Rest in Peace, Toro roo
Today we said goodbye to our giant roosterball, Toro roo. Here he is as a little baby when he first arrived with his turkey friend.
This is a short video of both Toro and Persephone on the day they first arrived.
I guess they are about 2-3 weeks old, which means they were born around June 10, 2011. Persephone Kerfuffle, Toro’s turkey friend, already passed away after her legs gave out from poor breeding and malnutrition or birth defects. But Toro hung on for quite a long time, in spite of his challenges.
Toro was a sweet little guy who didn’t seem to be in very good shape when he arrived. Both he and Persephone were rescued from a cruelty situation which resulted in cruelty charges against the person who had them before they came to us. They were filthy and starving.
In spite of being different species, Toro roo and his turkey girl Persephone were inseparable. They spoke different languages but still understood each other perfectly.
As they grew, Toro improved and it was Persephone who wouldn’t be with us for very long. She had a deformed leg that unfortunately gave out on her as she grew heavier.
Once that happened, she was not happy being unable to move well, and we had to say goodbye.
Toro continued to grow and improve, though he has always had trouble walking and breathing, because he is bred to be so uncomfortably large.
Once his favorite girl was gone, I spent more time with Toro roo and he became a good companion.
Each day he would sit with me and stretch his legs while we talked about his day.
He has never been able to walk much because of his size, but he was comfortable for a long time.
For a few months, he did walk a few steps each morning, but would quickly tire out and need some rest. Here’s his morning hen chasing routine.
In February, Toro gained National fame when he was named PETA’s 2012 “Chicken of the Year” for his great work just being an awesome spokeschicken and showing people that he is not food, but a living, feeling, wonderful roo.
I like to think he was proud of his accomplishment, and we hung his certificate over his pen where he could see it every day.
Toro had to sleep nights in the house because he would crow in the morning. But in the past few months, his breathing had gotten more shallow, and his crow became quiet, so he was able to move outside full-time and share a night pen with Cindy Buttons and Olivia hens. He really enjoyed that time.
You can see in this video from February or March that he could still take a few steps, but he couldn’t really walk anymore. He still had a lot of joy and life in him though, and he was a great conversationalist.
In the past few weeks, one of his back toes became very swollen and infected. We treated it with antibiotics and gave him some pain medication, but it wasn’t really improving. We could have switched antibiotics and tried another one, but none of them would really improve his quality of life long-term.
So this past week I started talking to Toro about whether or not he was ready to join his turkey girl, Persephone Kerfuffle.
He had started to sleep a lot more, and started breathing through his mouth more, which wasn’t a great sign. So today we said goodbye.
I’m always sad to lose a friend, but in Toro’s case I feel a lot of relief. He was so, so heavy that I wanted to really make sure I didn’t wait too long and make him suffer needlessly.
He had a very good, comfortable life here, in spite of being bred for meat and born into a cruelty situation.
He was a super roo-chicken among chickens. A sweet, sweet boy with a big heart and a lot of love for his family.
He was da best rooster ball there ever was.
Rest in peace, my lovable little chubby cheeks. Give our best to that sweet turkey girl, and many, many thanks for everything you taught us along your chubby little rooster way.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” – Albert Schweitzer
Learn more about the broiler chicken industry, which supplies over 95% of all chicken consumed in the United States.
Special thanks to the Bird & Exotic Clinic of Seattle for letting me hold and stay with Toro as long as I could, until he was zonked out. I appreciate your care and compassion so much.