About 10 years ago, we got a bucket-O-chicken. Nah, not KFC but a hen and 10 eggs in a five gallon bucket. We were over run with ticks, my wife and son couldn't step out of the house without getting covered up with them (for some reason they pretty much ignored me?). Researchers at Auburn University would send their graduate students out to our place to collect ticks. My wife thought that maybe chickens were the answer. She was right, our dogs no longer look like they have grape clusters hanging from their faces, and I have learned things I never suspected about chickens.
First, the Rooster and his harem, doesn't go out here. We have as many, if not more, roosters than chickens. Every hen, has at least one (and some have two or three) rooster who follows her around and helps and protects her. And the hens aren't territorial and aggressive with each other as they apparently are in "factory farm" where they are de-beaked to prevent injury to each other. Out here it is not uncommon for two or three hens to nest on the same clutch of eggs, and cooperate in the raising of the chicks.
One summer a hen who had just one chick, was walking across the driveway, when a Cooper's hawk snatched her up and flew off with her (these are a small variety of fighting cock). From that moment on, her rooster and the chick were inseparable. He would scratch up the ground and model pecking for it, they slept together, one afternoon on the porch railing they were sitting together and the chick had its head leaned up against the roosters breast (I wish I'd gotten a picture of that!)
Apparently hens have a special cluck that announces: "I ready to mate". Whenever a hen gives that cluck, every rooster within hearing distance makes a bee-line for that hen, and of course, she takes off running.
One afternoon I saw that the alpha, or dominant rooster had died and several roosters were lined up in a row beside him. What I saw next still creeps me out a little. One by one, the roosters would mount the dead cock and do the "Cloacal kiss" and then flap their wings and crow. Weird!
On two occasions friends gave us a rooster. Now, these guys were about twice the size of our little fighters, but all the dominant roosters would immediately challenge the new comer and promptly get their asses kicked. After the fighting had resided, all egg production ceased until the interloper died, which was; in both cases; just a few months.
Our house is in the middle of 20 acres of woodland, and the chickens are free to come and go as they please. The "scratch line", the point to which the chickens scratch up the ground, goes out to a point where the chickens can see the house and no further. And we no long have ticks, nor grass, nor lizards, nor scorpions, nor flowers, nor earth snakes, at least as far as the "scratch line".
And, yes, I know this is not the forum for talking about chickens, but I just wanted to share.

Views: 22

Comment by Reggie on July 23, 2010 at 11:35pm
Not the forum for chickens, but I found it interesting! Perhaps if you had mentioned that chickens are atheists, then we would have our tie-in. ;-)
Comment by Doug Reardon on July 24, 2010 at 12:34am
Reggie: I'll ask, but I doubt the chickens will tell me.
Comment by girlatheist on July 24, 2010 at 12:37am
Yep, chickens are born atheists. Just like babies. I work with babies and no matter how much hoopla* you put in their cribs or isolettes, they are STILL atheists.

*Hoopla = crosses, medals, palm fronds, pictures, saints, coins, statues blah blah blah, ad naseum.
Comment by willailla on July 24, 2010 at 2:16pm


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