Discovering the North American Cockatrice
A few months ago Indigo Lee made a trip to a tiny farm in the middle of Utah. A very strange animal was apprehended terrorizing livestock and the farmer knew at once it required…special…assistance. When Indigo laid eyes upon the offending animal, she knew at once it must be a member of the cockatrice family, although a smaller, more docile breed than those she encountered on her European Travels. A little digging led Indy to a breeder specializing in exotic pheasants. A quick inquiry later the breeder took her to a spacious shed at the back of the property containing a cockatrice hatchery. From the hatchery Indigo managed to obtain a handful of cockatrice eggs, some of which have since hatched and found loving homes.
I’m excited to announce thanks to Indigo’s wonderful bargaining abilities, we will soon be receiving our first breeding pairs of Adult North American Cockatrices! With a little training, we hope to be able to place both adult and baby Cockatrices in loving homes with experienced creature keepers. In anticipation of the event, I wish to release the following field notes Indigo sent me regarding the North American Cockatrice:
"The North American Cockatrice appears to be the smaller relative of the fierce, dragon-like European breed. Both breeds are covered in a mixture of scales and feathers with formidable beaks and talons. As far as attitude goes, the similarities end there. I found the behavior of the North American to be remarkably chicken-like, although their eyes hold an intelligence one wouldn’t expect from poultry. Their long legs allow them to run for long distances and they use their finger-like wings as clumsy hands. I may have laughed out loud watching one attempt to pick up a shiny rock...
I was initially hesitant to engage with the adult Cockatrices. My interactions with the Euro variety led me to think of adults as aggressive with the added quirk spitting scalding venom whenever they are upset. However, the breeder reassured me her charges were very friendly. Fortunately for my skin (which is unsuprisingly susceptible to acid burns), the breeders statement turned out to be true. Compared to the Euro breed, the North American cockatrice is highly domesticated. Chicks hand-raised from birth grow up to be extremely fond of human interaction. I particularly noticed the males of the breed to be much more pushy and demanding of attention than the females. This turned out to be a bit of a problem, as they also sported large, pointed horns. When I voiced this opinion, the breeder, quickly corrected me, pointing out that the birds with small, stubby horns were the males. I should have known better than to make assumptions!
The breeder I worked with already developed several distinct colorations from her studs including a dusty rose and a brilliant silver. She was very enthusiastic to learn I had an interest in working with color mutations. The magical nature of cockatrices makes it easy to breed new colors, far more so than most terrestrial bird species. With her blessing, I purchased a clutch of fertilized eggs and two breeding pairs of adults. I sent the eggs ahead to you, Stefani. Maybe this time you can make sure you read the FRAGILE label and not crush the eggs while opening the box like you did with the ones from that rare Basilisk. The four breeding birds are going to travel with me by car back to the Menagerie. I have a several stops to make along the way, but if all goes well we should arrive in a few weeks time. I wonder if the eggs will have hatched before then?"
Take care, see you before long!