Friday, 13 July 2012

Crazy Chicks

Our little Poland and Appenzeller chicks are now 2 weeks old and are growing fast. They are living in a coop on our patio at home. It is completely fascinating to watch India the mother hen teaching the chicks what to eat and what to drink. When she spies a seagull or other large bird in the sky she issues a short, sharp cry which results in the scattered chicks immediately running for cover under my planters. Once she gives the all-clear the chicks come out again looking for goodies in my flower beds. The term "mother hen" is really appropriate. They are mothers in the highest degree and they have never been taught, they just know instinctively what to do.

Today I had a real giggle. India had found them a worm, a huge one, at least twice the size of the chicks and as thick as a pencil. One chick would grab it in the centre, and with the ends dragging on the ground like some weird moustache, it would run off, frantically chased by the others. Another would ambush the first chick, grab the worm and run off in the other direction, again followed by the others. Another time, two chicks would be having a tug of war at each end of the worm. This rapid game of worm tag went on for a full 20 minutes with them all in full cheep mode. It was a real delight to watch. As small as they are, they pick up their adult behaviour very early on.  Once you start keeping chickens you realise just how clever they are. Not bird-brains at all.

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