A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Herding Chickens!

Having replaced our flock of chickens that was killed off by an ermine this winter with some “good used” laying hens and figuring that after a couple of weeks locked in the pen they should know their way home by now, we let them out to roam yesterday. In that they are just going into their molt and thus the egg production will fall off a little for a few weeks the extra protein they will find from scratching up fallen leaves and searching for insects saves buying more feed. That we spent the afternoon teaching them not to do so in our flower gardens (and any one who says chicken cannot be taught has not seen how quickly they learn what the sound of the lid being removed from the feed bin means!) made the lazing in the sun rather less lazy was more than offset by the amusing antics of Mr P our Peacock, the sole survivor of the earlier decimation.

Mr P has been roaming outside and responding to any loud noises with his distinctive HOOOONK since mid winter and apparently thinks he is now in charge of outside operations. With a dozen or so chicken wandering around we were fascinated to see him disappearing around the back of the house only to reemerge the other side with two or three chickens in front of him. A few minutes later off he would go again and several chickens would come into sight closely followed by Mr P. He was herding “his” flock and they were not allowed to wander too far!

A little while later we saw him giving these females his full display, tail up showing all his colours and turning to make sure they got the full impact. Unfortunately the chickens seemed singularly unimpressed but we wonder what would have happened if our rooster was still around......

And that my friends is how to do nothing and rest after on a sunny afternoon, even Masie our Australian Cattle Dog just lay on the step and said 'well if he is going to keep them in line then I will not bother'.

Update - Day 2
4.30 pm, about the time we shut in the hens and feed them a little grain we hear almost continuous vocalization from Mr P, hard to ignore as he is LOUD. Upon investigating we find that all the hens are in the pen and Mr P is standing at the door keeping them in, obviously very proud of himself. He is not just a pretty bird after all!

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