See how weird they are?!

When I was at the farm, I kept thinking about the chickens. See, I’ve never spent much time around chickens. I never had any friends growing up whose families did that urban farm thing that seems to be growing in popularity these days. The only chickens I ever saw in someone’s home, in fact, was in Portland (of course) when I babysat for some neighbor’s kids. Also, at a professor’s house on the outskirts of Tucson, too. When we saw that, Boris immediately took to the idea. I liked the idea, too. We eat a lot of eggs, after all.

Now, having spent a month of my life tending to them, cleaning up their poo, feeding them, herding them back into their enclosures, I can say with certainty: Chickens are WEIRD.

They move in a weird way. Like robots that are short-circuiting, really. Either that, or they’re popping and locking with the best on America’s Best Dance Crew (which, yes, I LOVED watching…is that still on?). I’m going to go with the short-circuiting thing.

Until recently, my only real understanding of what chickens ate probably came from Cinderella. There she was, in her beautiful blondness, graceful arm outstretched with a handful of grain and corn falling lightly from it. FALSE. Well, not totally false, but chickens don’t just eat corn, as my childhood (and adult) self thought. They also eat pasta–Italian chickens do, at least–and even dog food. Not that the dog food was supposed to be on their diet. But for some reason whenever I fed dear Polly and the gray kitty that was a permanent visitor at the farm, the chickens would slink towards the bowl to get a peck of the wet, meaty concoction. I took to standing by the bowl with a broom or my famous anti-capon stick just to scare them away. If I turned my back, even for a moment, they would swarm and scare away both cat and dog to munch.

Another thing I started to appreciate is how animals really do have their own personalities. At least, their likes and dislikes or habits become evident, and to humans that is what helps define personalities. Chickens are no different. One chicken was particularly bold; she never was scratching or roaming with the group, but she’d rove the fields and find a spot just for herself. Sometimes she’d be so hard to find at feeding time that she’d almost get left out for the night. Eventually I’d find her on the other side of the property, inevitably alone. She was also very cheeky, and led the attack on the dog food most times.

The only white chicken on the farm always made me laugh, because she seemed to be really ditzy. She spooked a lot easier than the rest of the chickens, and for some reason her gait was not quite right, rendering her a little lopsided when she ran. A running chicken is a hilarious sight. I am so sorry I have no video for you.

Now I feel like rewatching Chicken Run. I think I’d have a better appreciation for it…