I love my backyard chickens, but they aren’t the brightest animals here at the urban farm. It doesn’t take long to figure this out once you observe your chooks for a while.
I have a couple of clever ones who often amaze me, and I have discovered something unusual. Let me tell you more.
There is BlackTail, who is quite apt at parkour. Every morning she jumps up on the chicken nipple pipe, scampers sideways to the end, then jumps onto the edge of the garden bed that I installed as a dust bath. Then she jumps down, then back up onto the pipe and repeats that until I open the door to the chook house whereby she is always the first out the door.
I don’t know many times I have seen this, but she jumps over the top of all the other chooks who are rushing for the door and gets to the handful of food that I scatter on the ground first every single time. Survival of the fittest I suppose as I don’t think she is very far up the pecking order.
Then there is Edwina, an ISA Brown, who lives in the smaller hen-house at the front of Cluckingham Palace with her chooky friend Poppy the Pekin bantam. Her favourite kitchen scraps are carrot peels. She can’t get enough of them. Lucky for her that we like carrots with most meals. The other chooks don’t seem to like this treat, so she gets her pick. But that is not why I think she is clever. It is because she looks out for her friend Poppy.
She has been known to show Poppy where the best worms are when free ranging, and I believe that they are BFFs (Best Friends Forever). They are never far from each other and follow each other everywhere. Now don’t think that Edwina is higher on the pecking order of these two just because she is twice the size of Poppy. Far from it. Poppy is the boss one and she tells Edwina off any chance she can get. One of those bossy friends that everyone has, right? I can relate to that.
Now for the unusual. The rest of them probably do have antics that separates them from each other, but I just haven’t noticed it. However they do have some interesting habits that they do as a flock.
Whenever I walk past their run and into the shed, they create such a fuss. Whether it be early in the morning when I feed them, or any other time I go open the shed door, they run to the fence and press their little faces up against it. They do the same when they see Kim with kitchen scraps or some greens. If I throw a snail or cockroach over the fence, the first to get it gets chased by all the other just like the end of the Benny Hill Show. Around and around they go. I can even hear the music in my mind as I watch them.
So after much observation, I believe that I have finally figured out what they think of us. You see dear reader, I reckon that they have given chicken names to each of us here on the Suburban Food Farm.
Let me tell what I think they are. As I am the one who feeds them, my chicken name is Man with Seed. That is because whenever they see me, I have seed on me and give it to them.
As Kim gives them greens and kitchen scraps, she is known as Lady with Leaves, and because Ben collects the eggs, they call him Boy who steals eggs.
The dogs have chicken names as well. Holly, our furry Australian Terrier cross is known to them as Fur who Pokes. This is because every time Holly passes the chook house, she pushes against the wire and pokes Poppy off of her perch. Quite funny to watch.
Teddy, our white West Highland Terrier is known as Fur who Stares and Pees. Every time Teddy wanders past the chook house, he stares at the chooks, then pees on the chicken run fence. Hilarious to watch Teddy in action. Very predictable.
So there you go, those are our chicken names courtesy of the girls from Cluckingham Palace. Enough chicken talk for one day.
This is Man with Seed, signing off for the day. I have to get Fur who Pokes off my lap and help Lady with Leaves make dinner!
Love those chooks. What do you think your chickens have named you?