What's that, it’s the chicken not the rooster... oh, but you know roosters lay eggs too don’t you, it’s not just chickens? And one thing you should know is that if a rooster does lay an egg then you’d be wise not to have it for breakfast, as it would most certainly be a bad egg… a really bad egg… the baddest of bad eggs… a dreaded Cockatrice!
A cockatrice is a mythical beast that has the head of a rooster, but with the body of a dragon, and yes, it hatches from a rooster’s egg; that's a rooster’s egg incubated by a toad - say whaaaaat!
Beware, this creature is highly dangerous - "the death-darting eye of Cockatrice” - just one look from it can kill you. And if their deathly stare doesn’t get you, just touching them or having them breath on you can do the trick; according to late-medieval bestiaries the only animal immune to the cockatrice’s death-stare is a weasel - good to know!
Don’t worry though, if you’re living ‘The Good Life’ and your demonic backyard rooster lays an egg, you can thwart the coming of a cockatrice by hurling the rooster egg over your house. If you’re too late and it hatches, you can also kill it by showing the beast its own reflection in a mirror.
I imagine you’re finding all this a bit hard to believe, and yes, you’re probably right, there “probably” isn’t such a thing as a cockatrice. Although many a sane chicken owner has been alarmed to find that their once believed to be rooster has laid an egg, so what’s happening here then? [here’s the science bit]
What’s occurring is a medical phenomenon that can happen to chickens who are experiencing a problem with their reproductive system - such as an ovary infection. This can cause an imbalance of hormones, which in turn can cause the hen to visibly morph into the appearance of a rooster, and she can even start to crow and act like one too.
If your trans-chicken recovers and her hormonal balance is resumed, she could well start laying eggs again whilst still in the guise of a rooster; hence a rooster seemingly laying an egg - and the possible birth of the cockatrice myth.
Please note, Daniel has firmly assured that all of his chickens will stay as they are, as chickens.
Images © Daniel Mackie
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Watercolour painting by Daniel Mackie Image © Daniel Mackie.
One of them has played James Bond, adding a ‘licence to pout’ to a ‘licence to kill’, another, armed with a paintbrush, gave a woman named Mona Lisa the most mysterious and talked about pout in the world, and one of them currently seems to find celebrity fame solely through pouting. But what does Daniel Craig, Leonardo da Vinci, and Kim Kardashian all have in common? They’re all cheeky monkeys, that’s what - well according to Chinese astrology they are anyway.
Tyrannosaurus Rex was named by Henry Fairfield Osborn, president of the American Museum of Natural History in 1905. He used greek, tyrannos, (meaning "tyrant") and sauros, (meaning "lizard"). and Latin, rex (meaning "king"). Translates as Tyrant Lizard the King!