Tag / Oyster Cracker

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Sweet Dreams

I was worried about the first night for the three new girls.  During the day, the pecking was minimal but when night time came around, would they go up into the coop at night?  Would my old flock allow it?  So as dusk grew near, I kept checking.  Finally they went into the coop.  I did not see anyone in the yard, but I had to be sure.

Outside I went.  As I walked over to the coop, I saw that everyone was up inside.  However, I wanted to get a bit closer of a look.  I climbed into the run and peered into the little half moon door.  Those chickens never cease to amaze me.

From all the horror stories about flock integration on the internet, I was sure that at best I would find my original flock sleeping in the nesting boxes and expect to find the 3 new girls in the opposite corner on the roost.  Instead, I discovered a situation that even I would never have imagined.  Inside mid-coop was Oyster Cracker.  She was pacing back and forth, much like a soldier guarding a castle.  As you know from my previous posts, before we knew that Chocolate was a rooster, she was taking on the role of guard chicken.  Now, she was showing me that she still was a guard chicken.  She was pacing and growling.  So funny.  I instantly thought that she was keeping both flock separate.  I looked in the corner closest to me expecting to find the new girls but they weren’t there.  I glanced over to the nesting boxes.  I found all of the chickens old and new mixed and huddled in the nesting boxes together!

I could not believe my eyes.  Was the integration going to be this easy?  Time will tell.  I think that Oyster Cracker was patrolling to be sure that no other new girl would enter the coop.  I promised her not anytime soon as we now have a full house.  I closed the door for the night, feeling confident, successful and incredibly joyous.  We are one step closer to a unified flock.  Even though they are different colors and breeds, they are all snuggled together despite their differences.  What a fabulous reminder of tolerance and acceptance from my girls especially during the holiday season!

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Do they understand me?

I really do believe so.  Before I had chickens, I wasn’t really sure how smart they were.  I thought that they were cute and all and had come to the conclusion that would be enough for me to start raising them.   All the girls seem smart.  Tilly knows her name.  When they are free ranging outside and I do not see them immediately, I just have to call her name and she comes out from where she is.  It is so adorable because as head hen, wherever Tilly goes, the others follow.  They all run to me so fast.  Sometimes giddy in fact.  But contrary to belief, they are not looking for food, they are sometimes just looking for love.

Yep,  my chickens love to be loved.  They each take their turns.  Depending on their personalities, some like to be held and snuggled like little babies and some just love a good stroking of their sides, back and underbellies.  You may even think that I am crazy, but I love the way they smell too.  They smell warm, sweet and comforting.  Next time you are with your girls, give them a smell.  I promise it will warm your heart.

The girls also recognize their favorite treats.  I can put many different ones inside of the run but they always like broccoli, grapes and strawberries the best.  At first, I thought that it was the red coloring of the strawberry that they were attracted to but the other treats proved me wrong.

The girls also can spot danger.  Oyster Cracker always serves as the lookout.  When she sees something out of the corner of her eye, she lets out almost a low growl of a dog.  The chickens stand perfectly still and stop whatever they are doing.  I can pick them up easily when they are doing this because they are just like lawn statues.

They have their own language.  I am trying to decode it but they all understand it.  Some of their favorite chicken lines express happiness, I found something, don’t do that to me, come here, follow me, where are you,  let’s snuggle.

I believe that some of these things are born into them and they just being chickens know how to do these things, but I truly do believe that they experience emotions, have a pretty high level of intelligence and have social rules and orders.