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.
After a night so long it almost forgot to end, we caught some sleep, grabbed a snack and headed on our well-worn track to the barn.
There was no doubt that Berlin’s world was crumbling the day he and his three buddies were surrendered into our care.
With a haunting sadness in their eyes, Gracelyn and Elvira entered our world. And we theirs, as they searched their newfound digs for somewhere to land their gaze.
Lost in a world far, far bigger than himself was little Bahama. But then kindness found him.
Little Kokomo may have been down on his luck the day he was born, finding himself way down in a pile of mirky mud.
Words could not convey our shock when we went to our carpark to collect the little lamb we would soon name Bermuda, who was surrendered into our care after having been found the day before.
More than likely destined for backyard slaughter, the young Cedric ran for his life. And did so for several days in the off-leash dog park to which he had retreated.
Friend or freezer? Without even meeting the colourful chap we have named Tom Cruise, we knew the only role he should ever fill was the first.
At just one day old, teeny tiny Trapper John was diminutive in size yet formidable in impact, and everybody was talking about him.