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In Memoriam: Derek

We woke up on the morning of March 3, 2024, with another angel having crossed the rainbow bridge. Derek, our Cuckoo Maran rooster, passed away in his sleep from heart failure.

Derek arrived at the sanctuary last March, as a dumped drop off. The man who dropped him off said this rooster had belonged to a friend of his, and not 100% sure what happened to his fellow chickens except that they were gone. So Derek had been living alone as an only chicken for quite some time. So in his stress and loneliness, he began pulling out his own feathers.

But Derek was also suffering from numerous ailments. He was severely underweight, malnourished, and had the worst lice infestation we’ve ever seen. He also has an infection in his right foot, likely caused by a condition called bumblefoot. We spent weeks and then months nursing him back to health.

We had no idea about his age, or anything else about his history, but we knew him as a happy and calm rooster. He was so incredibly sweet and was so incredibly patient with us throughout his treatment. There wasn’t a mean bone in his body.

After noticing the signs of heart failure a few months ago, we pulled him from the main flock. He joined Kevin and his couple of girls, where he and Kevin became inseparable. They could often be seen basking in the sunlight together - two older roosters that were never in a hurry to get anywhere.

Roosters are one of the most mistreated, abused, neglected, abandoned, and unwanted farm animals in the industry today. And yet they can be some of the friendliest and sweetest personalities of their species. Derek exemplified all that was good about roosters.

His final day was spent with Kevin at his side, and his final night surrounded in warmth and love from his little flock with Kevin. We found him a quiet, peaceful resting spot, that’s close by to the flock but not too much activity. Just like he would have liked it.

Rest in sweet peace, Derek ❤️

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