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Home  >  Family and Community  >  Family Collections  >  Barnett
My Rooster, Bing
By Katelyn Barnett

It was Christmas Eve. The snow was higher than the doghouse, and it was still snowing. My grandparents had come for the holidays, so there was always a loud chatter in the kitchen. My father was in the study, while my mom talked to my grandma. My friend and I sat eating dinner mints.

All of a sudden, a bulbous shape carrying a cage emerged from the blizzard. Erin had hinted something about a chicken, so naturally my mind raced. All too quickly, Al and Jane were opening the sliding glass door, and there was my beautiful Dominique Rooster. I squealed and flapped my arms, jumping, while my mother screeched, "Chuck! Come quick!" He came running, with a look of absolute horror at seeing the cage, and what was in it. Later, my grandfather said that I jumped higher than the kitchen counter. I don't really think I jumped that high, but I let my grandfather have his pleasure. He thought that a rooster would be a great addition to my herd of chickens, while my Dad thought only of loud crowing, and stew.

Katelyn Barnett and her dogs.
My rooster was uncomfortable in his small pen, (and it was close to dinner; we were going over to Al and Jane's,) so we took him up to our pen, still happily flapping. Al let him out with our flock, so we could see him get acquainted with our hens. He started dominating the hens, but I thought that he was hurting them. I said, "Bad Boy," but Al laughed and told me that there was nothing I could do, and that all roosters did that. He had a fight with Amazon, the alpha hen, but soon she was submissive. He was a lot bigger than the hens, I noticed.

"I get his longest tail feather when he dies!" Erin cried. I agreed, saying that I got the second longest. Convinced that he would be all right, we walked over to the party at Al's.

Al, the character that he is, did not tell my parents about this rooster. A rooster was on my Christmas list, so Al did the favor for Santa and got him for me. It was not a favor to my parents though.

My dreams that night were full of crowing roosters, and names. My dad was grumpy on Christmas morning, my rooster having been confused with the timing. He had crowed 32 times at 3:00, and then again at 6. Later, we calculated that 32 to 31 were his average number of crows at one time. It made little difference, but we still enjoyed hearing him crow down the road.

Erin and I named him Bing after the famous singer. He was definitely my most often remembered present, ever.

Bing lived to be eight years old, yet he still lives on in our coop. He died one winter night near Christmas, while I was checking their water. I did not cry, for I knew that he had lived a good life, and that he was ready. His feet had grown gnarly, and his crowing had ceased to less than a squeak.

Erin never did get his longest tail feather. I did. She is too grown up to care about a simple childhood whim. Perhaps, when she is more grown up than she is now, I'll give it to her.

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