Excerpts by Henry Lane Hull

Our family continues to expand. Knowing that we had been rooster-less for the past two years since our wonderful Dominecker, Spot, fell victim to a fox, several weeks ago the Tignor sisters, KC and Kelli, kindly gave us Clarence—a magnificent specimen from their flock.

I went to get him at their farm, a bucolic menagerie of fowl, vegetables and flowers. I brought him home in their large crate, a portable Intensive Cage Unit (ICU), and kept him in it for two days with food and water to get him acclimatized to his new home. 

The acclimatization went well, and probably was unnecessary given that I had placed the ICU next to the coop where our hens reside. He is a happy addition to the brood, strutting around the back pen, apparently grateful for his daily ration of food—but at six months still learning more each day.

Early this week, I took three pieces of bread out to the coop and gave two to the hens and one to Clarence. The hens pounced on it, tore it apart with such ferocity that even Gladys, our goose, could not get to it, but Clarence stood by, looking at his piece, as if to ask me what it was.

Whereas Spot, being a Dominecker, was a gentle individual, I think Clarence is going to be more assertive. Spot’s downfall had been his personality. He lived with our nanny goat and was somewhat phlegmatic in his reactions. His personality resembled that of the title character in the movie, “Babe,” who was a sweet, caring little pig.

I surmise that when the fox came up to him, he might have said something to the effect of, “Hi! I’m Spot,” to which the fox probably replied, “No, you’re dinner.” We have taken precautions to preclude that scenario from happening again. I still consider Spot to have been one of the most refined and highly cultured roosters I ever have known.

Speaking of Gladys, earlier this year the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of stamps entitled, Heritage Breeds. Twice on the page is a Cotton Patch goose, who is the image of Gladys. The resemblance is astounding. I almost thought she had posed for the picture. She continues to consider herself the queen bee of the menagerie, even when outnumbered by the hens, as in the case of the bread distribution. I am not sure what she thinks of Clarence joining the assemblage.  She is such a difficult individual to please, at times causing me great frustration.

Getting back to Clarence, each morning, and periodically during the day, his mellifluous crowing, worthy of an operatic rendition at The Met, floats across the landscape. Spot rarely crowed, but Clarence is an early riser, and likes to let the world know his day has begun. He declines to use the nice roost we have for him, preferring to alight for the evening on the lid of an old trashcan. Long ago and many fowl ago, I learned not to try to get a grasp on fowl mentality, but rather to go with the flow, leaving them along to make their own paths through life.

I am hopeful that Clarence’s arrival might lead to the arrival of some baby chicks. As occurs each year in late summer, Esmerelda, one of the hens, has begun trying to set on some eggs. She desperately craves motherhood, which sadly has been an impossibility since the passing of Spot.  Her willingness to do her part in perpetuating the brood was a prime factor in our decision to get Clarence. 

His adjustment to his new home and ours to him have gone smoothly. I look forward to it morphing into a relationship akin to that which I had with Spot. I also am anxious for grandchicks.