Top 10 Things I've Learned From My Chickens
Our girls, the chookas, have taught us:
10. They don't like any kind of rodents, especially mice, and they're fast enough to catch them. Grabbing them with their beaks and slamming the mouse into the ground multiple times until they're dead is how they handle them. Oh, and then they eat them.
9. They like attention. Of course it's on their terms. Some will crouch down nearly to the ground, bowing their backs if they don't like it. They'd rather be petted on the side.
8. I now understand the term, "Don't get your feathers ruffled!"...Cause it came from chickens. If I do #9 and they're not happy, well ruffled feathers and complaining is what I get. It's hysterical to watch.
7. Be careful what you wear when you go visit them in their yard and coop. They're fascinated with shoe strings, shiny buttons and holes. Oh, and add just about anything that stands out. If they come up to you and their eyes become fixed and trance-like on something you're wearing, you're fixin' to get it pecked or pulled. Again, it's funny to watch them do this. Well, that is if you're well protected.
6. As with #7, don't make the mistake and enter their yard with shorts on. Even the slightest freckle fascinates them and deserves a peck. My son learned that one the hard way even though the rest of us laughed.
5. I've learned to pet them with my hand that doesn't have a ring on it. Shiny things deserve to be pecked and pulled. It hasn't hurt but it sure puts them in a trance when they notice it on my hand.
4. Laying an egg brings on a big celebration. Screams and calls go round the chicken yard when one is laid. The one who lays it is as proud as a new father passing out cigars. We have a few others who like to spread the news when others lay also. Goldie is our biggest cheerleader of the bunch.
3. Live grasshoppers are the best thing ever to watch them scramble to catch. We purposely throw them in their yard for the entertainment. One grabs the hopper and the rest chase the one who has it. It kind of reminds me of football. They will run back and forth several times with a crowd following. Sometimes another chicken will snatch it away if it can. Then comes the killing. Just like with mice, it slams the grasshopper into the ground several times to kill it before it will eat it. Fun times....
2. Chickens will eat nearly anything. We feed them weeds, table scraps, things from the garden etc. They are composting machines! Oh, and they love spicy fire ants for a snack too, yeah!
1. Chickens are just plain fun. I walk into the yard and up on their roost they hop to see me. They like the attention. With their floppy comb, jerky head movements and fascination with whatever you have makes me smile. I would advise though, not to be eye to eye with a chicken without a barrier. Remember their obsession with shiny things...well eyes are just that. I've not had mine pecked, but I know there is potential for that. Again fun times if you come out with both eyes...
Our Benny is somewhere amongst the sea of brown hens. Every once in a while, she remembers when she used to hop up on my lap and wanted to be petted. She then comes running and circling around my legs enjoying a bit of attention like she used to get. It doesn't last long, sadly, before she again blends back into the crowd.
After having chickens, I think everyone should have a couple. Cheap entertainment, amazing composters and eggs ta' boot. It's worth it I say!