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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘survival instinct

Perfect Execution

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After feeding horses and before heading in for our dinner last night, we spent a little time mingling with the chickens as they foraged the shaded grass between their coop and the barn. Cyndie brought out some chicken treats and worked an exercise of calling for them to come to her as she offers to feed them from her hand.

They haven’t received as much of this training as earlier batches we have raised, and it shows. The reactions were delayed and there was a noticeable lack of total buy-in from the group as a whole. With a bit more practice, it won’t be long until Cyndie frequently finds herself with a trail of birds following behind her as she strolls anywhere near where they happen to be hanging out.

While we were lounging in their presence, practicing trying to account for them by breed as a method of quickly identifying if anyone is missing, we enjoyed the thrill of witnessing a perfectly executed emergency response drill.

Maybe it wasn’t even a drill, but we weren’t able to scope out a possible threat they sensed.

At the sound of one unique call, without hesitation, the twenty-some mix of pullets and cockerels made a mass exodus from the open mowed grass into the thick cover of growth just to the right in the image below.

One second they were all roaming around in the open and in a flash they became instantly invisible.

It is a fascinating thing to watch. We wondered which one made the call, as it wasn’t obvious to us, but whatever was said, it made an immediate impression on all of them.

Probably half a minute later, one bold girl wandered out to reclaim the spot she previously held, and soon after the rest did the same as if nothing had happened.

It all echoed nicely the practice we’ve witnessed many times with horses where they execute an alarming rush to escape the immediate vicinity and a minute later go back to grazing as calmly as ever.

I’m happy our chickens are demonstrating this skill so well, given they are going to need it for the balance of their free-ranging days with us.

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Written by johnwhays

July 13, 2021 at 6:00 am