Book review

In our sec­ond ex­tract from her book How To Speak Chicken, writer Melissa Caughey con­sid­ers play, trauma and loss

Your Chickens - - Contents -

How To Speak Chicken

Chick­ens ac­tively seek out hap­pi­ness and pleasure. Their lives re­volve around feel­ing good. Some chick­ens are rebels and thrill seek­ers. These are the ones that dare to cross the road even when no other chick­ens will fol­low. These are the ones that will meet you at the door, step in­side your home, try to get over the gar­den fence, and even hide a nest full of eggs far away from the coop. Some chick­ens even choose their hu­man flock over their chicken flock.

Some­times chick­ens be­come bored and frus­trated. This is espe­cially true in win­ter, when they may not be able to free-range and their ac­cess to fresh green fo­liage and grass is cut off. Just as with hu­mans, be­ing lit­er­ally “cooped up” can lead to naughty be­hav­ior to pass the time. With chick­ens, this can in­clude gang­ing up on a lower-sta­tus hen, some­times with re­lent­less peck­ing, feather pulling, and draw­ing blood.

Dur­ing these times of bore­dom and ag­gres­sion, dis­trac­tions can of­ten pro­vide a so­lu­tion. When they have some­thing fun to do, their be­hav­iour im­proves! Chick­ens will in­ves­ti­gate and amuse them­selves with just about any ob­ject in their en­vi­ron­ment. They adore in­ves­ti­gat­ing new things, they quickly learn to per­form tricks, and they en­joy star­ing at them­selves in a mir­ror. It never ceases to amaze me how in­ven­tive chicken keep­ers can be in pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment for their flocks. From of­fer­ing them veg­gie piñatas of cab­bage or cau­li­flower to peck at, to build­ing them climb­ing struc­tures and swings, we can en­rich their lives. My girls love it when I rake up big piles of leaves in the au­tumn. They scratch around and dis­ap­pear into the heap as they seek out bugs and hid­den meal­worms that I toss out for a chicken trea­sure hunt. They also do silly things that only they un­der­stand, like the time Tilly found a small stick cov­ered with fresh leaves and de­cided to drag it all over the yard. It be­came al­most like her friend. She dragged it ev­ery­where that day, and just when I thought that she had aban­doned it, some­thing clicked and she ran back af­ter it to drag it along on the day’s next ad­ven­ture.

Author Melissa Caughey: ‘It never ceases to amaze me how in­ven­tive chicken keep­ers can be in pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment for their flocks’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.