Wednesday, April 16, 2008
There's something about Dot
This is a post about my girl, Dot.
Dot. Dotty, The Dotster, she is my 6-week-old White-Crested Black Polish chick.
While my other eleven chicks have become tame, friendly and interact with me, Dot has remained aloof, and, well, seemingly a bit...challenged. Her best friend is the wall. Any wall. She can, and will, stand facing a wall for extended periods of time. If given a choice between my hand, holding tasty treats, or the wall, she will choose the wall every time. I try not to take it personally and choose, instead, to believe she is perhaps merely shy. But I do worry frequently that there's something not quite right about her.
Often, for no apparent reason, Dot will suddenly cease her wall-staring and run, in a rather twitchy fashion, all around the brooder box, jumping over, bumping into, and careening around her fellow box-mates, only to come to a halt...facing another wall.
I feel sorry for the poor thing - she's definitely the odd girl out, yet she is as capable as the rest of my chicks. If she wants to, she can fly to the edge of the brooder box and perch. If the urge strikes her, she can run over, shove her way in between the others, and peck -quite hard, I might add - at my hand holding some whole grain oatmeal. But mostly, she doesn't want to and the urge doesn't strike. I guess she isn't limited, she's just different.
If I put myself in Dot's feathers, I can only imagine the pressure a chick like her must feel. The poor dear is growing an head of feathers resembling Albert Einstein's hair on a bad day. And imagine being the chick that all the visitors to the chick room laugh and point at. Consider for a moment what it's like to have protrusions growing from your head that all the other, cooler chicks want to peck and poke at.
It's not easy being Dot. But I think she's an amazing chicken. Her quirky personality adds a great deal to the overall flock ambiance. I would miss her if she weren't here. I hope she learns to become more comfortable in her own skin. I really hope she'll consider liking me. We could have a lot of fun.
Poking around on the Internet, as I like to do, I've found positives and negatives about Dot's breed.
A positive spin:
"It's rumored that the Polish crest requires extra care and maintenance and can obscure this chicken’s ability to see, however Polish kept in backyard conditions with just a few other coopmates and a secure roosting house tend to do fine. In severely muddy conditions the crest may need washing or drying.
Polish are a friendly breed suitable as pets and bred mostly for their stunning ornamentation."
A negative spin:
"Their large crests are against them, hindering their vision and causing them to become listless, inactive, and suspicious in their natures. Extra care must be given them to be fairly successful in raising them, and their houses and coops must be kept absolutely dry - the least water in their crests is likely to result fatally to them."
I'll let you know how it works out.