Thursday, July 10, 2014

Keeping Chickens

These chickens, they love us. 

Honestly, before we had chickens I could never have foretold how affectionate and even downright clingy these birds are. 

Even when we first brought them home they were already pretty tame and put up with not only children but also cats relentlessly stalking them. Not only that, they even seemed to seek out the company, seemingly drawn to the activity whenever we were in the garden. They are so nosy! 

As they got to know us they grew bolder. They would hang out with us on the patio, would sit on the bench next to me as I drank my morning tea, would wait for scraps under the table when we had dinner outside. If you don't watch them they'll fly up to steal food right off your plate (and once right out of boy #2's mouth - he was not happy!). In the winter they mainly hung out on the patio, sitting on the bicycles stored by the back door, high enough so they could peer through the glass in the door and spy on us inside.

Then they decided that this really wasn't close enough. 

They started following us into the house. Nyla, the brown chicken, in particular developed a strong fondness of cat food and whenever the back door opened she ran across the garden to get there before the door was shut again. It's pretty amazing how fast chickens can eat when they put their mind to it! 

She will also happily follow me into the kitchen to hoover up crumbs under the kitchen table. I wouldn't miind this so much if she didn't poop every 5 seconds. I think there is really not much space in there - it's mainly all egg I think - so whenever something goes in at the top (which is constantly) something needs to come out the other end (which is therefore also near-constantly). 

Sorry, I realise this is probably more information than strictly speaking necessary.

This is Rex on the picture above - the boys named her when they were still convinced that she was a cockerel. They look pretty fierce when viewed up close like this. I read the other day that they are descended straight from dinosaurs and I think in a shot like this you can kind of see that. 

Anyway, I'm conflicted about the fondness that our chickens have for our company (and food) - on the one hand they really are good company and I love the way they will immediately start 'chatting' to you when they can hear you getting close, but on the other hand there is all that poop, and the bold food-stealing off the table... We have built a run for them at the back of the garden under the fruit trees and they are mainly in there now unless one of the boys lets them out. They like it well enough, although they still prefer to be with us all of the time. 

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