Manifest Destiné

This year we ordered meat chickens on the internet. On McMurray Hatchery's website, when you check out, there is a box you can mark if you wish to receive a free "exotic breed" chick with your order. When Farmer Fin asked me, "Should I check the box?" I was like, "Hell yeah! Of course! Why not?" He picked them up at the post office one Thursday in early August and installed them in the brooder while I was at the day job. Even the meat chicks are cute at two days old, but you could tell that little exotic one was something special. For the first time it occurred to me that the free exotic chick might be a baby rooster. But I figured it was just as likely a hen, statistically speaking, right?

Little baby chicks
The meat birds we called Jimmy II (Electric Boogaloo). See last year's chicken post: http://cottonhillfarm.blogspot.com/2010/08/chicken-bird-or-chicken-meat.html for the story of the original Jimmy. But the exotic chick was no Jimmy. After a few weeks I decided it needed some kind of name, even if it was a rooster. 

"We need an exotic name," said Farmer Fin. "You know, like an exotic dancer."

"How about Fifi?" Fin shook his head. "Bambi? Sugartits? Destiny? With an i at the end instead of a y? How about that? No wait, not an i, an e, with an accent aigu. Destiné. Destinaaaaay." 

Fin consented. Even if it was a rooster. The name was fitting, after all, as this chick would surely be too small at eight weeks to meet the same fate as his broodermates.

We kept the chicks in the brooder for a bit longer than we wanted to because of Hurricane Irene. They were almost four weeks old when they got out on pasture. We felt bad for them, all packed together in the brooders, the meat birds growing at their usual alarming rate. Most of all, we pitied the little exotic chick crowded in with the savages. 

Destiné pretending to be a falcon 
When we took the meat birds to be processed last Thursday, we left Destiné in the pen. Later, I carried him down the hill and put him in Celeste's coop. Celeste, in case you don't know, is the name of an egg-laying collective of three red hens of a certain age. I figured since Celeste is pretty old and they have no beaks (they were trimmed poorly before we got them as pullets in '09), they wouldn't do too much damage to a new coopmate. Boy, was I wrong. Within seconds, the three hens had cornered poor little Destiné and were pecking the hell out of him with their beak stubs. The scene was surprisingly violent and disturbing. 

After I helped him escape, I pondered what to do with him. He had run off into some high grass by the garden, so there wasn't much I could do. I left him to his...well, you know. 

Flaunting his Freedom?

The next day he was cautiously stalking the periphery of the yard where our neighbor Justin was working on the timber frame. I tossed him some chicken feed. The next day he came even closer and ate some of the feed I threw for him. Two nights ago, he and Bird officially met when the dog came out to help me pull up the ramps in the coops. Destiné was drowsily roosting on the handle outside of Celeste's coop. Bird sniffed him enthusiastically, but the chick didn't move. During the day, Destiné doesn't let us get too close.
Handsome Bird

No one knows what will become of little Destiné. I don't know where he is going to live this winter, or if he will ever let me pet him. I'm not even sure what breed he is. Secretly I still sort of hope he is a hen, but Fin says he's too pretty to be a hen. Look at those tail feathers!

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