No Ordinary Rooster

8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #518935 by Belle Bosse
Last month I had to put my beautiful Coronation Sussex rooster to sleep. His failing health was a mystery as he was only 15 months old. He was with us for a short 3 months but packed so much into that short time. Cyrus was named after the great Medo-Persian king Cyrus as he was a gentle ruler. He always gave away the best treat to the hens and had the devoted attention of one particular hen who was then named Sweetie. Before Cyrus she had no name.

Cyrus had travelled from Auckland to the Far North in my largest cat carrier case, behind the driver's seat, along side my two cats. He loudly crowed most the way north and Simon (cat) got to know the call very quickly! Next morning as soon as the rooster crowed, Simon was jumping on my chest for me to go see the rooster! Both Simon and Cyrus had a respect for each other and didnt seem to mind each other's company.

For a rooster that had not been handled much, he quickly adapted to being carried from the hen house in the orchard up to the caravan to keep the peace with our closest neighbour. Cyrus would put himself to bed in my cat's large transport carrier before being kept overnight in the shipping container where he would be safe and dry.
At 7am, Simon (cat) and Cyrus and me would trek down to the orchard to let the hens out of the hen house and feed them. If I met Cyrus and the hens out in the paddock, Cyrus would pick a clover or buttercup flower, and chatting as he did, would drop it in my direction, step back and wait for me to pick it up. If I didnt pick it up, he would again pick the flower up and drop it in my direction, and wait.

He taught me so much about the vocalizations he made. My favourite was hearing him give the warning call for HAWK, then to look up, search the sky and see that he had seen the Harrier well before I had. I love seeing the Harrier cruising the sky. Cyrus was usually correct with his sightings of hawks, though one time he had me confused and searching the sky for a Harrier when he had located a White Face Crane in the top of a pine and called it hawk!

Mid December his health started declining and his routine was changed to accommodate his needs, but then what I was doing for him wasnt enough. He went to a vet in Kerikeri and had them puzzled and was referred on to a bird specialist vet in Whangerei who saw us the next day.
Cyrus sounded unhappy on the 2 hour drive down to Whangerei.
In the examination room our vet began his examination of Cyrus face and beak in view of possibly doing surgery to clear the sinus. Cyrus didnt want to hold still for examination or open his beak and began to fight me and the vet, only to collapse on the table in front of us. That was a surprise to me and the vet.
The vet gently put him into a more comfortable resting position, reached for his stethoscope and and listened to Cyrus's chest. Commenting, "very unusual"... and listened longer, commenting again; "very unusual".
He finally told me Cyrus's heart was racing... skipping beats... going very slowly. Cyrus had a heart condition. I was told birds and heart conditions were not a good mix, usually fatal to the bird. The blood test we ran showed nothing abnormal, giving no hint of what we could do to make him well gain. After exploring all possibilities we finally had to go with putting Cyrus to sleep. And because of the mystery of his condition, follow with autopsy.

As I was leaving Whangerei I had to pull over for a phone call. It was our vet with the autopsy results... no sign of infection. no sign of inflammation, no sign of sinus problem affecting the heart. Sinuses could have been easily cleared with surgery, lungs clear, other organs clear and normal... Except the heart... Instead of a strong, muscled, thick heart wall, Cyrus's heart wall was thin, weak, floppy.
He explained that Cyrus had been trying to be a normal active rooster with a failing heart. Birds could not afford to show they were weak or vulnerable and usually hid that they were not well. I was not to know...

Over the next few days I was trying to understand the whys of Cyrus mystery heart condition and other questions popped up...
Q: What causes cardiomyopathy?
A: born like that, or sometimes a viral injury, but mostly Unknown.

The orchard and paddocks seem strangely silent without Cyrus' loud calls, i miss his company.
Later in the year, I will be getting another rooster... a Light Sussex like the girls... after they get a new hen house.
Last edit: 8 years 1 month ago by Belle Bosse. Reason: shorten

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