Norbert the rooster died Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at his home in Decatur after an encounter with a hawk.
Memorial service was private, as was the burial, under the direction of my dear husband.
Norbert, who was a Transylvanian naked neck, was born in September of 2013 in Iowa before being shipped with 25 other chicks to his new home just outside Decatur. The rooster was an awkward youngster but grew into a regal defender of his coop and hens.
He started each day with a magnificent crow and did not hesitate to use his voice to greet coop visitors, heckle predators or call the ladies. His hobbies included eating bugs, scratching the ground and chasing small children.
Although his time on Earth was short, he had already captured the hearts of many Wise County folks, leading to the formation of his fan club. He had also met and was courting the love of his life, Big Bertha, a Cornish cross hen.
He’s survived by Bertha and six other hens; two dogs, Bo and Sally; two rabbits, Blaze and Wild Bill; a cat named Crash; and Fluffers the hamster.
He was preceded in death by 15 broilers and a hamster, Smokey.
Memorials may be made to the Wise County 4-H poultry project.
Norbert was a good rooster, taken from this world too soon. He was a feisty fellow and good-looking in a non-traditional sort of way, becoming the surprise star of the chicken coop.
Although naked neck poultry isn’t new to Wise County, he was the first we had ever seen. He had no feathers on his neck, but beautiful plumes covered the rest of his body. My family was fascinated by his strange looks and funny personality as a chick.
My husband and I started posting pictures of him on Instagram and Facebook, mainly for our own amusement, but the bird quickly gained a following, leading to requests for more photos, coop updates and even a mention or two in the Messenger.
His initial injuries and death thereafter elicited an outcry from his fans including:
“Be proud and get well, Norbert.”
“That’s just sad. I love your Norbert updates. I hope he recovers.”
“Prayers for healing hands to be placed on Norbert. Norbert is famous!”
“So sorry. It’s sad to lose our pet friends.”
“Oh, that makes me so sad! I am so sorry. I have seen those hawks out here in the woods scooping down and getting all kinds of little critters. I had got attached to Norbert. Feeling sad.”
“When looking for a positive in such a grave situation, I am reminded that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I must say that hawk must have thought Norbert was the best looking thing he had seen in a long time.”
Our family was disappointed to lose that funky rooster so soon. After all, he had just become fully grown, but as we know, life on the farm isn’t always easy.
And some days it’s downright tragic.
Rest in peace, Norbert.
Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger.