Dear old Pyro the rooster, the oldest of my animal friends, has finally passed away, in his sleep, in the chicken coop.
Eight years ago I bought a small box of chicks from a poultry market and kept them under a heat lamp, feeding them tiny bits of chick crumb. All of his brothers and sisters gradually faded away, as chicks sometimes sadly do, but one was much stronger than the rest. He grew and grew and grew. He looked like a blaze of fire, hence his name: Pyro.
Over the years he has fathered many children of his own and never got ill. He was very friendly towards people, but he didn’t like other roosters one little bit. A terrible scrapper when he was younger, he only had one eye and often lost tail feathers in fights. Pyro was very protective of his lady chickens, making special sounds when he found worms or beetles, so they would come and find them. He always went to bed last, when he was sure they were all tucked up.
His final year was spent watching over his them, sitting in the shade of a beech tree, drinking rainwater and scratching in the dirt. Some times he lay in the sunshine, soaking up the golden rays. I found myself watching him and thinking what a wonderful world it would be if everyone had the opportunity to age with such dignity.
A very old, raggedy chap, he strolled off into the sunset in the most perfect way possible. But who will wake us in the mornings now? An alarm clock simply isn’t the same….