On this father's Day 2018, I'd like to pay tribute to a father who I can confidently say has never been wished a good day by anyone, ever.
I am not speaking here of my father, my children's father or my grandchildren's father, even. Nor any famous fathers that we hear about regularly - or infamous ones which we also hear about regularly.
This is Bill.
(he's a little shy and wouldn't turn his face to the camera)
Bill is a cockerel. He was hatched with a batch of eggs about two and a half years ago, along with two brothers and five sisters. Sadly, a few months back his brothers and 3 of his sisters died in a dreadful incident which is now known in this household as "The Catastrophe". The cause of this has never been proved - but I have a strong suspicion - and evidence - that it was cats.
Bill was traumatised after the attack. He was silent for at least four weeks, before he had the courage to crow again. He felt, I am certain, that he had failed in his duty of looking after his girls and his brothers, though when there were three cockrels in the flock, Bill was not the head boy around. After a number of sibling arguments when he was a chick, he was happy to be second or third in the power line and supported his brothers where he could.
Fortunately, 5 of his sisters also survived The Catastrophe and with some new additions to the family, Bill managed to regain his confidence. He began to crow again and to call for his girls on a morning when it was time to go outside. His instincts immediately told him that as he was now the leader of the flock he had real responsibilities to keep up with.
Bill has showed true strength of spirit and now has a happy flock of hens which he takes pride in looking after. When food is available he shows the girls where to go and what to do. He stands back and watches until everyone is fed and watered, before taking any food himself. Often the food has gone before he even gets a morsel, but he never stops his guardianship. Even when the male dog in this household tries to get him rounded up and back in the coop, Bill does a great stand off and keeps eye control with the dog until the dog is bored and finds something else to herd.
On 8th June, Bill became a real father for the first time. I'm not certain which hen laid the actual egg which has hatched out, but Little Blackie must take credit for hatching it and is the rightful "mother" of the new chick. Bill is definately the father.
The chick is doing fine with the support of it's father, mother and "sisters". I have named it "Blondy" , for obvious reasons and am hoping that it is a girl and not a boy.
So, Happy Father's Day Bill. Hopefully your new chick will turn out to be not a cockerel, but if it does, I have all faith in you being noot only a father but a friend too.-