The longer we have chickens, the more we are learning the origins of many tales and sayings that involve them, and it keeps things interesting around here!
Luke and I often get our workouts in just by running outside many times a day, when we hear squawking and carrying on from the chickens, to see if everything is OK. Most times it is. Cricket is a bit smarter, or lazier, than us, and doesn’t always get up from her nap to help. There was the time recently when we had a visit from the fox, so we must continue to be diligent. There was no doubt something was going on that time, as chickens were running, flying up, and making a total racket when the fox came near (everyone was fine and we scared it off). We are starting to wonder if we really needed to get the guinea hens for flock protection and early predator warning or not!
The chickens are pretty darn good at creating their own drama, that’s for sure. I now see the origin of the children’s tale of Chicken Little. If I remember correctly, that chicken went from here to there trying to convince everyone that the sky was falling when an acorn dropped on its head. Our feathery crew creates a commotion several times a day, and most times we never figure out what it’s about. We get lots of drills in though, for when something really happens. I think perhaps that other story should have been “The Chicken Who Cried Wolf”, not “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”!
Not only do the chickens seem to have their own early warning system, they also seem rather adept at keeping pests out of the yard. I’ve seen some rather grizzly scenes involving mice, moles, and even frogs. I heard them creating a racket one day, all gathered around the porch, and for the life of me I could not figure out what was going on. They finally calmed down, and next thing I knew I saw a chipmunk come running out from under the porch! I don’t think they’d kill anything that big, but they sure like to put up a fuss when one is around! I think they are afraid of it, and that there is a reason we’d call anyone who is afraid of something a “big chicken”.
Have you ever heard of “playing chicken”? That’s when someone has a stand-off to see who backs off first. I’ve seen the chickens do this – running at each other with chests stuck out, feathers on their heads fluffed out, and rising on their toes to get in each other’s faces. One of them always backs down, and that’s the end of that!
Then there is the drama around laying an egg. They carry on squawking before, during, and after! People call it the “egg song” but it’s more just a lot of cackling. I’ve also made many trips out to the coop checking for eggs all for nothing….it can go on for a while before an egg actually appears! The video below will show you a sample of that. (As you are listening, you can also hear the guinea hens in the background.)
We have possibly solved “Why did the chicken cross the road?”, even though there’s really no need of it. That one might tie in with “Curiosity Killed the Cat (Chicken?)”, because chickens are very nosy and they probably just need to know what’s over there. Ours have tried it a couple times, but it’s highly discouraged and there’s really no reason for them to cross the street, with all the land we have available to them.
One of our friends commented on one of my posts that we did solve “Which came first – the chicken or the egg?”, since we had chickens long before we had eggs! We have more hens laying now though – we’re up to five eggs/day (each chicken normally only lays one egg per day), and more of them are starting to show the signs that they are getting ready as well.
By the way, we hope to be letting the guinea keets out of the coop soon, and I can’t wait to see how much that raises the drama quotient around here! We thought the dogs were drama queens, but they are starting to be put to shame lately. On the other hand, when the chickens get noisy, the dogs sometimes react, so I think all the drama queens are just playing off each other at this point. Everyone gets some exercise, it’s all part of the fun, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!