I am excessively partial to poultry, creatures of distinct personality and delicate sensibility. Which is why the barn housing fowl and rabbits at the Lucas County Fair is so appealing.
There's a degree of optimism here not present in other livestock containment areas, too often points of transition between barnyard and a Hy-Vee meat case.
But here, long careers as free-range layers may be in the future and it seems possible at least that the cage of mallards might be opened and its occupants released to roam.
The spiffy white Leghorns (top) won my congeniality award. They were lively, engaged and occasionally burst spontaneously into song. Did you know Leghorns are of Italian descent, first brought to the United States from Tuscany in 1828? Perhaps nationality has something to do with it.
But this magnificent Buff Orpington (above) was without doubt queen of the show. Although her male counterpart (below) was a handsome devil, he seemed standoffish, somewhat patronizing. That may have been just British reserve. Orpingtons are English, you know.
His counterpart, on the other hand, was friendly, alert and hummed to herself while assessing carefully the humans sent to amuse her.
The birds share their barn with rabbits and sadly there were more bunnies than chickens this year. I find rabbits menacing, including this guy --- although to be fair both of us had been badly startled when two cars collided with a Bang! just outside the barn door.