A week or so ago we noticed that Rudy was having trouble crowing. After doing some research online to see what could cause that, I found that there were a lot of vague possibilities that could cause roosters to have trouble crowing.
Then we noticed that Rudy was wheezing, which indicated that he was having more than just crowing problems, but that he was actually dealing with some type of respiratory issue.
I called the vet to see what we could do to help Rudy and options of treatment were shared with us, which mostly involved isolation and watching him closely. So we isolated Rudy away from the flock, and fed him soft foods and special treats that he liked.
Unfortunately he did not seem to be responding to those efforts, so as a last resort we began to give him antibiotics.
And still, he was not getting better.
Even while he was sick, separated from the flock (in the garden), he stayed busy trying to keep watch over his girls.
On Monday morning, as we went to check on him, we found he had passed in the night. My husband had gone out to check on him and let the girls out. It was with great sadness that the news came to me as I was still sleeping on July 4th morning.
While Rudy had been a rascal, he was a handsome fella, and my heart grieved for his passing.
We took him out to our pet cemetery and my husband dug a hole for him.
His favorite treat was scratch grains, and I just so happened to have an empty feed sack of the scratch grains with which to bury him in. Besides his girls, scratch corn was his favorite treat ever, and I was glad that I had this sack to bury him in.
I have been missing our Rudy. And so have the girls. Especially Momma Mia, as she and Rudy were hatched together at the same time, and have always been together. She even slept by him on the roost at night. Momma Mia has been wandering around the yard, and keeps going back to the garden where the hens could see Rudy while he was still alive and seems quite distressed about it all.
Rudy is buried next to our precious Cosmo who passed away almost two years ago. Having animals always raises the possibility of great sadness when they pass, and I grieve deeply for our animals who are no longer with us, yet I know that it is the circle and cycle of life. And life must go on. Rudy has three descendants who we hatched out this spring, and for that I am grateful. Pepper, Buttercup and Sally will carry on Rudy's legacy.
Until yesterday, we had no idea what may have caused Rudy's demise. However, while I was working in the yard yesterday, I found something that saddened me, and has led us to believe this may be the cause of his death. We have two "Beware of Dog" signs in the front yard. A recent windstorm had knocked one of them down. I found the plastic sign in the front yard, and it had been pecked away until there wasn't much left of the sign. No doubt Rudy had pecked at a piece of the sign and got it caught in his throat. I had no idea that chickens would peck a plastic sign, but apparently they do. We will be inspecting our yard for any other things that could possibly cause the rest of our hens harm by pecking.
Such is life on the farm, and it continues to be a learning experience.
Rudy will always hold a special place in our hearts, the handsome rascal that he was!