Mad King Charles (the barred rock rooster) died the other day, probably from old age and undoubtedly from an overactive libido. He bequeathed the flock of hens to Tzar Nicolas, the Araucana with the golden ruff and no tail feathers. Nicolas has had to play second fiddle for years and seems to be reveling in becoming the only cock on the walk. Since Charles and Nicolas were hatched at the same time, I'm not sure this burst of breeding activity bodes well for Nic's longevity, but he will go out smiling.
In the seventeen years I've lived here, a pet cemetery (or, as Stephen King would write it, "Pet Sematary") has developed under a large oak overlooking a slope to the west at the edge of the property. I've had large numbers of chickens over the years and they do not have exceptionally long life spans. Too many have died to be buried here, even those with noteworthy personalities. There seems to be an unwritten rule that chickens will not expire close to Tuesday, so they must be immediately bagged up tightly and frozen before transport to the big road. This prevents contamination and any scent. All Kids know not to open any white plastic trash bags in the big freezer.
Farm life gives a different and probably more realistic perspective on life and death. Both just happen. We welcome each new birth and mourn each passing, and go on with our chores. The King is dead. Long live The King.