The King is Dead


And I didn’t do it, I swear.
I didn’t see Mean Rooster all day on Monday. Not that I spend a lot of time seeking him out or anything. But Monday evening it hit me that I couldn’t remember seeing him all day long.
I had seen a stranger, though.
A rooster I’d never seen before….

A number of my chickens roost on the goat pen gates. The goats and Pocahontas often sleep in the goat pen at night in good weather. (When it’s cold, they go into the goat house.) The chickens have been safe there, with the other, larger, animals in their midst to discourage predators. Another group of chickens, and the ducks, tuck in at night in the chicken house.

The ducks don’t want to go into the chicken house. The ducks can’t stand the chickens. Last week, the ducks held a rebellion and refused to go into the chicken house. Chasing them around wore me out late at night and I let them stay out.
One duck went missing. (I don’t know what happened. I just know I have five ducks now, not six.) I pulled back out my determination to get them trained and get them back in the chicken house. I got an old metal coffee can and trained them to come into the chicken yard in the evening. When I bang on the can, it means cracked corn. PARTY!
They fall for it every time. I’ve also managed to get a lot of the chickens who were roosting on the goat pen gates to fall for it, too. The chicken house is stuffed pretty full at night now. They push and shove and jostle for position in their favorite roost spots while the ducks quack their protest beneath them in the straw.

I’m planning a chicken house addition soon. I need more room.
I was banging my cracked corn can Monday evening when I spotted the strange rooster. It’s not as if we have neighbors nearby and I don’t even know of anyone who has chickens around here that isn’t nearly a mile away. But there he was. And I’d never seen him before. He skirted along the hillside, watching, dreaming of cracked corn.
I had all the ducks in the yard and a whole passel of chickens so I had shut the chicken yard gate. I shooed them all inside to the house, then shut the door between the chicken house and yard so I could re-open the gate from the yard to catch a few latecomers. The strange rooster came into the yard, too. I managed to shoo the last few into the house but not the strange rooster.

I don’t know why I wanted to put him in there anyway. He’s not my rooster. But it was dark by then and, well, there he was. I cornered him in the chicken yard and, against my better judgment and prior experience with roosters, picked him up. He screamed. He screamed like I’ve never heard a chicken scream before. He screamed like the hounds of hell were chewing on his wattles and setting fire to his feet.

But he didn’t try to kill me so I tossed him in the chicken house and shut the door. And stared at him through the wire in the door and wondered, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MEAN ROOSTER? Because by then I had missed Mean Rooster.

I even wondered if he was Mean Rooster. If Mean Rooster had undergone some sort of dramatic physical transformation from dark and dangerous to pale and ghost-like. A diabolical Mean Rooster trick! Because where else had this rooster come from? Was there something wrong with my eyesight? Surely that had to be Mean Rooster because roosters don’t just show up out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere.

I waited till morning, to look at him again in better light. The stranger was definitely a rooster, and he was definitely a rooster I’d never seen before.
And Mean Rooster was quite definitely dead, as I soon discovered. I found him under a table near the goat pen gates. No evidence of what happened, body intact. Either something got him while he was roosting or there was a rooster fight under the table and Mean Rooster lost. Was the new rooster involved? Was it one of the old roosters who just got tired of being bullied? Maybe it was a duck. Maybe the ducks finally had their day. (Okay, not likely.)
Whatever did happen, no one’s telling.
And you know if anyone knows, it’s them.
But none of the animals, and especially none of the other roosters, are talking.
The hens don’t seem concerned at all.
Recently, I’d been making some progress with Mean Rooster. I’d even taken to going near him without my rake or broom. I don’t know what changed, if it was me or Mean Rooster. I just know we weren’t finished, Mean Rooster and I. I know that I spent most of this year afraid he was going to peck out my eyeballs or rip into my jugular. I know that I cried when I found him dead and I know that I will miss him.
And I know that I don’t have the faintest idea where this other rooster came from.
Mean Rooster was the second chick I ever hatched and my first rooster. He was my nemesis and my nightmare. He was always interesting and never friendly. Without Mean Rooster, who will fly over the gate to assault me? Who will stalk me along the fence? Who will test my courage and hone my not-so-steely spine?
He was a worthy adversary.
Goodbye, Mean Rooster!

