Pet chickens treat us as equals. October 4, 2013
According to Sir Winston Churchill, ”Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” I say: pet chickens treat us as equals, too.
To have well behaved animals, you take the role the animal needs you to play. You must learn how to be a leader for your pet dog. You must learn how to establish a respectful friendship with your pet cat. By contrast, with pet chickens, your role is more or less to avoid acting boorishly. You just need to discover where you fit in to their society, and how to avoid shaking up their status quo when interacting with them.
I like to picture my pet chickens as a bevy of matronly English ladies. They are reserved; behaving without class will cause them to avoid and even snub you. You don’t want to shock them by ignoring or confusing their order of precedence when at table—I mean, when hand feeding. Top hens should get to eat first. In addition, increasing protein during the molt, as if offering something warming and bracing like a cup of tea, is usually well appreciated.
Pet chickens also try to keep a stiff upper lip—that is, beak—when they are under the weather. Fortitude is valued, and chickens will only behave as if they’re ill in the most dire of circumstances.
If you should happen to witness one of your chickens in molt, the polite thing to do is to act as if everything is normal; avoid pointing out how much she looks unkempt, like a blown rose. You should also avoid doing startling things around your pet chickens. No sudden loud noises, please… and don’t allow your children or other pets to run wild and do any chasing. Be respectful to respectable chickens.
Do you think chickens are like English ladies? Do you have another analogy (for instance, I always thought they were a little like Hobbits, too, what with always wanting “second breakfast,” but that’s English-y in itself.) Please share your ideas in the comments.