We had chickens when I was a kid but, like most farm kids, they were just one more chore on a long list of never ending chores. As I grew up I learned to appreciate the subtle personalities and character traits that each animal has. Now that I have chickens again I can truly appreciate them, and their quirks.
We were working in the yard this weekend and as usual the chickens were under foot. While watching them I came to realize that chickens are cats with feathers. Here is my top ten reasons for thinking of chickens as cats with feathers.
10 - Chickens are very independent. They want to be petted when they want to be petted not when you want to pet them.
9 - Chickens are picky eaters. They want food but only certain kinds of food and it never seems to be the same from day to day. One day they want crumble, another day greens, and another they will only eat bird seed.
8 - Chickens like to stalk small birds, rodents, and toads. More than one mouse carcass has turned up in the coop and most of the toads in our yard are missing toes.
7 - Chickens will always choose to lay their eggs in a shrub rather than the really warm, nice, dry, and safe nest box we made for them. We found 10 eggs under clippings from the hedge while working this weekend.
6 - Chickens like to dust bath exactly where they should not be, namely my herb bed. I'm going to have to do a lot of replanting next spring.
5 - Chickens can't stand having a fenced off area. If it is fenced off they absolutely must be inside it if I want them out or outside it if I want them in.
4 - Chickens are demanding of your food. If you are eating something then it must be theirs, even if it is something you know they don't like they want it anyway and will take any means needed to get it away from you. That includes tripping you, jumping up and taking it from you, or squawking pathetically until you give them a taste.
3 - Chickens are constantly changing the pecking order, in other words bickering. Chickens that were snuggled together yesterday will be picking on each other today.
2 - Chickens love to sleep in the sun, or if we have a bonfire going as close to the fire pit as they can possibly squeeze.
1 - Chickens are always under foot.