I keep changing my mind as to whether or not chickens are smart or stupid. I suppose, just like any other animal, they have certain things that they are aware of and good at and other things that they just can’t comprehend.
I think when it comes to food they probably have some memory that lets them know I’m the guy that brings them food. They also remember I’m the guy that occasionally has more food hidden away to give to the birds separate from the others.
Today I came out for the afternoon feed and dumped the food onto the big plate in the middle of the yard and like usual the hens and booster came wobbling quickly towards it and began to eat. I made my way back to the house.
I noticed two of the birds, outcasts, were following me keeping up with my pace. They were optimistic I suppose because in the past I have an extra handful to give them so that they don’t have to eat with the cool hens. It’s almost like high school in that way and it made me chuckle.
They can’t eat at the cool table till the others are finished, so they were hoping they could score a little scratch on the side I suppose. Since I’ve done it before, they made the assumption I would do it again but alas, I had no more food to give today.
I could have gone inside and got more but all of those actions cause attention especially in the rooster who always keeps an eye on you no matter how far away he is. If I came back out and handed these two birds even the smallest of feed, I can be assured the entire troop would come marching.
They always seem to want what they don’t have. Chickens have FOMO. Especially food FOMO. The fear they are missing out on something better, or at least they’re curious enough to leave the meal they’re eating and find out. The problem is they often forget about the meal they were eating and never return, or return later after the rats have had their pick.
It is however funny to watch.
The afternoon feed the quickest of them all. The rooster and his orange companions get the first run, but finish quickly enough that the others have plenty left. It’s not like a buffet where the shrimp is gone before you get there.
Feel free to substitute whatever food you love at the buffet that often sells out before your chance. For the chickens, it’s pretty much the same meal start to finish. I stopped separating the two types of food a while back. Didn’t seem to make sense to me so I mixed them together and it’s a plate of five or six different tastes.
Now that I think of it I suppose it’s possible the first hens and the rooster could eat the corn kernels first but I haven’t noticed this in general practice.