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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Meet Charlie the Chicken!

A couple of weeks ago, TJ and I were butchering our roosters; we had 23 that were ready for the freezer. TJ would randomly grab a rooster from the pen (the first one he could catch) and then we would go through the process. We finally got down to the last rooster, and this is what we found: this rooster has a horribly disfigured leg and foot. The chicken's left leg is bent outwards, and he walks on the back of the top of his left foot.

Notice the left leg bent out crooked

Close up view of the left foot

We don't know if it was a genetic defect, or if it was injured at some time by either the other chickens in the pen or injured one day when we moved their pen (we move their pen daily to provide them fresh pasture). In any event, as we got to this last rooster, it got away from TJ and we spent over an hour trying to chase him down (we had others that had gotten loose as TJ was randomly pulling them from the pen, but he was always able to quickly recapture them). In this case though, it took all of us to track him down and finally catch him.

One thing that I deduced through this adventure is that this chicken single-handedly (or should I say single-legedly?) dispelled the "survival of the fittest." For he was the last chicken that TJ could catch in the pen: he was able to avoid capture longer than his able-legged brothers against TJ's random removal. Additionally, when he got away from TJ, he was able to out-run TJ and I and was able to survive where the others could not. Clearly, with his disfigured leg he was certainly not "the fittest." But again, he was able to survive where his brothers could not. And certainly not even the most ardent Darwinist could claim that this was a beneficial mutation, for other chickens certainly by now would have acquired this trait if it was beneficial to their survival.

Since this chicken completely shattered the "survival of the fittest" theory, I have thus dubbed him "Charlie the Chicken" in dubious honor of Charles Darwin. After we had spent all that time in chasing him, I also decided to grant Charlie the Chicken a stay of execution, and so Charlie the Chicken lives on in his pen on the Hagen Homestead.

~Posted by Mr. Larry