Bye, Bye, Buddy

Now that we’re almost grown-up farmers, beginning to get some hard-won clues, we’ve learned to make some tough decisions. Like the decision to get rid of Buddy the Rooster.

Buddy in his prime, at 7 months old, with his (slightly battered) harem.

Buddy at 3 weeks, presiding over the less-than-thriving Angel, already with a bright red comb and bright yellow neck. He was already a "looker."

He was Angel’s companion when she was struggling to grow in our back bedroom chicken infirmary last year. He grew up to be a 14-pound strapping linebacker of a Rooster, with an appetite for the ladies that gave them the appearance of battered wives.

Then he started head butting us (imagine a bowling ball ramming the back of your knees). Then he started cock-fighting with Roo, our disabled Gentleman of a rooster. We awoke one morning to find blood all over the inside of the coop, both roosters bleeding badly from their combs and back of the neck. We separated them. But Buddy kept finding ways to attack Roo, even through the fence. And he wasn’t going to quit until he killed him, we were sure.

Still, we weren’t farmer enough to kill him and cook him ourselves. So we did the next best thing. We took him to the poultry auction down the road.

This is where we spent the better part of a beautiful Saturday, waiting for Buddy to come up for bid.

Real farmers go to agricultural auctions, we’re told. Buddy was the biggest rooster on the auction block, taking up the better part of a cage meant for animals like goats or German Shepherds.

I am Buddy. Hear me Crow!

Even when we were standing outside the building, we heard Buddy’s distinctive and loud crow above the din of hundreds of poultry birds. Guineas, Peacocks, Bantys, Silkies, Bunnies, Doves–all were stacked in cages ready to be taken to their new homes.

The Guinea Hens were tempting, good as they are at keeping tick populations down.

"Hey," said the peacock. "Is my tail hanging out? You don't think my tail is hanging out, do you?"

Three-high stacks of cages of birds and rabbits and ducks were the norm in the ring.

Poultry auctions are not for the faint-of-heart animal-lover types, of which we count ourselves among. We distracted ourselves with people watching, but found that was even harder on the stomach, what with all the tobacco-spitting.

We waited and waited while the auctioneer and his crew held up carton after carton of hatching eggs, then eating eggs, until they finally got to the birds at around 12:30 pm. A peacock went for upwards of $200.00. The first rooster, albeit a small one, fetched $2.00. A pair of laying hens went for $7.00. We had already spent 5 hours or so at the auction, so any amount of money Buddy could possibly bring us was not going to be worth our time, but we figured we were there for the experience more than anything. We were hoping to pick up a few cheap feeders while we were at it, but nothing there suited our needs.

Around one o’clock, we figured we might as well go on home and wait for our check in the mail. We were figuring on $5.00 for Buddy. So when we got the check in the mail today and saw that Buddy had fetched $18.00, we were mightily impressed. Of course, the auctioneer’s share left us with just $12.60, but we were told that Buddy got the highest bid of any rooster there that day.

We’re proud of him. And hope he has a good life with lots of strong, feisty hens with tough skin, or at the very least, a swift, clean death and good stew recipe.

Luckily, we have a song to remember him by. It goes like this. (Those of you who have had to endure high school musicals might recognize it.)

Bye, bye, Buddy.
I’m gonna miss you so
Bye Bye Birdie
Why’d you have to go?

No more sunshine
It’s followed you away
I’ll cry birdie
till you’re home to stay

I’ll miss the way you crow
As though it’s just for me
And each and every night
I’ll write you faithfully
(Bye Bye Birdie)

huh, Bye bye Birdie
It’s awful hard to beg
Bye bye Birdie
Guess I’ll always care

We love you Buddy
O Yes we do
We love you Buddy
And we’ll be true

I’ll miss the way you crow
As though it’s just for me
And each and every night
I’ll write you faithfully

Bye bye Birdie
It’s awful hard to beg
Bye bye Birdie

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5 Responses to Bye, Bye, Buddy

  1. kbfrana says:

    my oh my, that is a handsome rooster!

  2. Keriann Koeman says:

    The poor hens….rooster stew is probably in his future .

  3. Maybe I should find an auction for our extra roosters. I have a fine looking Buff named King George – after George Strait, of course

  4. Bye bye Buddy is a good story about a painful parting of the ways. It reminds me of my wonderings about Calico the Cat: she’s a big bully but she’s so beautiful and of course knows it. So Buddy got in fights; he was Top Rooster. Like Calico is Top Cat. Hmm. “Nature is red in tooth and claw.” But of course we Humans are much nicer than that! Love your writing, Di. GKB

  5. Heartbreaking. I feel your pain. :(

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