My uncle was in the fertilized egg business when I was young. He had
several hundred young layers, called pullets, and 8 or 10 roosters whose
job was to fertilize the eggs.
My uncle kept records and any rooster or pullet that didn't perform went
into the pot and was replaced. Now this took an awful lot of time. So when
my uncle saw a set of eight tiny bells that each rang a different tone he
promptly bought them.
He glued a piece of foam rubber to each clapper shaft so the bell wouldn't
ring except when violently shaken. He hung a bell on each rooster's neck
and went and mixed a Mint Julep.
Now he could sit on the porch and sip while filling out an efficiency
report on the roosters by listening to the different tones of the bells and
marking down each encounter.
My uncle's favorite rooster was old Brewster. A very fine specimen he was
and his bell did not ring all morning. Uncle went to investigate. Several
roosters were chasing pullets, bells a-ringing. Brewster had his bell in
his beak so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and
walk on to the next one.
Uncle was so proud of Brewster he entered him in the county fair. Brewster
was an overnight sensation. They not only awarded him the No Bell prize but
also the Pullet Surprise.
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