United Poultry Concerns was honored with kind memorial donations from three of
our members who lost a rooster they dearly loved during the past year.
An inspiration for the founding of UPC was a charming article by Barbara Monroe,of Great Neck NY, about her rooster, Lucie, several years ago. Barbara had never
really seen a chicken until her daughter bought a baby white leghorn rooster
from a peddler three years earlier. To Barbara, "The most amazing thing about
Lucie was the way he adapted to suburban life, sitting in a car like perfect
gentleman or on the sofa watching TV with the family." I had the privilege of
meeting Lucie when my husband and I visited Barbara. I particularly remember
how Lucie stood sentinel outside our guest room with his noble bearing, watching
over Barbara and the home
of which he was a beautiful and cherished member.
-- Karen Davis
Merry Caplan, of New Orleans, responded to my call for essays about
companion chickens when I started UPC in 1990. She told how her rooster Chuck
"sits next to Charlie the hen while she lays her egg and announces the event
with a series of Cock-a-doodle-doos!" In January, Merry wrote that on "December
28th, we had to put our beautiful Rhode Island Red rooster to sleep. Chuck was
my faithful friend throughout his life. He sat on my lap while I wrote my
dissertation and never failed
to express his love, appreciation and general happiness to be alive. He will be missed
so very much by everyone who knew him. But every golden sunrise we will be able to
remember the beauty he brought us." Chuck was six years old.
Skippy In 1992, PoultryPress (Vol. 2, No. 3) ran an article,
"Commanding Skippy," by Melody Wall of Arcadia CA. She described learning to handle
Skippy's change from a lovable chick to a fierce white leghorn rooster. She agonized,
but "Instead of giving up, we kept working together, learning each other's behavior."
On January 25, 1996, Skippy died in his garden among his three hens. Melody wrote in
his memory: "When Skippy and I met, I knew nothing about chickens. He knew nothing
about people; but we learned. Throughout my life I will often recall the way he ran
up to me every time I called him, the way he chattered in response when someone sneezed,
the way he'd get
as close as possible and crow as loud as possible when we were on the phone. I'll
remember how he protected the hens and always gave the food to them, never taking a
single grain until they were through. And how he seemed to be at every window always
watching, always interested, always there. That high-pitched sound he always made
when I said 'good-night, Skippy, I love you.'
"Thursday morning I heard his last crow. This morning I lay in bed crying at the
silence of the morning. 6:30 a.m.--his crow would always call out to my heart.
"Now I have three sweet hens, and I will get another rooster, and he will bond
with the hens, as it should be. But, for a moment in time there was Skippy, and he was
my bird, and my life has been changed forever."
-- Melody Wall, January 27, 1996
Petal & Lettie
I would like to place the memory of these roosters beside my
memory of Petal and Lettie, who were inseparable friends at our sanctuary until Petal
died on October 30th at six years old. Lettie, who died on January 25th, was closer
to sixteen! She'd lived all her life with Ann Lander until Ann got sick and called
UPC to help find homes for her birds. Just imagine Ann's shock when, on a freezing
day in January 1994, she found that Lettie had been living all by herself inside what
Ann thought was an empty henhouse for almost 2 months! Lettie, a small, spry,
light-brown hen, was sturdy and active until last fall, when Petal died and it got
cold, and Lettie's body literally began curving towards the ground. My best memory,
though, is seeing Petal, Lettie, and our tiny bantam rooster, Bantu, seated together
on summer afternoons beneath the big evergreen tree on a cool bed of pine needles,
keeping each other company.
-- Karen Davis