Thursday, July 29, 2010

To All the Chickens in the World

I like chickens. They make the nicest noises as you move among them and they tend to their business with such industry. When given the space they need, they're tidy and pretty to look at. It's fun to just watch them taking care of all their chicken business.

The chicks we're raising into a new batch of laying hens are particularly funny to us right now. They are able to get out of the fence, and they do. When we're sitting at the table, we can see them moving around in the back field. And they move mostly as a unit. One of them will have her idea for the day and take off running, and all the rest suddenly follow. It looks like they're on maneuvers. There will be a wave of chicks moving swiftly from the edge of the field to the coop then suddenly back to the trees. Or when we go out to feed them, they are finally learning that our arrival usually is for good tidings. They will come running to us, then suddenly remember they're still quite afraid of us and run away again. One or two roosters follow us pretty steadily as we do our chores until we look at them.

The meat birds seem sadly dumb at the moment. I remember thinking this of the other chicks so there is some hope they will have some personality. Meat birds, even the slower growing ones, hit a point at which their feathers cannot quite keep up with their body growth. Ours are at that point and look bald in certain areas. They are most definitely in an ugly stage. And, even though we have them on grass and move them along, they smell. Animals that eat and drink that much just make a lot of waste, and that waste has an odor. Still- I'm happy to see them growing so well.

Finally, our older hens are looking better. They are getting feathers where they had been pecked out. They are definitely happy to see us and hope for treats. We have different favorites, but no one likes the Buff Orpingtons; those two are too nasty to the other hens. One poor little hen gets her head pecked so often she's a bit bald. They have so much room, that the Buffs must have hunt her down to do their evil deeds.

But still, I like chickens.

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