And about that strange rooster…. Yesterday morning, after his night in my chicken house and just before I found Mean Rooster’s body, he went up the hillside from whence he appeared and I haven’t….

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on November 11, 2009  

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94 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 11-11

    Whoa, spooky! And bizarre! And strange! And lots of other words too!

  2. 11-11

    Rest in peace, Mean Rooster. You were loved and will be missed on Suzanne’s posts. :heart:

  3. 11-11

    The Pale Rider….. :bugeyed:

  4. 11-11

    How eerie… :o I’ll miss Mean Rooster too. He sure was a gorgeous animal, and I always loved reading the stories about him.

  5. 11-11

    :chicken: Goodbye, Mean Rooster. RIP….you will be missed!

  6. 11-11

    I’m so sad about Mean Rooster. What a beautiful rooster he was.
    Suzanne, I think the other rooster was a hired assassin. I think he tried to get away and you lured him with cracked corn and threw him in the slammer for the night. As soon as he got the chance he R.U.N.N.O.F.T

  7. 11-11

    Mystery in Stringtown…Mean Rooster was a pest to have around but a he was a rooster through and through…his daring attacks will be missed(?)or at least your telling of them….i know he will be missed in spite of his personality.

  8. 11-11

    As for Mean Roosters demise, I think it was something to do with a candlestick in the parlor. Ghost Rooster looks like a Barred Rock X with maybe some Araucana in him. Have you considered Ghost Rooster was the bastard son of Mean Rooster who came to take his revenge for being abandoned at hatching. RIP Mean Rooster. Every bully eventually meets his Waterloo. Although, to die without a mark on him doesn’t seem like a very violent death.

  9. 11-11

    I am so sorry to hear of Mean Roosters demise–since there were no signs of a struggle, do you think it was “someome he knew”?
    Is there such a thing as a wild rouge rooster?
    I guess we will never know.
    If he went to that big chicken house in the sky–you can bet he is telling them how it should be done!

  10. 11-11

    Goodbye to Mean Rooster.
    Sorry he is gone
    It’s always sad to loose one even if he was mean!
    Rest in peace Mean Rooster, you were such a beautiful Rooster


  11. 11-11

    Poor mean Rooster!! I seem to always love the mean ones best. They have so much more character!! He will be missed here!!
    Hugs to you Suzanne!!

  12. 11-11

    sorry to hear this news. he was something, thats for sure. maybe a snake bit him. you need peacocks. i hear they kill snakes and they are beautiful.they sound like children screaming. does anyone else have peacocks?

  13. 11-11

    Sorry about your Mean Rooster. He looks very much like my Egglebert, a Cuckoo Marans boy who has become quite a problem. (See him here:

    I hope his passing was quick and painless.


  14. 11-11

    Oops, got the parenthesis in the wrong place. Egglebert is here:

  15. 11-11

    Okay….here’s the deal about Mean Rooster and the New Rooster.
    New Rooster was like one of the Ghosts in Dicken’s “Christmas Carol”. He was like the Ghost of the Future, in feathered form, and he came to reveal the future to Mean Rooster. Like Scrooge, Mean Rooster had been an unpleasant and hateful something and Future Rooster revealed to him what happens to Mean Roosters when they have those traits…they wind up in a big shiny pot on a very hot stove. It scared Mean Rooster so badly that he keeled over with fright. (I’m surprised Original Scrooge didn’t do that when the ghosts appeared to him!)And once Future Rooster’s work was done, he left…in search of another chicken yard with another wicked rooster. (I think he came from my sister’s chicken yard where his dire warnings fell on deaf rooster ears and the shiny pot/hot stove prophecy went unheeded much to the ultimate dismay of that particular rooster.)
    So there you have it, Suzanne. Mystery solved. I’m sorry Mean Rooster is gone…I know you cried and I understand why.
    Strange….I was singing Christmas carols to myself on the way to work today…..

