Tidbits, 8.31
25+ Great Science and Nature Books for Five to Eight Year olds

At Home with the Flock

Yesterday was supposed to be a big day. I decided that I would permit one chick to free-range. Standing, I unlatched the front door of the run, and told the girls that one of them could come out. "But not you, Loretta," I had to add, because she is still too lickety-split for me to catch. Petunia stepped forward cautiously, but soon had second thoughts and ran back toward the coop, flapping her wings.

Then I sat down on the ground, and they all dashed to the front, clamoring to get out like a bunch of Wednesday matinee-goers at a Broadway show. We'll miss the bus! Hurry! Despite the fact that I am the daily cafeteria attendant and housekeeper for the group, they think, "Predator?" unless I sit. I had forgotten.

While I held the others at bay, Bossy emerged. She pecked at my watch, she pecked at my Read bracelet, she free-ranged approximately four inches from the run, and then lay down beside it. After pacing around the entry way on the other side, the remaining group clustered in a corner, and then they lay down as close to Bossy as they could get.

Free-ranging was going nowhere. I returned Bossy to the others. Feathers were fluffed and realigned, legs were stretched, and the chickens resumed their previous, desultory activities.

The chicken whisperer was back at elementary school. I'll have to ask his advice.

The picture book of the day is the classic Petunia, by Roger Duvoisin. Petunia the goose thinks that she is brilliant because she carries around a book. She dispenses wacky advice, which brings chaos to the barnyard. After a while, the situation explodes. A fowl comedy indeed.

Comments

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I would hate it if the moral of this story was, "Freedom is not all it's cracked up to be." Maybe freedom is an acquired taste. Something that must be learned...

Maybe for Bossy, it's, Freedom is more fun with your friends. hmm.

If I had let all of them out, I have no doubt they would have run every whichaway, with that darn Loretta in the lead. If any of them turns out to be a rooster, my money is on Loretta.

Sorry that didn't go as well as you expected, but it was enjoyable for us to read :)

"The chicken whisperer" -- I love it.

Chicken ranching is a learning experience, Jules. I am finding that out. I tried again, with Petunia, today, and she did much the same thing. I guess it's either all or nothing.

I had forgotten about Petunia!!! I had a copy of that book when I was a kid signed by the writer with my name inside!
Wow... that brought it all back.

Do you still have your book? It's a favorite here!

In my own experience, free ranging works best when they all go together. Chickens are, for lack of a better term, "herd animals" -- there's a reason for the saying, "Birds of a feather flock together"!

Yep, Becky. All together is the key. Yesterday they did just fine free-ranging for a hour or so, under close supervision by Junior and me. Bossy is the first to run home at the slightest provocation.

Ah, this is wonderful! Thank you for the continued reports.

De nada.

The other day Jr. did not want me to cook chicken on the grill because of how our chickens might feel. I did it anyway, though I did feel a little weird about it.

In addition to Petunia, two other chicken picture books I like are Zinnia and Dot and Wings - A Tale of Two Chickens.

NT

Well, hey, NT. I wrote about Zinnia and Dot just today (Saturday 9/8). And look for Wings soon.

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