Amidst our busy summer, our pet rooster Stuart went over the Rainbow Bridge. Stuart was one of our original Mottled Javas that I spent all day driving to get from the breeder (yes, Texas is really that big). Stuart was named for the cute little mouse Stuart Little of Hollywood fame.
Stuart was a runt from the start, but very cute and affectionate – even without us spending a lot of time with him. Stuart enjoyed people and wanted to be with us even more than he wanted to be with the other chickens. Whenever the flock that Stuart lived with was allowed to free-range, Stuart would come running to find us anytime he heard us outside. He could run out of the coop to meet us faster than we could get the people-door to the chicken run open. Stuart was always underfoot and I did manage to step on him more than once, but that didn’t keep him from rubbing up against my legs while I refilled food and water containers. Stuart LOVED chasing and eating grasshoppers more than any of the other chickens – earning him the title “Mighty Grasshopper Hunter” from his proud human father.
Our best guess is that Stuart was taken by a hawk, based on finding a feather trail (no blood or anything else) in a direction where a hawk could have swooped down from the oak tree by the pond, grabbed Stuart, and flown across the pasture (and because the dogs did not alert me that there was a coyote, which would have been the other predator we have here that could have carried a chicken away without leaving anything other than feathers). Even though we knew that predators were a possibility (which is why the breeding stock is not allowed to free-range without supervision), we had not had any actual predator attacks until now. And unfortunately our favorite chicken was the one sacrificed in our first predator attack. Knowing Stuart, he was so busy chasing grasshoppers and clucking happily between the garden and the pond, he probably never even knew there was danger nearby.
So we say goodbye to Stuart. Who would have thought that a runty, late-blooming chicken would have such a big personality and become one of the family? We sure miss you Stuart!
STUART ROBINSON March 26, 2012 – July 13, 2013