RURAL BLADEN — Then: During a blizzard in 2004, the door of the Kinley family’s chicken coop north of Bladen blew open in the wind, one of the hens got out and froze to death.
The then-4-year-old Cogburn, a B.B. red bantam rooster, lay across the door, preventing the other hen from leaving. The hen survived, but Cogburn lost his legs to frostbite.
Now: Even though Cogburn lost his legs, his owner, Kylie Kinley, now 23, continued to show him at the Webster County Fair until she graduated from Blue Hill High School in 2007.
“He did lose his legs, but he has stubs and he gets around very well,” said Kinley, the daughter of John and Jill Kinley.
The rooster struts on the two bits of curled flesh where his left and right legs are attached to his body.
After the frostbite, Kinley rubbed antibiotic ointment on what was left of his legs to avoid infection.
Much like the one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn that John Wayne played in the 1969 movie “True Grit,” for whom Kinley named her rooster, Cogburn is a cantankerous old man. He turn’s 13 in March.
“He’s really old,” Kinley said. “I don’t know anybody else who has this old of a chicken. I think the Guinness Book of World Records is 16, though, so he’s a little off from that.”