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Kath

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I have no experience with chickens, I wish I did.  I don't have enough space for them, so I would not be allowed. I'd like to keep a couple of secret ones, but I doubt it would get away with it.

Are they wild, or are they joining your own chickens?

The only thing I can suggest is netting, that will keep them out of your beds.  Chickens are renowned for eating anything you grow for your own table.

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Most of the neighbours have a few chickens, very much free range, I doubt that they ever get too many eggs.

There's a definite pecking order in the flocks, I suppose that's where the term comes from, young males are driven off by the dominant rosters and a few hens will leave as well and they will start a new community. Our place is ideal because the land has a six foot wall offering privacy and security.

Part of a short story I wrote many years ago.

While I was building my house I lived in a small single roomed bungalow a few metres from the site and I came to know chickens quite well. I even considered doing a thesis for a doctorate on their culture and lifestyle. In the morning I would sit outside and watch them at the serious business of survival of the species. They belonged to my father in law, as far as free range chickens can belong to anyone, and the main flock stayed up near his house and we got the refugees. Usually hen’s with too many chicks for them to watch in a crowd and the young roosters driven from the flock by their seniors. The roosters had daily crowing practice outside our window at daylight; they had play fights and kept well clear of the mother hens. Some days one of the serious roosters would wander down to make sure that none of the young hens had sneaked there and to give the lads a few boxing lessons. They hid in the rice field till he left.

 

Eventually their number was whittled down to two. The old man took a couple to sell or eat, the neighbours’s dogs got a couple more and a few just disappeared. The remaining pair were very likely from the same nest although one developed colourful gold and black plumage and the other the standard Thai red. Chickens are rarely monogamous and I doubt that if bargirls regularly gave birth to triplets that one black, one white and one brown baby would he considered unusual.

They were certainly as close as brothers and foraged together, slowly putting on the weight that would be vital to their survival later. The black and gold bird was the dominant of the two and inevitably his eye turned to the fair sex. His choice was little short of amazing, one of the resident hens was a large bad tempered creature who had beaten the crap out of him for getting too close to her chicks on a number of occasions. She rebuffed him frequently but he persevered and eventually, possibly because of his handsome colouring, she allowed him to hang around as long as he never attempted to eat any thing she scratched up for the now large chicks. His mate, however, took his life in his hands every time he attempted to enlarge the family group. Then one day she deserted the horrified chicks, the handsome chicken attacked and thrashed his brother and they retired to the rice field for their honeymoon.

 

You can only hold a reader’s interest for so long when writing about chickens, Richard Adams enthralled us with his rabbit stories but Richard Adams I am not. I would like to give this tale a happy ending but the handsome chicken was too arrogant to run from the neighbour’s dogs and they reduced him to a state that took him several months to recover from. A year later he’s still not quite right and his brother now rules down around our house with several wives including his bad tempered former nemesis. I did notice though that her latest clutch of chicks included several with gold and black colouring.

Perhaps the old flame never quite went out.

 

 

 

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Now I see you Split.  I can see you are the kind of person who likes homesteading stuff.  Well, I have 2 that I would like to recommend for you.

1. Roots & Refuge, Jess and Miha bought a new property, watch the progress.

2. The 1870's Homestead Rachel and Todd will keep you entertained and Rachel's pantry is epic.

Just a couple that I follow 🙂

Edited by Kath
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