January 26th, 2010
|11:25 am - A boy and his chickens|
It was very damp and windy and consequently uncomfortable yesterday in the chicken coops. At one point when I went out to check for eggs, I thought that we were missing a hen. Upon further investigation, I found Lucy, one of our Barred Cornish Rocks, cuddling with Pineapple, one of the bantam Wheatens.
You can just see some of Pineapples's feather peeking out from under Lucy's wing. Both, incidentally, were laying an egg, which explains why Pineapple didn't get up and kick Lucy's ass. Normally, the banties are higher on the pecking order than the Rocks - occasionally Lucy or Ethel will step on one of them, and a righteous ass-kicking ensues. Usually, the bantam jumps up on the offender's back and proceeds to peck them in the head until they submit.
Now all of the hens have laid at least one egg. The Refugee Chickens, Stella and Sparkly, are only laying very occasionally, but everyone else seems be pretty regular, and we're getting 5-6 eggs a day. Soon, we'll have to start providing them to other people - as the weather warms up and the days get longer, they will lay with greater frequency.
I was watching the Dirty Jobs where Mike Rowe joins the Chicken Busters in Miami, and thought of you. Some were very pretty chickens, just running wild. Apparently they only catch 30% of the feral chickens.
|Date:||January 26th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)|| |
|Date:||January 26th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)|| |
That's wild. Now I have this odd image of chicken gangs prowling the streets of Miami.
Someone a couple blocks over from us had a chicken--it was large and goldenish. I saw it a couple of times, hanging out on their lawn. It had to have been a pet chicken because MN winters are cold enough that a feral chicken probably wouldn't have survived.
Nah. Chickens are OK in the open to 20 below or so...there are folks in Canada who free-range them all year long. The only thing they absolutely need is shelter from the wind and damp. A nice nest of long grass or straw keeps them pretty warm. Oh, a high-calorie, fatty diet helps, too. You know, like from fast-food dumpsters.
That said, chickens are emphatically close to the bottom of most local food chains. Especially in a place like MN, is was almost certainly a pet - too many predators around for a feral to survive in your area.
Yeah, because it's tough to send the pets to freezer camp...
OTOH, it's a little surprising, because chickens are a prey animal for so very many urban predators - feral cats, dogs, racoons, and so on. I guess the ones smart enough to survive are smart enough to evade capture.
Did you ever figure out where the Refugee Chickens came from?
Nope. Not a clue. Nobody around here cops to them.
I love watching birds interact. When we had an indoor finch aviary it was like a soap opera. Some of my hens were cheating with other cocks and I couldn't get the desired offspring colors because the genetics were being cheated. Kinda miss watching them but not the clean up.