  16. 11-11

    I’m saddened to hear of mean rooster’s passing, it’s never easy to lose animals, not even the meaner ones:) Wonder if you’ll ever see the mysterious visitor again…..

  17. 11-11

    :chicken: hmmmm, are you sure this surprise chicken is a rooster? Comb and waddle look small. Maybe he off’d Mean Rooster cause he had comb-envy. just saying…

  18. 11-11

    I’m so sorry. Poor Mean Rooster…..

  19. 11-11


    I am a new reader to your blog and have spent the last few days pouring over the archives. I’m so sorry to hear about mean rooster. Everyone needs a nemesis. I’m sure you will hatch another one, but this one will be sorely missed. ((HUG))

  20. 11-11

    How strange. Sorry to hear about mean rooster. He was a beautiful chicken. Odd about the other one. I would be taking a walk up over that hill to see where he went?? Could there be a flock of wild chickens in them there woods?? hmm

  21. 11-11

    Aww..that’s too bad about Mean Rooster…I’ll miss hearing about his antics. It’s funny how chickens become our friends and when we loose one it can hit us hard. I lost one of my favorite hens (Rambo) this summer and I sure miss her. At the time we didn’t have a rooster and she was the Alpha hen…boy did she stand up to our little Shih Tzu terror Chelsea and Chelsea kept her distance from Rambo. Now we have a rooster to replace Rambo but he’s not half the ‘man’ she was. I miss her. Sorry for your loss Suzanne.

  22. 11-11

    I am defintiely going to miss Mean Rooster. I always did admire him!

  23. 11-11

    Oh my! :o

  24. 11-11

    R.I.P. Mean Rooster!

  25. 11-11

    Clover, in the chicken yard, with her tiara.

  26. 11-11

    Very interesting. Hmmm. :pirate:

  27. 11-11

    Hmmm….funny how news travels. I’m thinking the word left the henhouse as soon as the King had fallen. The wood was a-twitter with the news and this particular rooster….this brave and oh-so-patient rooster came to see for himself if it was true.

    I’m sure he has a home over the hill a day’s peck and scratch away. You probably won’t see his pale feathers again….at least until the next hatching time comes around as I suspect he kept the ladies up all night with tales of foreign lands and promises he won’t keep.

    Mean Rooster was legendary and I’m sure his audacity earned him a place in heaven.

    Bless his feathery little heart…

  28. 11-11

    I am also going to miss the Mean Rooster sagas! I think the “ghost” rooster was just that….Mean Roosters ghost. The fact that he let you pick him up and he screamed like crazy was just mean roosters way of saying, I’ll let you have your way this one time Suzanne because I know you loved me and I want you to know I loved you too BUT I’m still not going down without at least a lot of noise LOL!

    Okay, just kidding (kinda). Do you live close enough that someone’s chickens might have heard yours and came to find them. My aunt lives 3 miles from me through the woods and I can hear her roosters crowing in the mornings. I “inherited” 3 roosters that way once. The guy couldn’t make them stay on his farm and out of my chicken house each night so he gave them to me.

    R.I.P. Mean Rooster!

  29. 11-11

    Whoa. That is a whole “Shane” thing right there. Do you have a hen that looks like Jean Arthur by chance?

  30. 11-11


  31. 11-11

    i am really sad to hear about mean rooster, he was one of my favorite little guys… and he was so beautiful. RIP mean rooster!!

  32. 11-11

    i’m sorry, this has nothing to do with this post but i just saw this smiley guy and omg it is funny

  33. 11-11

    Oh, so sorry about Mean Rooster. He was such a beautiful rooster. I will miss your stories about him.

