Tag / scratch

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Scratching and Work Ethics

Scratching at the ground is one of the chickens’ favorite things to do!  Chickens are continually on the hunt scratching their dinosaur-like feet into the earth, searching and searching for that perfect…stone, bug, piece of food, or worm.  It is remarkable to watch them.  Sometimes they rev up like they’re starting a motorcycle or getting ready to run then next 50 yard dash.  Other times, they do it with dignity; with a feeling of pomp, circumstance and grace.  Specific chickens also have scratching styles.

Tilly is extremely dignified.  Her head held high in the air barely taking the time to look down at the ground and goodies she has potentially unearthed.  Feathers and Chocolate rev!  They appear to be starting mini-motorcycles hidden under their feathers.  Soon, I imagine them just vrooming off down the street.  Other girls diligently scratch then look at the ground, scratch then look at the ground.  Oyster Cracker and Sunshine team up and are always together like inseparable twins sharing their finds between them.

I have drawn the conclusion that like people, chickens have various work ethics.  Some are speedy and carefree just wanting to get the job done.  Some never really complete things and are easily distracted.  Some are perfectionists and spend minutes on end in one spot going through the earth with a fine tooth comb.  Some are messier than others and some are neater.  Some find things all the time and others are not so lucky.  Then there are those that like to fly solo versus working as a group.  I can think of situations where I have come across all of these traits in people.  The only difference being that the chicken’s finds are their measure of success. 

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Well, He’s Definitely a Roo!

He finally stood still and posed for me!

I’ve been back now for 4 days now and there are definite changes in the coop.  Chocolate is definitely a boy!  He has emerged a rooster- as the leader of his girls.  I feel proud for him.  He was the underdog when Peanut was around.

Now he is one of the biggest in the flock, developing a beautiful comb, wattle and streaming neck feathers.  I have not heard him crow anymore.  Is there such a thing as a quiet rooster?

Yesterday, I let them free range after 3 continual days of wind and rain.  They were so happy.  Like Pavlovian dogs, every time I walked back and forth from the coop to the garage, they thought that I had scratch for them.  Chocolate and Tilly were always the first to come running.  They are getting braver and are even considering entering the garage after just recently feeling comfortable crossing over the pea stone driveway.   I must have made that trip 8 times before I brought them that scratch.

The two of them make a great pair.  They seem to have mutual respect for one another.  Plus, he is not a bully.  My heart was touched when he came over and spoke to me.  We carried on a 5 minute conversation. Then I picked him up and nuzzled with him on my lap.  As usual, he snuggled right in making little clicking sounds of gratitude with his beak.  Although his feathers were cool to the touch, I could feel his little body warming up as I held him.  Then I smelled his back feathers and gave him a kiss before returning him to his girls.  I have to say, he is a lover not a fighter, and for that I am thankful.

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So You Want to Raise Backyard Chickens: 4 of a 5 Part Series


I think that you will be utterly amazed at the pace in which these adorable little chickens grow! Don’t blink because you will miss it! Take the time to enjoy them.  They should start to develop a pecking order. Every flock has one.  By watching your flock, you will be able to determine things such as; Who eats first?  Who eats last?  Who seems like an outsider?  Who sleeps next to whom?  Who plays together?  Who is the smartest one?  Who is the fastest?  Your answers will help to determine their pecking order.  The idea of a pecking order is hardwired into every chicken from days when they had to survive in the wild.  Each chicken will have a role.  These roles are fought for or settled on depending on how the chickens jockey for position.  There is not much you can do to change it.  Once a true order is established, it should not change.   The only exception to this is if you add or subtract anyone from the flock.  Of note, roosters are not part of the pecking order.  Roosters are separate from the hens in this manner.  If you have more than one rooster, there will be an alpha rooster and the other will be submissive to him.  They may fight now and then and sometimes it is deadly.  The rooster’s role is to be a protector of the flock and to fertilize eggs.  If a predator attacks, it is the rooster that will sacrifice himself for the sake of the girls.