Saturday, October 17, 2009

R.I.P. Floppy

I don't know if I mentioned this, but we had a second rooster. It was Floppy, one of our original Buff Orpington chicks. That is Floppy as a baby, when I first worried he might be a boy. He started crowing a few weeks ago, but so intermittently that I thought maybe we could get away with keeping him. Recently, though, he found his voice and crowed lustily every morning. He sounded like a bagpipe. 

We put him down yesterday morning. He would have had a rough time integrating with a new flock, I know this by watching the ongoing miseries of Caroline, and I could not be sure how his new owners, if we could find him new owners, would treat him. He was a big, wobbly, fluffy bird, slightly buffoonish, lovable. But there was also something wrong with him that made him floppy and that is the main reason I don't think anyone else would have wanted him. Although he had been vaccinated and his symptoms did not progress, I worried he had Marek's disease. From his early youth, he stumbled and staggered and twitched. For that and other reasons, there was no way we could even try to eat Floppy. We buried him. 

I think, for now, I am done trying to eat our chickens. I am also done buying factory-farmed chicken and eggs. I was at Safeway a few days ago and considered buying some poultry parts for stock, but the sight of the slick, pink meat compressed under plastic struck me as terribly sad and wrong. The polemics I've read about the evils of factory farming certainly laid the groundwork, but none was ultimately as persuasive as just living around a small flock of funny, clucking birds. 

I guess this means we'll be buying from Marin Sun Farms, and eating less chicken.


  1. That's a shame about Floppy. At least he had a good loving home for a while there.

    You mention reading about the evils of factory farming, but I saw a twitter update of yours panning JS Foer's new book. Was it really that bad? I was looking forward to it...

  2. I have mixed feelings about JSF's book. It wasn't bad! I agree with everything he has to say about factory farms -- and I'm glad someone said it so forcefully -- but had some problems with the book as a whole.
    I'm still working out my thoughts.
    I'm glad I read it, though.

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  4. Caroline is not adjusting?

    I just noticed that the teacher in the Magic School Bus is named Mrs. Frizzle.

  5. I never liked those Magic School Bus books. ... I liked Floppy, though. It can be grim duty -- this animal husbandry business.