  34. 11-11

    Maybe new rooster was the ghost of mean rooster past.

  35. 11-11

    I will definitely miss seeing Mean Rooster in your posts and hearing about his antics. I would have cried also, I felt a huge sigh.

  36. 11-11

    That makes me sad. I have a mean rooster too (who looks much like yours) and if I were to find him dead, I’d be upset too. Funny, eh? As for the interloper, that sort of gives me hope. Sometimes when we have birds that just *disappear*, I always assume that something has dispatched them during the night, because they were caught out after dark. I have sometimes wondered, though, if a few of them hadn’t just wandered off and couldn’t find their way home. I’d like to think there’s someone like you a few miles away who’s kind enough to put them up for the night!

  37. 11-11

    My first reaction was, “AWWW! Not Mean Rooster!” Mean Rooster was “bigger than life’ with his haughty look and terrifying ways. Still, I bet he’s left a big empty spot in the barn yard community. I’ll miss his antics. Good bye, Mean Rooster…rest in peace.

  38. 11-11

    Awww…RIP Mr. Mean Rooster.

  39. 11-11

    Suzanne, I am so sorry for your loss. I always get emotional when one of my pets go to where ever. I have a flock of 7, and Henry takes his job seriously. I have to remind him on occasion who pays for his high dollar feed.

  40. 11-11

    I’m gonna miss those Mean Rooster stories. R.I.P. :heart:

  41. 11-11

    I’m sorry for your loss. It sucks to lose a critter even one that we have “issues” with.

  42. 11-11

    Ghost Rooster of the Baskervilles!

  43. 11-11

    RIP Mean Rooster :( Suzanne, I read parts of your post twice trying to look for clues, but alas I’ve come up with nothing! I think the stranger was involved. You should track him!

  44. 11-11

    Oh my gosh, I got chills reading about Strange Rooster’s disappearance!

    So, so sorry about the loss of Mean Rooster. He certainly made the farm just a little more interesting. I’m glad you won’t be fearful now, but still– a little jump in heart rate now and again does us good. Rest in peace with endless cracked corn, Mean Rooster.

  45. 11-11

    Poor Mean Rooster! We are so sorry for your loss. My daughter and I loved reading about his adventures and are so sad that he is gone. My daughter lost her own rooster last year and still misses him–he was such a sweetheart. His name was Bucket and he would climb up in her lap and purr while she pet him. We will miss Mean Rooster!!

  46. 11-11

    I saw the title and it made my heart ache! We just lost our 1st puppy about a month ago. She got kicked by a mommy horse cuz she was just too curious. Broke our hears…She was our baby and our annoyance! So I am sorry to you for your lose…and I smile cuz I know that mean rooster is just terrorizing everyone in heaven now! LOL

  47. 11-11

    My condolences Suzanne. It is so hard to lose a “member” of the family. May Mean Rooster rest in peace in his little portion of the farm. :chicken:

  48. 11-11

    Pale Rooster is the Grim Reaper of chickens, and as for Mean Rooster….well, did you have chicken and noodles for supper?

  49. 11-11

    Mean rooster always made us laugh. His haughty look, his fierce eyes, and his burning desire to protect his flock and eggs from you.

    We will all miss him and your wonderful stories about him.

  50. 11-11

    Sorry Suzanne. How epic. This is what Batman and the Joker’s relationship would be like if they weren’t comicbook-immortal. Mean Rooster was your The Joker.

  51. 11-11

    Now who will be the “guardian” of the flock? I know Mean Rooster must have sent some bad acts packing in the past. When I was a kid, our banty rooster would chase me after I would “flap” my arms and “crow” at him.

  52. 11-11

    Spooky! But that is what I like about raising animals. You never know what you are going to see on any given day.
    Sorry about Mean Rooster. It’s a chicken eat chicken world.

