His Prize Rooster Was Close to Death. Then, a Christmas Miracle.

One night before Christmas, a boy set Santa aside and prayed for his pet.

his-prize-rooster-was-close-to-death-then-a-christmas-miracleFarm & Ranch Living Magazine

I was 10 years old when I got my chickens, back in spring 1981. With my parents’ permission, I ordered a regular United Nations of chickens, including Blue Andalusian, Araucana, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Buff Minorca breeds. When 40 fuzzy chicks arrived, I nurtured the tiny puffs as they grew into a rainbow assortment of hens and roosters.

An Araucana rooster named Chanticleer, Chant for short, became my favorite. He was not as large, lean, or regal as the other males, but he won me over with his pluck and perseverance. Chant and the rest of the flock soothed me after a hard day at school.

his-prize-rooster-was-close-to-death-then-a-christmas-miracleFarm & Ranch Living Magazine

On Christmas Eve 1985, my mind was less on my chickens than on the anticipation of opening presents the next morning. But when I went to their pen to feed them, I got a shock I’ll never forget. Chickens were scattered everywhere. Many were dead. Something had gotten into the coop. I knew that animal death was part of farm life, but why on Christmas Eve?

We corralled the surviving chickens back inside the pen. Noting that some were missing, I checked their outdoor run, where I found Chant lying on the ground. Dad tenderly picked up my motionless prize rooster, checking for signs of life. I didn’t know why he bothered.

“He’s alive,” Dad said.

How was that possible? I followed Dad’s direction to fetch my 4-H display cage. He put the rooster inside and we went straight into the house, placing the cage on an ancient wicker rocker by the warm stove.

“What do we do now?” I asked.

“We wait,” he said. I was touched that Dad gave Chant a place of honor next to the stove, especially because farm animals were not usually allowed in the house.

I said a quiet prayer. We had done what we could; the rest was up to Chant. My parents urged me to go to bed before Santa came. With a final glance toward my motionless feathered friend, I headed up to put the day’s events behind me. Sleep came reluctantly, but it came.

Cock-a-doodle-doo! The familiar cry woke me from a sound sleep, but it sounded different than usual. Instead of a distant cry from the barn, it was as loud as if it was coming from right inside the house. Then it came to me—Chant!

I ran down the steps and into the kitchen, never glancing at the gifts under the tree. Standing among the sunbeams that streamed in through the window, Chant proudly stretched his neck and burst forth with another grand crow.

It was Christmas morning—and Chant wouldn’t be caught dead missing it!

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