Forever in my heart
by Parker Stephens
I wasn't necessary eager to begin keeping chickens, but my girlfriend had been wanting to for quite some time.
We picked out three babies: an Easter Egger, a Polish and a little black Silkie. We named the Silkie Lu. He had these tattered wings that we affectionately referred to as "fallen angel wings". He was so tiny!
We would often cuddle him, resting him on our chest or stomach and then gently covering him with one of our hands because we feared he would get cold. He always calmed down when we did this. For such a tiny and seemingly fragile little thing, he was so vocal and bossy. As he grew we noticed he seemed much more confident than our other hens.
One day a friend had given us two mature Isa Browns that we introduced to the flock. These girls were confident and unintimidated by their new environment. But to be safe and be sure everyone got along, we kept our new hen, Rogue, in a kennel and brought her into the chicken run.
Lu was still a little too young for us to be sure if he was a hen or a roo and up until this point we has simply assumed that Lu was a hen. But then he did something...this tiny little fallen angel approached the hen, who was twice his size, and standing as tall as he could, put his chest out and almost frantically tried to "chest bump" his way through the kennel and get closer to the hen.
He then began circling her and the kennel and displaying his little dance. Was our sweet little Silkie hen actually a rooster?
Not long after that Lu began to "crow". It always came out as more of a sort of scream, a complaint. At times he sounds like an old-timey "a-oog-a" horn honk. But we didn't mind at all. He made us laugh. Sometimes at night, when Lu was in his coop, trying to sleep, we would be up talking and laughing. And then Lu would sound off with this disapproving "scream". He did not like to be awoken in the night.
He was a goofball, he looked funny (we described him as looking like a tiny llama to looking like a gremlin) and had the silliest personality. But Lu took his job seriously, he was always so good to his ladies.
He and our Polish hen seemed particularly bonded and we realized with her pom-pom hair doo, she didn't see well and Lu acted as her guide. One of Lu's favorite past times was to hunt for beetles but whenever he found a special treat he would "tid-bit" at his girls.
He was always very gentle and allowed us up to pick him up and cuddle him. Even though he could be a "pig pen," always sussing out any mud he could find to play in and continue foraging for beetles, we would still spend time holding him.
He was not even a year old yet and had never shown any signs of being anything but healthy and happy. One morning very recently, my girlfriend went out to let the chickens out of their coop and into their run. Usually Lu was the first to greet her. So she immediately knew something was wrong.
That's when she discovered him, lifeless. We had even heard his calling out in the late night, nothing alarming, just his typical complaint that we were being too loud (the coop is just outside our bedroom window).
We were devastated to lose this sweet, completely unique, gentle and goofy boy who had brought us so much joy during our time with him.