Friday, February 6, 2009

Making Way For Albert

Did I tell you a while back about Albert the Dominker?
Dominikers are the early breed of chicken which was common on eighteenth century homesteads, and traveled west in covered wagons. They look a little like a barred Plymouth Rock, which are descended from them and Asian birds, but they have a low, frost resistant comb which makes them suitable for outdoor living, and which looks something like a beret Albert Camus would wear.
Albert is a stranger for sure, and an outsider.
His call isn't the usual four or five syllables , which sounds to Americans like "Cock A doodle Do", and to Frenchmen like something quite different, but only three sylablles, which sounds to Davey like Oh - Dav - ey, and to me , like O - Bam - A.
I have even thought of taking him along with me in the Ark when I pull it out of here, and exhibiting him for tips along the way as the Obama Rooster, but he doesn't call on demand, and , because of his past trauma, he isn't too easy live with.
You will remember that he was one of the half dozen chickens who followed Moby Dot , after a couple of deadly weasel raids on the chicken house, leaving to stay outside from then on, roosting nights on the deck rail of Davey's house.
With his low exposure, beret type comb, Albert weathered the winter well compared to the others who had their combs dubbed by frostbite, but he was the lowest in status in that group, which means he roosted on the outside, closest to the steps, so it was him that the neighbor's hound picked off the rail very early one morning a year and a half ago.
We had given Albert up for a gonner, but he came back the next day, minus his tail feathers, silent. He was lucky that this was a well bred bird dog with what they call a soft mouth" .....who by nature does not maul the bird, and retrieves it without puncturing the skin with his teeth.
Albert went under the house and didn't come out for six months.

When he finally did emerge, the other roosters would chase him off, or he was on the hens like a dog on a chipmunk.
He has gradually become more accustomed to the hens, if not what you could call courtly, and evading the other roosters has become a little easier, since this winter Dot and his side kicks have decided to move back into the chicken house, and don't even come out if it is much below twenty degrees.
Albert is plenty strange yet, and though he has a comfortable resort in the crawl space and is far from a gentleman companion yet, I have allowed him to move into the Ark and integrate with the hens Olive and Jenny whom I had taken in after they were injured by the roosters.

This was mighty kind of me. So for the moment anyway, I have moved out of the Ark and into the main chicken house with the other hens, plus Dot, Lefty, and Whitey.
That is fine for now....I even have more room there, but I don't know what I'll do about Albert when I move on with the Ark.

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