Beryl is a tiny pullet. Her lineage is somewhat hazy. Roger the Lodger was a distant relative - we think! (Roger was a fine Black and Tan Cockerel that was left at Wattlebury for Dad to discover one morning many summers ago). She most definitely has a lot of Frizzle blood in her veins and somewhere along the line is a bit of Sulmtaler, because she has a Notoclinus Stickyupus. No matter - Beryl is a very sweet, kind little creature. But in all fairness I think it would not be fallacious to describe Beryl as bald. Now some Frizzles are smooth and some are frizzled. Some, like Beryl, are over-frizzled. According to Harvest the Duck's Chicken Compendium:
'The gene for the curling of the feathers is incompletely dominant over normal plumage; not all members of the breed display the desired frizzling. Frizzled birds are heterozygous for the gene; when two are bred, the offspring inherit the gene in the usual Mendelian 1:2:1 ratio: 50% are heterozygous and frizzled like the parents, 25% have normal feathering, and 25% are "over-frizzled", with brittle feathers resembling pipe-cleaners'
Beryl has pipe-cleaners. There is no doubt about that.
So Mum took Beryl under her wing yesterday and had words with her.
"Beryl" she said. "You are to come home to Wattlebury Cottage for a few days and rest in the Special Cage Unit. Just until your quills have recovered."
Well - you should have heard Beryl protest! She opened her dainty beak and out came the most enormous and ear-splitting string of maledictions that the Farm has ever been privy to.
It did no good at all, of course. Mum swiftly popped Beryl into a box and headed away with her. Beryl laid an egg immediately. If all that protestation hadn't helped, perhaps an egg may.
"You're not getting round me that way, Beryl!" Mum chickled as she put magic powder on Beryl's sore arms and back.
And if like me you weren't sure about the 1:2:1 thingy - it was all down to a chap named Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk who founded the modern science of genetics and the laws of inheritance. Between 1856 and 1863, he cultivated and tested some 5,000 pea plants that he had planted in the backyard of the church. Now I am not comparing Beryl's ancestory to a pea of course - far from it. Peasful is the last thing that Beryl was! Gordon xxx