Image: Phoenix in Caraz
Image: Phoenix in Caraz

Chicken Farm in our Andean Sanctuary

Settling in our new Place in Callejon de Huaylas

Several months spent in the Peruvian Andes ended up being a remarkable experience. Upon recovery from the mountain sickness, adjusting to the altitude and climate, and getting over the awe of the glacier-covered Huascaran, Hyandoy, Alpa Mayo, and the entire Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash, we finally settled in our rental home in Caraz.

Cordilliera Huayhuash treck

Our fully enclosed paved courtyard provided safety and privacy to us and our animals. We purchased barnyard mixed hens at the local market. Our happy flock had fluffy crests on their heads, curly feathers, and long tufts on their thighs. They looked and acted like bunch of unkempt hoodlums.

Image: chickens in the Andes

One of our chickens had especially large crest.

Image: Phoenix chicken montage

The hen grew fast similar to the rest of the flock. She behaved as normal as it could possibly be. Nothing was extraordinary about her except for the giant crest. The other pullets had smaller crests.

Image: curly-winged tufted Andean pullet
Curly-winged tufted Andean pullet

We started noticing with time that this crested pullet didn’t participate in the competition for food at the times of feeding. While the other chickens ravenously filled their crops, this one picked her seeds at a slower pace. She did have a good appetite and ate readily, just not as fast as the rest of the flock.

Image: Phoenix in the courtyard
Chicken in the courtyard

We Discovered Phoenix

One day, we were barbecuing in our back yard. As expected, the chickens were running around us, stealing human food, and acting normally. Then, suddenly, we observed our black crested chicken marching straight into the glowing coals of our fire pit. Afterwards, she immediately flew out of the fireplace and continued walking around as if nothing happened.

As soon as this happened, we realized at that moment that the chicken was blind. The fireplace had meat grilling with all the fats dripping onto the coals. The chicken became attracted to the smell and walked in searching for food. The scene of this chicken literally raising from the ashes, naturally produced the name for this blind creature, – Phoenix.

Image: blind chicken
Famous line from “Quigley Down Under” when he was traveling in the Australian desert with Crazy Cora.

We leaned later that our Phoenix had a large tumor on top of her brain. The tumor pushed out and enlarged the crest.


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