I spent my day making potholders about the chickens and Minnie. Before today, most of the chicken potholders I made didn’t include the rooster Strut. Today, for some reason I found myself putting him in more of them. I think I was drawn to stitching his tail. All those poofy feathers. Such a beautiful rooster and I couldn’t help thinking he knew it. He stayed with his hens, bothering them as a rooster will, but watching over them too. Roosters always seem a little ridiculous to me, living up to their reputations.
And this afternoon, Strut was just being a rooster when he tried to attack me again and again, finally digging his claws into my leg. I don’t know why, over the past few weeks, he began to see me and Jon as something he needed to attack. But it was clear this behavior was just getting worse. A rooster that attacks people is a dangerous animal and I don’t want me or anyone else to have to be afraid of walking around my yard because they might be clawed by a rooster.
So Jon shot Strut this afternoon and I was sad and grateful. It had to be done and I was grateful I didn’t have to do it, although I would have done anything to protect myself when he was attacking me. I cried when I took Strut’s body to the hill behind the pasture, trying to find a place where it would easily be found by turkey vultures or coyotes. When I saw the deer leg lying on the ground, I knew it was the right spot. Someone would be coming back for it and find a dead rooster too. It was strangely comforting to place Strut’s body beside the deer leg, as if it was an affirmation of the rhythms of life and death.
Strut really was the essence of Rooster, he lived and died like one and I will miss him.