Pebbles started out at the farm with everyone thinking he was a she. He was a tiny bird when he came. You could hold him in the palm of your hand. Jenny and Doug had him up at her house for a while, to keep an eye on him. He’d sit on a stool by the counter and talk, a whole vocabulary of chirps and trills, some softer, some louder.
As he got bigger and started to crow — the first sign that “she” was a “he”—we introduced him to the main flock by placing him adjacent to the coop that housed the white birds.
On many summer days, staff would open the gate for the white birds so they could wander in the yard, look for bugs, dustbathe in the sun, and peck at grass.
Pebbles would stand at the gate and watch them and walk back and forth with anticipation. Everyone noticed it. Finally, the staff tried letting him out with the white birds and from that moment on, they were his flock.
At every mealtime, all the white birds peck away at the metal trays, and one tall, black and gold rooster alerts them about the food with rooster trills and calls. The white birds ignore him—they’re eating, no one has to tell them about food.
And every night, the group of white birds go into their coop with the one tall rooster who knew who his friends were and what his rightful place was and let everyone else know, too.