<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

In Memory of Beau 

Well, we have some more sad news to tell. We have lost Beau, our beautiful bantam rooster whom we had put in with Annie to keep her company. You may remember me mentioning that in an earlier post, and his picture is up on the photo page. He was getting pretty old and debilitated and was being picked on by the main flock before we moved him in with Annie, like I had said, but had perked up and gotten all proud and everything after having a new girlfriend. Well, just yesterday afternoon we found him dead. He had been going down slowly over the past few days, but had seemed to be coming out of it, taking a little water and starting to hold his head up again, but apparently it was his time to go, and he peacefully slipped away.

During his last days, Laura's mother gave him much love and attention, feeding him energy, cleaning his face, and carefully giving him water. Annie, though, was showing so much concern that it was amazing and heartbreaking at the same time to watch her. She would repeatedly go over to him, muttering and clucking softly to him, even lying down beside him to keep him company and show her love and concern. It was really something to see. The kindness, concern, and love she showed for him was inspiring, even though it had become quite obvious to us that he could probably not make it, and was therefore sad to watch at the same time.

Beau was a very special rooster who we had gotten as a fuzzy baby chick (well, actually I say "we," but Laura and her mother got him long before Laura and I had even met - many times that I refer to "we" I mean all of us on this place). So, they had raised him, along with several others, from a little baby. They have lost several through the years as they have gotten older and had various problems that could not be healed, but Beau was somehow just a little bit more special simply because of how pretty and proud he had been during his life.

That was why it was upsetting to see him going down and being picked on by those he had grown up with and the others Laura and I raised from babies recently that I posted about and are still just known as "the peeps." They got that name from being just little "peepers" when they were cute and fuzzy. We still haven't named them, as they look so much alike, it would be hard for us to tell the difference between them all. Besides, most of the animals around here have gotten named because they did something or somehow or another revealed a name to us when they were ready. The "peeps" have not, so they are still just affectionately known as "the peeps," even though they are now full-grown laying hens. They are the ones that do the daily "line dance" when they see us coming with the tray of goodies and their other food.

Anyway, yesterday when Laura's mother found Beau dead and went in to get him, Annie came over to see what was going on. She is a very sweet and curious chicken who likes to be in on everything and see everything that is going on in her environment. She always has to be in the middle of anything we are doing when we are around her and enjoys a little petting, as she coos with pleasure. So, Annie has become our very special little hen (Remember that she was the one we picked up out of Hwy 270 after she fell of the live haul truck headed for the slaughterhouse.) that we really love and give extra love and attention to. Kind of hard not to, as she seems to feel like it is her due. It was explained to Annie that Beau had passed on, and Laura's mother let her look him over really well and say her own goodbye, as she wrapped him in a towel to bring him down here to add to the many others that are buried in our chicken cemetery. Annie looked him all over, up and down, murmuring softly, apparently satisfied herself of the situation and walked away, but she has been sad and in mourning ever since. We are currently deciding how to handle this situation so that she won't be lonely.

And that may have just fixed itself. You see, just this morning, underneath the bird feeder near Annie's yard, was a rooster, just standing there. We don't know where he came from, but there he was. We thought, "Ah! A perfect companion for Annie!" Well, it wasn't quite so easy as all of that. We have spent half the day trying to catch that rooster, but we have left so much of the woods wild here for the wildlife that he kept getting into the thickets where we couldn't get to him, and boy does he run fast! He finally got down into the thickest part of the place that we have and just sat in there crowing, almost like he was proud that he evaded all of us and was mocking our feeble human attempts to catch him!

Well, we had to leave for a bit this morning, as we had an appointment to go to, and when we got back, there was no sign of him. So, we resumed our search, but it turned up nothing. Laura even walked up and down the road in case he had decided to cross the road and head for the pond or the river down that way and because there are blackberries growing over there that might have interested him. Well, as she was walking along searching, one of the guys who runs a canoe float service came along, dropping off some canoers down across the road from us at the public access point to the river. Laura, for her part, didn't pass up the blackberries as she kept on with her search, delaying until the guy could make his drop and head back out so that she could question him about whether or not he had seen a chicken down that way. Turns out he saw THREE! of them down at the river yesterday morning and believes that if we go down there first thing in the morning we might find them. So, we will do that, although we don't intend to wait that long, as I know that they will roost this evening, at which time I plan to resume my search to see if I can locate them. Well, all but one. One of them has already sadly met a bad fate. The dogs dragged him up yesterday afternoon, and it appeared that he had been the victim of a car, though it was hard to tell since there wasn't a lot left of him to go on.

Where will we put these new arrivals if and when we catch them? Good question, and one we are working on figuring out right now. But, as always, we tend to figure out something whenever someone shows up in need of help. As soon as I finish my lunch, it looks as if I will be heading back outside to start some more building just in case we locate them so that we have somewhere to put them if and when we get them. Because even if we don't get these, more will show up. They always do.

Boy! We can't wait until we get our new and expanded facilities built down at the garden, where we can add quite a few with no problem, as they will have bigger houses, bigger yards, and a big area to roam free in inside a very high fence during the day. We intend to start on that after we return from the AR2005 conference. I just wish we could get local help building, a bit of funding, and had more room for our unplanned, but ultimate, and much-needed sanctuary for chickens. If you live close by and are reading this, we can use all the help we can get. They are coming to us faster than we can build proper places for them. I am afraid that the word is spreading that we take them in just as we do dogs and cats, as it seems that someone is dumping unwanted roosters now for us to find. Why don't they just bring them to the house, though? Good question. It sure would be much easier to help them if we didn't have to run them down through thickets and briar vines, tripping over things (I even have a black eye from tripping and hitting a limb this morning, and we showed up for our appointment with cedar needles, twigs, and "sticktights" all over us and in our hair. Yeah, I can hear you laughing. Ha ha!)

Well, at least things are never boring down here on the riverbank and in our neck of the woods. But I sure do wish people wouldn't just dump them out, especially since we can't always find them in time. I am tired of burying animals of all species that someone dumped and we didn't find until it was too late - dogs, kittens, chickens, etc. Too many. And they weren't even ours, though we couldn't just leave them lying there. But that's what happens when there is no shelter in this whole county to take them to. People dump them or shoot them. Too many unwanted animals in this world and not enough people doing what they can to stem the tide.

You will be hearing more on other repercussions of this problem shortly, as I have already received some news of another sad situation involving the victims of overpopulation and viewing animals as "things" and nothing more than property to do with as humans wish to, without regard to the animals' welfare or the far-reaching consequences of such attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, in that story the focus is being put on those that were trying to help as opposed to those who are causing the problem by not spaying and neutering their animals, buying them from pet stores and breeders, as opposed to going to the overflowing shelters. So, there will be another post from me very soon as I get all my facts in and get it put together.

I'm not happy today. It really bothers me to see animals just tossed aside as nothing. And if these types of stories bother you, don't just shake your head and feel bad. Get off your butt and try to help. Please. Those of us that are trying to help are overstretched and can't possibly save them all, no matter how hard we try. And the victims, well the poor innocent animals certainly don't deserve the treatment they are receiving at the hands of humanity. People should be ashamed if they are part of the problem, which you are if you are not actively helping as part of the solution.

Maybe they are and that's why they dump them in the night when no one is around to see....
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