Eddie arrived at Heartland in 2011 with his two turkey hen mates, Bella and Esme. Eddie was four years old at the time, which means he lived a very long turkey life.

Sadly, not long after arriving, Bella was taken by a coyote and Eddie was inconsolable with grief for a long time. He gradually grew stronger again, but he was different. Once a social and happy-go-lucky turkey, after Bella passed, he wasn’t a fan of people anymore. He decided that a few lucky staff members were his “mates” and he kept these relationships through the years. Others tried to get into “Eddie’s Inner Circle” and failed miserably. If you weren’t in, you just weren’t in.

Edward was a wonderful protector and spent most of his happiest years patrolling the barn and keeping everyone in line. Eddie loved showing off on tours and he really loved kids and camp season. Eddie’s favorite pastime was being told how extremely handsome he was – seriously, our guy loved praise.

As Eddie grew older and began to have health problems, we moved him up to the animal trailer with Esme. Eddie was very warm and comfortable in the trailer, and got lots of special treats (mainly grapes and sunflower seeds) from our Shelter Director, Alecia (who was definitely in Eddie’s Circle). Eddie spent his last days knowing how much he was loved, and even saw all of his favorite people one last time before he passed away. Eddie lived an extraordinary life from start to finish, and we’re all so lucky to have known him.
Reggie rooster was a bantam Cochin who also arrived at Heartland in 2011. Reggie’s signature look was his glossy coat (it was as if he had a hidden, unending supply of hair gel hidden somewhere) and his feather-covered legs – a pair of perfectly feathered pantaloons. He was a fiery rooster who was passionate about biting people when they were least expecting it.

But he also loved like he bit: strongly. The romance of Reggie and his partner Sweet Pea, who lived at Heartland from 2014 until she passed in 2019, was one of the best love stories at Heartland. He was endlessly devoted to her and they were attached to the hip during their years together. After Sweet Pea died, we were very concerned about Reggie and knew we had to keep him busy. He was introduced to hens Barbara, Sarah, Junebug, Toddy and Joanna. The girls really liked Reggie, and he was happy to use his outstanding rooster skills to care for them.

This past winter, Reggie really began to age and slow down (we don’t know how old he actually was), but he still kept busy in his family-man role at his winter home with our staff member, Carrie. Reggie passed away peacefully during the night, and was found the next morning in a nest of straw, surrounded by his hen family. Our little old man really deserved to rest. 
Jewel’s story is a little different because she wasn’t elderly like Eddie and Reggie. She and her sister Fern were brought to Heartland in 2016, after being found dumped behind a store in Milwaukee. Fern and Jewel were part of the “little duck” group. Jewel was really sweet, easy-going and independent. She loved floating in her pool, eating her twice-daily salads, and occasionally sneaking into the pig pasture to make a nest behind Winnie!

Jewel was taken to the vet after her appetite decreased and we noticed she was breathing heavily. Unfortunately, x rays showed a large mass pressing against her lungs. This was making it harder and harder to breathe, and Jewel was very uncomfortable. Our vet didn’t believe surgery was a good option for her, as it was unlikely she would survive. We decided that humanely euthanizing Jewel was in her best interest. Fern was able to be with her at the vet, and that probably helped her understand what was happening. The little duck group is a tight-knit family, and we know they are missing her just as much as we are.

photo by @samanthajhelt
Elderly rooster Wallace recently passed away while staying with our staff member, Michelle, in his warm and comfortable winter home. He was with his family of hens: Petri, Hershey and Daria. Wallace was a Turken, or Naked Neck, rooster. He arrived at Heartland in 2012 with his partner Gromit, who passed away in 2018. The two roosters were very bonded when they first arrived, but as they matured they grew apart and were matched with hens. Wallace and Gromit were possibly the sweetest and most gentle roosters we ever had the pleasure of knowing. Wallace was a very proud and attentive rooster. He loved caring for the hens he knew through the years. He was most loved by his precious gal Bubbles, who died of cancer late last year, and he adored her.

Wallace was very old and fragile at the end of his life. Even though he was a little unsteady on his feet, he loved waking each day with his family and making the most of it. When eating became more difficult, Michelle made him many special foods to make sure he ate and was happy. He spent his last day quietly resting and passed away on his own terms. He lived his whole life, up to the very end, as a perfect, dignified gentleman.

We didn’t get enough time with Tuesday, a young hen who was surrendered to Heartland late last year. She had a slipped tendon in her leg and very limited mobility, so she resided in the office trailer because she wasn’t able to be with other chickens. She was cared for and adored by our therapy participants, who loved tucking her in at night. A cart was made for her by construction volunteer Tony, and it allowed her to move around a bit and participate in office life! She spent her weekends (and the last several quarantine weeks) at home with our Executive Director Jen, and was a big part of her family.
“Tuesday was a pro at letting her needs (and preferences) be known,” wrote Jen. “She liked grapes every third Thursday between 9-10 o’clock, melon occasionally, and lettuce never. She enjoyed warm baths and dozing off while having her feathers blow dried. She had the fluffiest gray butt on this side of town. She was a sharp shooter and could identify, aim, and grab a piece of buried cracked corn from her food dish with expert precision.”

Darling Tuesday had a really unique life. She saw and experienced interesting things during her time with us – she was even on the news! From the beginning though, it didn’t seem that Tuesday was meant to live long, so we made every day special. She was very small and had difficulty gaining weight. We don’t know what was going on inside her body, but suspect her organs were compromised by her unusual anatomy, and normal chicken functions were more challenging. She seemed more tired in the days before she died, and she passed away on her own in the middle of the night. There are so many things we’ll miss about Tuesday. Not only did we love her endlessly, but we learned a lot about caring for a chicken like her.

Rowdy passed away late last week after being diagnosed with CAE, a common goat disease that we’re unfortunately all too familiar with. CAE is usually contracted from the mother during nursing. It manifests differently in individuals — a goat can be a carrier and completely asymptomatic, or they can suffer from painful arthritis and/or neurological problems.Rowdy was a twin, and is survived by his brother, Moo. In 2016, Heartland took the boys in from another sanctuary who had their hands full at the time. Rowdy and Moo were always into mischief and having fun in their early years at the barn. They loved to challenge us by stealing food, escaping their stalls at bedtime and basically doing the exact opposite of anything we wanted. 😉 They drove us crazy and made us laugh, and that laughter was part of what delighted them. They knew they were special and so incredibly loved.

After his CAE diagnosis, we knew our time with Rowdy would be limited, and we did our best to manage his discomfort, giving him special care and extra treats. Last week, Rowdy developed trouble breathing. He was treated for a lung infection but did not improve. As his condition worsened, his doctor suspected that a cancer or heart problem was causing a fluid buildup in his body. His medications did not help his worsening breathing conditions, and Rowdy was expending all of his energy on trying to breathe. When we knew he would not improve, Rowdy was humanely euthanized and passed away immediately, which indicates that he was truly exhausted. Our sweet and funny boy will be deeply missed.

2 Comments for Remembering Eddie, Reggie, Jewel, Wallace, Tuesday and Rowdy

Renee Brantner Shanesy | April 30, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Thank you for sharing their stories of life lived! Your tenderness, compassion and deep love is apparent and always touches my heart. Sincerest thanks.

Tree Tario | April 30, 2020 at 1:43 pm

My heart goes out to all of Heartlands resident critters who knew and played with the sanctuaries recent losses. My heart goes out to ALL of the caregivers who went above and beyond to love these animals….no matter what.
I know that I have seem these animals when I have visited, save for Tuesday.
God Bless all at Heartland.
Peace &Love,
Tree 🌳

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