Friday, April 15, 2005

Thomas and Petronia

Thomas and Petronia, you might recall, are the resident chickens at Bahama Market where the Coffee Plantation is located. Petronia recently had a brood of chicks. I think that the chicks are still nesting, although she has taken them out for a walk at least once. This morning, there is an intruder in their space, a rooster from "out-of-town", or at least from "out-of-Bahama Market". The new guy, a magnificent rooster, is bigger than Thomas, and he's clearly trying to attract Petronia's attention, strutting back and forth and crowing loudly. The two of them pretend to ignore him. If he hangs around much longer, we're going to have to give him a name. In fact, let's just call him Stranger and get it over with .

Thomas and Petronia retreated to the shrubs near the edge of the courtyard, behind the picnic table, where Thomas began to squawk loudly and rhythmically for almost a full minute. It sounded like a call of intimidation to me, but I don't talk chicken very well. It might have been alarm, or something else entirely.

Now they are all gone away somewhere. I can hear roosters crowing in the distance, but it could be any of the dozens of roosters who live in this area. I took a walk around the market property, looking for the chicks. If they're still here, they're pretty well hidden.

Ann, from South Africa, who operates the hat and gift shop next door, called me one day early in the week about a hatchling who was being pecked at furiously by its mother -- or perhaps it was a hen who was not really this chick's mother; the color was different from her other chicks. I went over on my bicycle, collected the baby, and brought it to the Chicken Store. Katha cleaned it up from some dried embryonic goo that remained in its eyes and ears, then put it in with the other orphans in their enclosure inside the door of the Chicken Lounge. I called there just now. Kate told me that the chick is in the brooder -- he's still only a few days old -- and seems to be doing well.

I asked Janet to get me a Special Agent sticker for Ann. She earned it.

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