  53. 11-11

    Sorry about Mean Rooster. We had a rooster die in the chicken house overnight a few months ago. he was our only at the time. Much like yours, no marks or sign of what happened. We had to assume it was of natural causes unless the hens decided to gang up on him, but no marks and he was a really nice rooster. Could trust him around my 2 year old even! We missed him too, he was a great rooster. My condolences. :heart:

  54. 11-11

    Poor Mean Rooster. Darn it anyway. But I love this story – who IS that mysterious ‘other’ rooster? We will never know…or maybe we will! I predict he shows up again.

  55. 11-11

    Ooooooooooo I hear spooky music in the background! :devil:

  56. 11-11

    I am sorry Suzanne – so sad – not everyone can be such a worthwhile advesary!! I think the stranger passing through was involved – maybe Mean Rooster came from a Hatfield/McCoy background and it was time scores were settled!!!

  57. 11-11

    I’m sorry to hear of the loss of Mean Roo. It’s awful to lose a bird. I bet a local knows you have chickens and ditched the rooster on the outskirts of your property. Been there. :no: He appears to be a Barred Rock x Easter Egger mix. He’s very pretty. I’m sure he’ll return, you have hens. He’s probably free-ranging and roosting in the woods near your home. :hug:

  58. 11-11

    Sorry about Mean Rooster…but I know what it is to live with a mean rooster and it’s not nice. I wonder about that new rooster too. It looks more like a hen except for the tail feathers…maybe it’s a bi-sexual…Could he/she/it may even be an escapee from your farm?

  59. 11-11

    I see I’m not the only one thinking the comb and wattle on the Ghost Rooster are really small for a rooster. In any event, sorry about Mean Rooster.

  60. 11-11

    He may have been mean, but he was soooo handsome.

    RIP Mean Rooster. :chicken:

  61. 11-11

    I’m sad too that he’s gone. Even though he was a pain in the patooty to you, he was a good flock guardian to have around I bet. Those cranky ones always are.

    To those who are questioning the rooster status of ‘Pale Roo’ he is DEFINATELY a HE. He may have a small comb, but that’s just the type of comb his family gave him genetically. Also, his wattles are small, but I think it’s because he is part Americauna, which have ‘beards’ and often muffs too and tend to have small wattles. He may also be a bit young, but I don’t think that’s really the reason. He also has sickle feathers, and both saddle and hackle feathers. Only roosters have those kinds of feathers. Here is a link to a diagram of chicken-feather anatomy. Hopefully it clears things up! :chicken:

  62. 11-11

    Sorry to hear about mean rooster. It is hard to lose a critter no matter how big or how small.

  63. 11-11

    So sorry you’ve lost Mean Rooster! He was a worthy adversary for you and I’m sure had a part in your metamorphosis from city to country woman. I will certainly miss your Mean Rooster stories!

  64. 11-11

    The ghost of mean rooster!

  65. 11-11

    Such a great post. I love the looks on the faces of the animals that “aren’t talking.”

  66. 11-11

    Mean Rooster was one of a kind and so entertaining. I am so sorry and I will miss the Mean Rooster stories and the funny pictures of his evil eye looks. :cry: :cry:

  67. 11-11

    That is spooky! I would go over the hill to see if I could find out where that other rooster came from and went? Odd that…

  68. 11-11

    Maybe Mean Rooster got kicked – can happen. Poor mean Rooster, in Chicken Heaven.

  69. 11-11

    That sounds suspiciously like a “Tale from the Twilight Zone”! It’s funny, all the roosters that lived with us temporarily over the years, we remember the nasty ones most fondly too. What strange creatures us humans are!

  70. 11-11

    I’m so sorry you lost your Mean Rooster. And as for the phantom rooster…he’ll come back to you if he’s smart!

  71. 11-11

    I have been think abou Mean Rooster today–do you think one of the chickens had a “hit” done by an out of town rooster??

  72. 11-11

    poor, poor mean rooster.

  73. 11-11

    …how ’bout consulting a psychic?

