Shades of Grey, Meet Earl
With his glistening red comb flopped outrageously over his eyes and his body ensconced by the most silky soft of feather boas, made of the real deal, Earl’s haute couture may not look out of step on the catwalk of Fashion Week or even the cover of Vogue.
That he soon will “go under the knife” may hint this is where he could belong, but there is nothing glamorous about dear Earl’s circumstance. For this gentle and unassuming lad is but one of eight of our rescued, once abandoned, Silkie rooster friends who bear the greatest hallmarks of indiscriminate breeding. For these roosters are all burdened with combs so large and cumbersome that their vision is reduced to a tiny line of sight snatched out partially from one eye, and often done so under a veil of feathers.
This too makes them somewhat frightened and naturally timid. Nature knows best.
Whilst Charles Darwin touted the evolutionary theory of “the most fitting”, clearly breeders of these hapless Silkie chickens failed to get this memo. For so unnatural are these birds who cannot see, they would not survive the rigours of everyday life in the world beyond a metal cage, and those outrageously flopped combs would then be bred out of existence.
Whilst hyaluronic-acid-rich rooster combs serve a natural purpose, vision impairment is not one of them. However, regulation of body temperature is: cue large combs in Mediterranean breeds.
For chickens do not sweat like we humans do, and combs help increase blood flow ‘outside’ the body, enabling the animal to cool. Combs, too, are an indication of good health, with full and vibrant coloured ones suggestive of this, and in doing so offering a virile attraction to potential mates.
Please be warned: hyaluronic acid obtained from rooster combs is a common ingredient in facial creams and “beauty” products.
Several years ago in France, the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, had to halt their breeding of roosters for large combs as the hapless animals were so burdened down, they could not even stand up.
Synthetic/human-made versions of hyaluronic acid exist and are increasingly popular as more and more people are choosing compassion over cruelty.
Delicate now will the surgery be to partially remove the combs of Earl and his buddies to ensure they can fully take in the wondrous new world and the humans who have now found them.
And so, if you want to help animals like Earl, please remember this, whilst some things in life are grey, our kindness for animals should never be.
Little did we know, on the first night we met Soldier, that the inky darkness of the sky above was to be foreboding of her fate. She, patiently waiting roadside with the humans who had come to her rescue after the vehicle collision that had rendered her immobile.
Whilst it is hard to define, it is easy to feel, just what makes Special special. For it takes but a moment with this happy-go-lucky little chap to intuit this.
With no need for a Coco Chanel creation or Gucci accessory, our Paris and Nicky Hilton are glamourous girls.
Having difficultly seeing his new world around him, at first Peaky Blinders would scoot away at the mere hint of our presence. But now not so.
Within metres of the road the tiny bird fluttered and flipped. At first thought to be a grey pigeon clipped by a fast-moving car.
As farmed animals, in the scheme of things, it never ends well for them. And every action thus far afforded this mother and child had fuelled their point of view.
There is little doubt Brunswick is a beautiful bird. His magnificent plumage captures the eye, whilst the brilliant radiance of his comb and wattles sets the heart a-flutter.
Around 4.40 pm on the 11th of January 2023, hope met the reality of our promise, as the last Silkie rooster was removed from the tiny wire prison that had been his home for heaven knows how long.
Just over a week on from that fateful day when the plight of hundreds upon hundreds of sweet Silkie chickens came under our radar. And so too our kindness.