Larry, a White Crested Polish rooster, who may be smarter than he looks has landed on the side of love and luck in the conundrum I presented in the Nov. 16 blog post. (Scroll down blog to see it.) Larry lives with other chickens out in the Florida scrub at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ house in Cross Creek where he and his friends hang out and provide period ambiance for the farmhouse where the famous author wrote The Yearling, a coming-of-age story that won a Pulitzer in 1939. The book drops and rises in popularity depending upon the importance of Americana in literary circles, but the house itself is a peaceful destination for many Florida travelers.
Entrance to the farmhouse
Lessons learned from Larry (including a corny love for alliteration) include resilience and compassion, but the overriding theme is the supremacy of nature. Rawlings’ books and short stories detail the fight that her poor white neighbors put up against weather, heat, predators and other people.
Here’s an overview of Larry’s problems and eventual rise:
- What was Larry doing at Cross Creek? Usually there’s one Alpha rooster in a flock and lots of females to keep the edgy bird satisfied. Larry, was a random inclusion is an order of female chicks from a local feed and seed store. It seems to be more than chance: Larry is a White Crested Polish rooster. That means he is not white, not Polish and has a distinctive crest of feathers around his head that means he is different visually from all the other chickens at the farm. Plus he’s male which means that his trouble started when he let out a random cock-a-doodle do as dictated by nature and the equivalent of a chicken Y chromosome.
- RETRACTION: In a earlier post, I referred to Larry as a Polish Frizzle Head. I was wrong although a Frizzle Head looks a lot like a crested chicken. Just saying.
- Where did his injuries originate? Slick, the designated rooster for the yard, heard that crow and heard not the plaintive cry of an adolescent flying his gender identity flag high but the war cry of a rival. In less Rawlings-like writing, Slick jumped on Larry in cock fighting style and wounded Larry. Slick and Larry are always separated now: When Larry is out, Slick is in his pen.Here is Slick in his pen.
- Here is Larry last November. He didn’t put up much of a fight.
- How long did it take for Larry to recover? At least six months. Donna fed Larry watermelon and yogurt for that long and used chickens’ aversion to water to force him to bicycle his little legs in a pail to strengthen them. She preened (cleaned him up) and generally took care of him.”They were so nice here (the volunteers at the house). There was talk of putting him out of his misery, but they let me work with him,” she said.
- Where to from here? Larry walks funny and, according to Donna, is interested in the ladies, but the ladies aren’t interested in him. “He’s a bit awkward,” she added. Donna adopted two hens, Greta and Marilyn, named after movie stars. Although she lives “on the creek” where gators can be a problem, she believes that the quality of life for free range chickens balances out the danger of a (possibly) shorter life. There are some other great chicken rescue stories on the web–my favorite involves a cleavage, a chick named Uno and a disease called wry neck. Details and other interesting info can be found on http://www.communitychickens.com/Another photo of Donna in her element at the Rawlings farm in Cross Creek.