I thought it would be impossible to be entertained by chickens. I mean, what do they do anyway? They eat, poop, sleep and lay eggs. Hooray. The business gal in me saw an instant return for her money and maybe a bit of profit too. But entertainment? How?
Well, I never thought I’d be saying this, but some nights you’ll catch me sitting in a lawn chair, sipping on a beer and watching my hens for hours on end. You’ll hear me talking to them and listening for them to talk back to me. The Leghorns follow me around to tell me about the happenings since I’ve been away. The Reds think I’m trying to infiltrate the pecking order and immediately let the smaller girls know who’s next in line. And the rest come up to me to tell me about their wants and needs.
They are as curious about me as I am about them.
They know I bring the food, but this one thinks I’m here to take it too. ‘Back off lady! And why are you taking pictures again?’
The pecking order is fascinating. The Reds and the Leghorns eat first and when the others try, they get chased away. They get a nibble in here and there, but for the most part, they have to wait their turn. When the first 5 ladies are good and full, the second 3 can finally go for it.
At first, the Reds were a bit too aggressive (especially toward my Ameraucana, she’s very gentle) and so I took the advice of the experts (books, blogs) and made myself the top dog. I did this by stepping into the run each time they went overboard and then I stood between the bullies and the victims. Sometimes I acted as if I wanted to catch them causing them to run under the coop and stay there for a while. The others began to realize I was only after the Reds and so they quickly stopped paying attention to the ruckus. Once the others were finished, the Reds could come out and eat. Easy. I did this about 5 times until they got it – no mo’ bullying or we’ll get chased! They still want the little ones to wait, but they’re much nicer about it now. Another suggestion was to give them a time-out by isolating the bullies in an area where the others can see them. The blogger says to do it each time they get too aggressive and after only 3 or 4 times the problem is usually solved.
The girls get a mid-afternoon snack and are very grateful for it.
This is Sweetie Pie. Yes, I named her. She’s the only one that has a name (so far) because she is just that. She’s the first to start laying eggs, she follows me around to tell me everything, and she wants me to follow her to show me stuff – like when she stands by the ramp after laying an egg and begs me to come inside and take a look. Now that’s a sweetie pie!
I’m working on adding more pics and expanding this post. Check back soon!