  74. 11-11

    I’ll miss mean Rooster. He was beautiful and entertaining. But I keep hearing in my head the line from “The Godfather” after Paulie got greased; “Leave the gun…take the cannoli” I’m just saying…it could have been a mob hit. You never know what syndicate that visiting Rooster belongs to.

  75. 11-11

    I always liked reading about Mean Rooster, not that I liked the idea of you being terrified of him, he was just sort of endearing. He was a good looking bird too.

    Very strange about that other rooster, the whole thing is just bizarre.

  76. 11-11

    I’m so terribly sorry to hear of Mean Rooster’s demise. I shall miss your adventures with the old bird. RIP Mean Rooster…..

  77. 11-11

    hmm they say to be careful for what you wish – at least there was a time you wanted mean rooster to leave you alone. At least he didn’t end up in a soup pot. Maybe the strange rooster was the angel of death in the chicken world :shocked:

  78. 11-11

    I’m so sorry about Mean Rooster.I love that last photo you have of him, looks like he is frowning. And always enjoyed your stories about him. I think Ghost Rooster did him in because of “Wattle Envy”.
    It happens.

  79. 11-11

    I think, if he ever shows up again, you should call him Duncan, because I think there is something very MacBeth-ian about all this…..velly, velly interestink…. Poor mean rooster.

  80. 11-11

    Did you really cry when you found him?

  81. 11-11

    BOM! :o BOM! :o BOM!!! :o :o :o

    Good bye, Mean Rooster :chicken: = :devil2: :cry:

  82. 11-11

    I’m sorry, but that strange rooster just gives me the creeps! He looks very intimidating. :chicken:

  83. 11-11

    Maybe Mean Roster knew the end was coming, and thats why he let you near him with out a broom, he was too stuck in his ways to reconcile with you, but he made a few changes…

    He will be sorely missed.

    The Chicken Christmas Carol is a pretty good explanation. You could start a childrens series with farm animals as fillers :P although I think Mean Roster’s should be tweeked for the kids lol

  84. 11-11

    “He screamed like the hounds of hell were chewing on his wattles and setting fire to his feet.”

    Best. Line. EVER. I think I peed my pants.

    I’m sorry you lost Mean Rooster. I had a love/hate relationship with my own Barred Rock, Bob.

  85. 11-12

    awww, I’m so sorry! I know you loved him, even in his aggressiveness.

    the blog page has the background set wrong again and it’s really hard to read. I had to highlight the print before I could read it.

  86. 11-12

    Well, the background just fixed itself.

  87. 11-12

    Aww, Suzanne, I’m so very sorry about Mean Rooster. I’ll miss hearing your stories about him.

  88. 11-12

    He was a noble adversary. In the back of my mind, I can’t help but think Clover hired out a hit on him.

  89. 11-12

    Come over and read Mean Rooster’s obit…

  90. 11-14

    oh, any death in the family is sad, and Mean Rooster was indeed a worthy adversary. RIP little guy, you will be missed. :wave: :cry:

  91. 11-27

    It may have been the mean rooster’s time to go. I hope the new rooset works out

  92. 11-15

    Dude. Fabulous, creepy ghost rooster story. Sorry about your Mean Rooster though. Sad when one of our own leave us.

  93. 11-15

    Sorry to hear about mean rooster. We had a turkey appear out of nowhere one time. She stayed long enough to get a name and become a pet. She loved to sit on your lap when we would be out on the deck. Strange we thought, be we had never had a turkey before. She slept with the dog, and wanted nothing to do with the chickens, they were beneath her! Then one day she left, just like she had appeared. Poof. We think she was lonely for her own kind, and went to find a boy turkey. :moo:

  94. 6-18

    I inherited a “mean Rooster” destined for the stew pot. We promptly “hobbled” him (He broke his middle toe with the move) and he has been the best and most amazing rooster ever since. I Love him…and from what I have learned from the coop that had him….they are glad he is gone! May have been the move…or the Toe breaking, but he is amazing…..Barred rock Rooster..named Harold!

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