family, and my guests. I kept thinking about taking him back to the county, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. He was a challenge to me, and taking him back would have been to admit defeat.
Reuben was the ideal rooster, in many ways, because he was always vigilant and protective of his hens, macho and virile, and willing to take on anything that got in his way. He didn't care about getting along with the hand that fed him, and he would never eat the fresh corn I threw out without first making sure his girls were getting their fair share. And Reuben was mellowing in his older age, and was starting to not attack me EVERY chance he got (although he would still give my shoe a good peck or two if I got too close to the coop).
I believe Reuben was killed because he had lost a lot of his peripheral vision with the loss of his eye, so he didn't see the hawk. Either that, or he decided to meet the hawk head on, sacrificing his life to save his hens. With Reuben, either scenario was a possibility.
So Reuben, thank you for your years of service, for providing me with strong sons to take your place, for keeping me on my toes, and for teaching me to always check to see what is behind me. I will miss you, and I mourned your passing. I locked your hens up the next morning, so they will be safe until the hawk decides hunting is better elsewhere.
Things got better this week, however, and overall, it has been a good one. On Wednesday, for instance, I picked up two of the cutest dogs EVER from the county, to foster over the holidays.
My sister deserves an award for keeping up with this year's menu of turkey AND ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, baked asparagus, green beans, peas, and a broccoli/cheese/rice dish. See the appetizers behind her? I complain every year about having nothing to eat pre-turkey, and she finally caved in and even remembered to put out crackers and cheese. :) Love you, sis, and thank you for caving in to my whining! Our mother decided, many years ago, that she had cooked for the family long enough, and was done with it, and my sister graciously took up the mantle of responsibility and has consistently outdone herself every year!
We changed her hoof bandage this weekend, and her vet, Dr. Russell, liked what he saw. He says Girl's hoof looks dry and smells clean, and that she continues to put more weight on it than before. He thinks she will slide back a bit when we go to just oral pain meds, because they won't be as efficient, but he also hopes that we can work on adjusting the dosage to get the meds to a point where Girl is relatively (if not completely) pain free. If we get her walking and feeling good on just oral meds, she gets to come home, where we will continue with the bandage changes for quite a while, and then we wait to see if the hoof heals or if the abscesses return.
Mad Hen Cracks an Egg
WHAT I AM READING RIGHT NOW: New book!! I am hoping I can get through this one a little faster than my history with books would predict!