There are a couple of weaker hens that get extra attention occasionally. If they don’t come out because of the weather or whatever reason we sneak into the chicken coop and feed them a private dish. They were out in the bright sunlight today a little before noon when the dogs barked and I decided to come feed them.
As two of the weaker hands approached me I put a little bit of chicken feed down for them but I should have known better. The second I did the rooster and his team arrived and started eating the chicken scratch. This only cost a problem because I couldn’t get any of the hens to realize I’d actually fed them their full meals worth elsewhere. They were ignoring me. Just when you think you figured there personalities out, they do the opposite.
Quite frequently if I’m standing in one place for long enough a hen or two will come and visit me. Today, while I’m standing over a plentiful bounty of food no one would visit me they were all standing around waiting for their turn at this handful of chicken feet ahead dispersed just for one.
Eventually as I made noise and tapped a metal plate to the ground they recognized the sound of food and came running I’m glad to see the rooster gives the weaker hens a chance to eat.
Ironically now that they’re all feasting at the main dish, the ones that have to wait their turn have forgotten about the free food 20 ft away. Hens are dumb. The rooster is dumb too but not quite as dumb as the hens. At least he has a purpose and a rule. He knows to look at for enemies like me.
He hasn’t launched for me in a few days but we’re still cautious of each other and I’m still not fully comfortable walking around without some type of defensive stick whether it be my old faithful or a baseball bat or another piece of wood I found today as I was walking.
I haven’t quite figured out the black hens routine. At first I thought she was one of the roosters main generals but it seems after more close examination she is a loner. She wanders the yard separate from all the others. She eats last and doesn’t follow any of the hens.
I don’t actually see her eat very often although her body shape seems healthy, especially compared to the three hens that are almost out of feathers from packing and sex on demand.
Earlier I had thought she was a scout for the rooster. Checking things out but now I just think she’s different. She doesn’t like the other hens or rooster. She’s just a wanderer currently near my feet as they all eat elsewhere. I wish there was a way I could coax her to the free hand full I have nearby but he seems oblivious to my actions.
I suppose if I took the time I could probably come up with ways to train the animals to come to me but for now I just observe. I call the black hen Crow because she stands alone and her black skin has that glow not normally associated with chickens. A purplish green hint that shines in the light differently. In all ways she is a standout. I suspect a different breed if I looked it up. If I cared that much.
I’m happy observing. And not getting pecked in the ankles anymore. Eventually this handful of feed will be enjoyed if not by a wandering hen, then some birds or the rodents.
Nothing goes to waste on the farm, although I’d certainly like less to be eaten by the rodents. It’s a shame to pay for feed for them.
I’m told this is the last nice day we’ll have for a week or so has fall rushes in and chills us all. I’m content to set outside and watch them eat. I learned not to take their food away right away so the black crow hen can wander and finish off her needs.
I’m usually too impatient to wait it out fully so the rodents get dark feast as well. 20 minutes seems to be about my limit sitting outside in the sun. The dogs start to get restless and bark at little things they ignore minutes ago. We all go inside and wait till the next meal break.