Chickens can be a great addition to your farm, family or homestead. But there’s an old rule about keeping a chicken… don’t name it. If you name them, you’ll never eat them.

Before you get all upset, no, we don’t keep chickens just to eat them. Most of our birds are layers rather than broilers. We’ve raised chickens for meat, and we hope to again soon. But we primarily keep hens for laying eggs although we have a pair of roosters.

Roostavo isn’t just “any bird”.

Roostavo isn’t just any chicken.

We’ve written about “Roostavo” before. We kept this beloved bird in the house one winter after frostbite claimed a toe. The old boy bounced back and was returned to his place at the cock-of-the-walk by spring. Last summer he lost a spur fighting off a racoon defending his girls.

Roostavo is just a majestic Rhode Island Red that looks like something you’d see in a child’s storybook. He’s mild mannered enough to let us in the run and take care of business. The hens flock to him like a rock star and he’s become a centerpiece of our homestead.

Chris is a real chicken tender.

Now, Chris has become Roostavo’s attendant at night. The rooster’s legs and feet just don’t work like they used to and he can’t climb the chicken ladder to get back into the coop at night. We discovered this problem one morning after going out to open the coop and seeing a soggy and cold Roostavo hunkered down in the mud. The sight broke our heart and had us worried that maybe we would soon look out at our chickens and not see this handsome fellow.

The nightly Roostavo ritual.

To solve this problem, Chris is going out every night after the rest of the chickens have gone to bed. He gently lifts Roostavo off of the ground and into the coop. The proud bird wasn’t happy with this effort when we started doing this but now sees Chris coming and makes some soft, sad, chicken whining noises awaiting his lift.

Had we not named this chicken, we probably would have had no problem taking care of this issue some evening for dinner. But Roostavo is more than a meal… even if saying that out loud seems too funny for farm life.

Be sure to watch the video at the top of the page to see Roostavo’s nightly ritual.

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