This week Patches passed away.
I knew it was coming, I had been watching his health deteriorate for a solid two weeks, and the last day had me wondering the best method to get him euthanized. It’s not a nice thing to think about, but it was worse seeing Patches going so downhill so quickly at the end.
He wasn’t old, he was born in approximately July of last year (2015). He was born in the same barn he died in, to his mother Quackers, hatched alongside five siblings: Hetty, Silver Bell, Flattop, Curly, and Lonely Chicken. The Lonely Chicken I have used to be called Teeny and there is some debate over whether he is the same chick I saw grow up as he wasn’t actually mine at the time; long story.
Patches outlived his mother, 2 sisters, and possibly his brother Curly, who is MIA.
Patches, unfortunately, won’t be missed by the higher cocks, Lonely Chicken and Houdini, but he did have other friends despite his low status on the pecking order. Flattop, his bro, was very tolerant of him, especially once he became sick. Freckles the lovely show hen would sometimes hang out with Patches and they would have adventures together. All of the chickens mentioned in this paragraph (Patches, Houdini, Lonely Chicken, and Freckles) were part of the original 6, along with Curly.
It became a bit of a lonely life for Patches once the 15 hens showed up. While the other cocks celebrated, Patches seemed to wish he was a hen himself. He didn’t show interest in the ladies and he was the only rooster who never challenged his position in the pecking order. Patches started hanging out in the far end of the barn, in the nesting area and duck pen, and generally by himself. He still had some adventures with Freckles and went outside just for the some sun, though, even a few days before the end, and it was sad to see his once robustly red face become so pale in the clear light of day (barn’s pretty dim and I leave the hydro off).
I used to threaten to make Patches dinner more than I did any other chicken. Obviously empty threats, but Patches didn’t know that, not that he really listened anyways. He was ballsy, he would walk right up to humans and, without being aggressive, demand food. He was particular about his diet, which I think was a huge contributor in how he died. He seemed almost offended when he asked for treats and was given the wrong kind.
When I hosted a pet party in March, before I even became a chicken farmer, Patches was my first guest. He actually wasn’t invited, even though I did get permission from my neighbour to bring chickens into my house if I could catch them, but at noon Patches walked up my pathway, up my porch, and showed up at my doorstep as the first pet. I, however, turned him away because the party didn’t start until 7.
In his youth — I know I’m all over the place with the chronology — Patches befriended another young cock, Tweety, and that is when he began to get nervier with his interactions with humans. Tweety was actually, like, really annoying because he was always coming up to me in my own backyard and trying to corner me for food while Patches tagged along from a distance. Once Tweety was gone (unsure of his fate, but the other chickens did not care for him so I feel like they banished him) Patches seemed to prefer following humans around than chickens, with the exception of Freckles from time to time.
Patches was a unique, memorable, and absolutely fucking gorgeous cock, and he will be missed so much by me and my family. He has been buried in my front yard, close to his sister, Hetty, Whitetail, and the unnamed chick.
Here are some memories of him; that’s him and Freckles in the back of my car in the last picture: