Ready to work? We know the location, but we don’t know the motivation nor the way it happened…
OK, here’s some background: Fluffball (AKA Fluffy) was a beautiful regal Buff Sussex rooster, together with the Cayuga ducks, probably one of the most beautiful specimens we had on site. Interestingly enough, Fluffy, his 3 Buff Sussex hens (Huff, Puff and Remi) and the 4 Cayuga ducks (2 drakes and 2 hens) shared the same coop – a big coop with a duck waterer built in, with its own run. To the human eye they seemed to have a very good living relationship. Fluffy looked after his hens very well and was mostly seen free-ranging together with them. The Buffs and the ducks have access to most of Dreamland – by far the biggest area to free-range in. They have a pretty good deal in life. One interesting note for any would-be detectives is that Fluffy occasionally chased the ducks away from the afternoon feed, which we typically give to them together inside the run.
Then on that fateful day, the following happened: Mid-morning, Patricia saw Fluffy together with the ducks at the back gate leading to Homeland. (This is sort-of near where the tiger snake was spotted the day before, if that has any relevance.) The Buff hens weren’t with them; one of them is broody in any case. Around lunch time she saw the same group at the pond, where Fluffy was standing on the top step of the pond, drinking water from the pond. Again, the Buff hens were nowhere close. That afternoon when she called the ducks and the Buffs for their late afternoon feed, everyone except Fluffy came – and he normally guides his hens back to the run when called. She got a sudden feeling of despair and something told her to go look at the pond. There was poor Fluffy – dead in the water!
Fluffy was a big strong healthy rooster, in fact, when they all free-ranged together he used to be the top dog in a very unchallenged way – all the roosters accepted him as such. So it was a very strange event indeed.
It was of course a very sad event too. Micaela raised Fluffy by hand – he was “her” rooster – even though she was weary of him in the latter days. He always came when he was called and he never attacked anyone of us viciously. He used to peck at Patricia’s feet, but he never flared up and kicked her, like the other roosters often do. In the year working around and with him, we had the most amazingly respectful relationship – I would give him his space and always treat him with respect. Rightfully so – I hardly ever needed to chase him anywhere, he went where and when he was supposed to, and he came when he was called – by name or by whistle. In turn he never challenged me either (unlike most of the other roosters, except Tiarra). And besides, he was absolutely stunningly beautiful. It was a very sad and very strange day indeed.
With one of the Buffs being broody, we’re actually thinking of getting a few of the Buff eggs under her to try and re-breed his lineage. Only problem is, the other two Buffs aren’t laying that well at the moment. They must also be grieving.