Salad is what Food Eats

I find it slightly disturbing that when I go to feed the landlords’ hens with some of my surplus lettuce (I knew there was an answer) I can now more or less tell them apart.

They don’t have names, they’re not those kind of hens, although they are sometimes known collectively as ‘the girls’. But I can still discern some sort of differences between them based on their behaviour. There’s brighter-than-the-average chicken, who’s the only one of five to have figured out that it’s easier to eat bits off a leaf of lettuce if you put your foot on it first. There’s ordinary chicken who is just a chicken and has no distinguising behaviour at all. Then there’s bossy chicken, who only likes to eat what the other chickens are eating and spends all her time chasing after brighter-than-the-average and ordinary trying to dominate the food supply. She’s the one who comes clucking self-importantly up to you when you go to fetch the eggs. There’s also sick chicken who sits around looking sorry for herself in the dust bath, but who has apparently always looked like that without ever actually dying or even declining much. She can usually be tempted to peck listlessly at a juicy bit of lettuce until bossy comes over to pinch it off her. And finally there’s do-I-look-like-a-rabbit chicken who disdains lettuce – and indeed chickweed – and doesn’t like to be seen with the other hens. Instead she stands aloofly in the corner, rising above it all although she will make the effort if there are marinated slugs going.

I did take some pictures to try and illustrate all this, but it turned out to be just a load of photographs of identical-looking chickens. So you’ll just have to believe me when I say they all have distinct personalities of their own. Either that, or I really do have to get out more.

11 Responses to Salad is what Food Eats

  1. Dom says:

    My fiancée is a zoo keeper and seems to be able to easily tell all the animals apart (they all look the same to me) and knows what their personalities are. To me they all look and act pretty much the same 🙂

  2. disgruntled says:

    It’s a bit more exciting when it’s zoo-keeping, rather than just boring old chickens though

  3. My girls are big on personality and habit, depending on the weather, time of day, you’ll know where they are and what they are likely to be up too

  4. Holly Bush says:

    I have a brighter (as in intelligent not most turqoise glow) neon tetra, who knows that the light going on means food is coming.
    Do u get rent off for feeding his poultry? of is it a mercy to be rid of your lettuce ?

  5. disgruntled says:

    We get the occasional egg, but mainly it’s just nice to see it going where it’s appreciated.

  6. Autolycus says:

    Just don’t let them see ‘Chicken Run’

  7. emma c says:

    Would you please elaborate on the marinated slugs? Do you use beer or milk? I didn’t realise chooks liked them.. am gearing up to get some myself 🙂

  8. disgruntled says:

    Autolycus – it’s probably too late, I’m sure they’re plotting to escape…
    Emma – I make slug beer (I’m not wasting the real stuff on them) – warm water, yeast, sugar and a little flour, just like starting off making dough) The slugs don’t seem to be that fussy as I’ve had 30 or 40 in one trap. Apparently not all chickens will go for slugs, but these ones come belting over if they see me with a jar in my hand.

  9. emma c says:

    ooh, how clever of you. Quite agree about not wasting good beer. I like your idea, cos Gardeners’ Q-time just recently recommended chatting up the barman at your local pub to get him to give you the beer tray slops. (You must also persuade him that you need it for the slugs – honest guv… ) The other snag is you might get drunken chickens.

  10. disgruntled says:

    I think the slug beer ends up pretty alcoholic although by the time the chickens get it it’s probably vinegar. It wasn’t my idea – all credit to t’internet, of course

  11. […] spirit but the brown ones (Black Rocks, if anyone’s interested) were a feisty bunch, with distinct personalities of their own. They’d always come racing over to investigate what delicious treat I was bringing to the […]

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