Cheeky – adjective, 1. impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way.Here we are, four-plus months into owning chickens and we learn more and more about them each day. We know that chickens like to:
~ wiggle their under-body down in the dirt to create a fluffy cloud of dirt with their wings
~ hide under or behind shrubs, trailers, AC piping
~ put themselves ‘to bed’ at dusk
~ come charging at us, when we come into their sight, and start bwaking, “Hello people, got scratch?”
Our five hens are very sweet and curious, and it is loads of fun just watching them cluck and scratch around the yard. They have gradually gone from curious to (in my opinion) brave as they venture from the back of the house up to the front near the pond and big pecan tree. If the weather is warm we let them out first thing in the morning so they can free range all day. As we get occasional days that are cold we opt to leave them in the coop in hopes that they will keep each other warm and attempt to lay a few eggs.
Egg production from these girls has been hit or miss. On average we get 2-4 eggs a day, but then we may have a day with no eggs. We started to wonder if this was due to the shorter days with the change of season, and most likely, this is some of the reason. However, we started noticing one egg broken here and another egg broken there. We knew there was a raccoon that had visited our barn, so we put a few clues together and realized that we likely had an egg-grabbing coon going in and out of the coop while the girls were out for the day. We always secure the girls in the coop for the night, and we would rather lose an egg or two than a hen!
Learning all these new aspects of chickens is interesting and fun. However, there is one thing I never dreamed would come along with having chickens and that is there toddler-tendency behavior. The house we moved into has lots of flower beds which are all lined with tiny pebbles. The effect is attractive and tidy, though I prefer dirt or mulch, and it definitely helps keep weeds away. After the first couple of months of chasing grasshoppers in the open field the girls discovered the pebbles. I suspect that they have learned to scratch and search for grubs or doodle-bugs and we welcome any and all natural pest control. Unfortunately, as the scratching carries on the pebbles fly out of their designated spot. I now have the added responsibility of sweeping up pebbles and plopping them back in the beds.The days of diaper changing and keeping toys, board books and rattles picked up, is long past and, now, replaced with sweeping chicken poo and pebbles out of our walkway. I have convinced myself that the benefits of bending, moving and cleaning, that was a constant part of bringing up babies, carry on with the raising and keeping of chickens!
Please, don’t anyone try to tell me different.