Yesterday seemed like a good time to experiment on the young chickens in the chicken tractor. This last batch of chicks from Laya, best hen ever, have matured and needed to leave the safety of the chicken tractor pen and become true yard birds.
So, in the morning I dropped the hatch open and left them to discover the thrill of freedom. For the longest time, they continued walking up and down the side of the cage, not seeming to notice the open door.
This is why they are chickens.
Eventually, they made it out on to the yard and began scratching beneath the oaks.
Enter the variable ... Bear.
Bear gave chase as soon as I let him out.
I waited for the young,healthy birds to fly up into the vines and low branches that surrounded them.
They ran squawking in terror.
They ran in tight little circles.
They ran to me.
They ran and jump flapped a few feet, but then ran some more.
They ran into the lattice that encloses the crawlspace beneath PFHQ ... head through the lattice holes, butt out awaiting Bear's bite.
Once trapped, they did that plaintive call that chickens who know they are going to die do.
In short, they ran around like chickens with their heads cut off.
Let's be honest here, there's not a lot of IQ difference between a whole chicken and a chicken sans head.
Ahh me ... I ran interference.
Bear ran amok.
Each chicken I pulled from his soft mouth was given a toss and an encouraging, "FLY DAMN YOU!"
Eventually, after I had tossed all three chickens up on to the roof, we all calmed down.
Later in the day, Bear and I went outside and the roof chickens were now down on the ground.
He gave chase.
I started to give chase too, but then ... they flew! Up into the live oak branches went one. Another hopped up on the garden chicken pen. And a third did a magnificent horizontal flight of 40 feet or so before touching down in the grass just in front of a Bear in hot pursuit.
Oh well, once a chicken always a chicken.
It all ended well and I think the youngsters know they are birds and can actually fly now.
Here's an experiment that did work.
Katie graduated with her AA degree from Santa Fe College this month and is now thinking hard about a degree in nursing or other related health profession.
We are just a little proud of her.
Always nice when an experiment goes as planned.