We realised at night, closing up the henhouse. Something was wrong. We had heard him all afternoon making his usual racket and then, nothing. In full daylight, Robispiere the rooster had been taken. Named for the style with which we had assumed he would eventually meet his end, Robespierre was taken from his harem long before his time. Initially we thought he might be roosting somewhere else for the night. But when we actually managed to sleep beyond 6AM without his morning call, we knew something was truly wrong.
I imagined that he had finally gotten a little indignant about sharing living quarters with 3 geese, and had taken off to geese free pastures. But would he really abandon his family like that? We found out the horrible truth when one feather led to another and we followed a trail of large white feathers from the back fence, down through the trees to the base of a large olive where a collection of feathers, including telltale white and yellow neck feathers confirmed our fears.
Poor old Robespierre. Could we have protected him better? Could we have given him a more auspicious name?
The same day that the rooster died, something else happened in the henhouse. One of the eggs hatched and a bright little yellow ball peeked out from beneath the mama's wing. A real circle of life moment.