Birthday Blackcock

The new bird. He’s not perfect, but who is?

Today marks a major milestone in the Working for Grouse story – not only is it my 27th birthday, but I have come into possession of a new bird.

As of last night, I am now the extremely proud owner of a hand-reared blackcock. A friend in Cheshire breeds black grouse, and I have been saving up to get some breeding stock from him since last year. Last week, I had an email from him to say that one of his year-old blackcock had unexpectedly gone blind and was no further use to him. The bird was still eating and drinking, doing fine in every way other than the obvious sightlessness.

I am extremely keen to try keeping and breeding black grouse in captivity, and with this year’s poults still too young to be sold, a spare blackcock to teach me the basics seemed too good an opportunity to miss. Now I know it will be the opinion of almost everyone who visits this blog that a blind black grouse is as much use as a chocolate kettle, and while I agree that this bird will probably never come to much, it was too tempting to go by.

He went blind after a serious bump to the head, so it’s not as if the problem is genetic or related to illness. He’s just blind, and while he’s not looking his best at the moment, I can be certain that I’ll get more pleasure from watching him than vice versa.

What is even more exciting is that he won’t be alone for long

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