The Secret Life of Chickens

Sep
4


We’ve got a light in the chicken house so the chickens get their fourteen hours of light per day. This will hopefully delay molting and encourage them to lay. I like to peek in there and see what they’re doing after dark when they think no one’s looking. In case they’re throwing wild parties, staying up too late, talking on the phone.


Mostly, they’re sitting on their roost.

Sometimes they’re asleep before the light goes out. See the hen on the right? She’s zonked.

Ever tried to wake up a sleeping chicken? Sometimes they are contrary and roost on top of the chicken house door. Before I can shut it, I have to get them off it and inside the chicken house. If they’re sleeping, I can poke them and poke them and they’ll hardly budge. Usually, I end up picking them up, which makes them mad. Chickens wake up grumpy.

Can you imagine sleeping like this, by the way? Note the hen on the right, still snoozing.

If a person slept that way, they’d keel off the roost the instant they actually fell asleep. Chickens have some kind of weird auto-balance.

She’s awake now, and not particularly happy about it. She’s turned her back on the roosting crowd (and me).

They almost all roost facing the same direction. I wonder how they decide on that. Committee meeting? Vote?

I think these two are turned in the other direction because they’re gossiping.

Brown Hen: “Did you see the way she fluffed her feathers at him?”
Black Hen: “She’s a hussy. And he’s not worth that much trouble. Have you heard his crow?”
Brown Hen: “I wouldn’t lay his egg if you paid me.”

The little banty hen roosts in one of the nesting boxes. She’s been doing this for quite some time now–not that it’s resulted in an egg. I think she just likes to play house, pretend to be a nesting mama.

The ducks don’t roost, of course. They tuck themselves into a corner while the chickens lord it over them from above. I think the chickens are glad we got the ducks so they can feel important and none of them have to be at the bottom of the pecking order. The ducks have that spot.

I think, sometimes late at night, they discuss politics and philosophy. They do mathematical equations to keep themselves awake so they can get their fourteen hours of light. They tell ghost stories when it gets dark. Have you heard the one about the headless raccoon?

And I think they ponder the greatest question of them all.

“Why did that woman give us golf balls but no clubs?”

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 4, 2008  

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Comments

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  1. 9-4
    2:45
    am

    I love the golf ball eggs…for encouragement, I suppose. The sleeping chickens are hilarious.

  2. 9-4
    5:31
    am

    Good luck with that golf ball idea…LOL. You’re chickens are smarter than that.

  3. 9-4
    6:59
    am

    Maybe they need a laying hen in with them. After all they came from the incubator and had no one to teach them that they’re supposed to lay eggs. Hmmm … might be worth looking into? xxoo

  4. 9-4
    7:23
    am

    Today’s post makes me think of “Chicken Run,” that brilliant animated (clay action) movie. Every now and then I pull it out and watch it again. Maybe your chickens are really plotting their escape, Suzanne!

    -Kim A.

  5. 9-4
    7:30
    am

    Gossiping chickens…..I love it! :clap:
    What a great read to start my day!

  6. 9-4
    7:37
    am

    Yes I cant quit laughing- golf balls – who knew!!! I do wonder at times why some of them face one direction and some another? what is that about anyway chickens????

  7. 9-4
    7:48
    am

    Suzanne

    How do you access the forums that are not currently posted? I want to go back and look at others again, can we?

  8. 9-4
    7:52
    am

    Yes, just go to the forum and open any topic and you can read all the posts!
    :smile:

  9. 9-4
    7:55
    am

    That is werid they can sleep like standing up like that..freaky like horses or something.

    And I was sure the question they pondered would have to do with the whole chicken/egg thing..but oh no not so easy is it!

  10. 9-4
    8:05
    am

    Chickens….they are the best! I wish there was sound on your blog so we could hear the clucking and carrying on….sleeping in the nest everynight keeps Ms. Banty’s toes warm at night!

    you know…laying eggs are your hen’s only chore on the farm….maybe they need “chore boots” to start laying! hahahahaha

    Tresh in Oklahoma

  11. 9-4
    8:07
    am

    :lol: Once again, I’m sitting here at the computer laughing out loud.Thank you for another zany chicken story and pictures.
    A thought just came to me. I know absolutely nothing about chickens, but it seems as though I remember someone saying something about “laying mash”. It’s some kind of chicken feed that makes shells develop on eggs.
    By the way……..please consider writing childrens books. You have a natural gift. :catmeow:

  12. 9-4
    8:17
    am

    Those crazy chickens! I love the comentary. Too funny. And the golf balls…brilliant.

  13. 9-4
    8:26
    am

    Whoever the gossiping chickens are talking about has a friend in the first chicken on the left of the roost… notice that look… the way that eye is cocked? oooeee just you wait till the :fan: there’ll be feathers flying!

  14. 9-4
    8:33
    am

    Hilarious dialogue and photos today. Love the golf ball idea.

  15. 9-4
    9:06
    am

    This was amazing! I’m still chuckling, or is that cackling? Your reader’s comments are also hilarious. I agree with Tresh – you need little tiny chicken chore boots! And maybe you should take a tape recorder with you when you peek in at them at night; you might actually hear a word or two you can understand!!

    Thanks so much for the great start to my late day. :purr:

  16. 9-4
    9:37
    am

    LOL, LOVE the golf balls!! And I’m fascinated by the chickens. They’re so pretty in their own grumpy way.

  17. 9-4
    9:45
    am

    Great post and photos. Hope you get some eggs soon.

  18. 9-4
    9:57
    am

    Shirley

    Yes yes yes yes yes – I have mentioned this to suzanne numerous times – write childrens books – you will make a ton on them. so glad you see it too.

  19. 9-4
    10:12
    am

    That was hilarious!

  20. 9-4
    10:20
    am

    That is sooo exciting to me Suzanne – to thing you hatched those beautiful birds – you GREW THEM! LOL LOL They are fun to watch! I remember gathering eggs with my aunt on her Ranch in Texas – I loved that. I only did it once, but it was fun.
    I LOVED the “headless Raccoon” tale. LOL I saw two FAT Racoons at the edge of the woods, in a park last weekend and they looked like they were playing but when we came back by, just a few minutes later, they were gone!!!
    At first I thought they laid eggs!! Those are gold ball incentives though, huh! LOL They are such pretty birds!

  21. 9-4
    10:21
    am

    :birthday2: to me!!!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :birthday2: :birthday1: :birthday1: :elephant: :chicken: :chicken: :chicken: :heart:

  22. 9-4
    10:25
    am

    LOL Egg Decoys. Love it. You know, you should tell them that it only takes one letter to turn Roost into Roast…. :hungry:

  23. 9-4
    10:34
    am

    :chicken: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

  24. 9-4
    11:24
    am

    Could the gossip be about the ducks in the corner?
    Love this post, Suzanne! And the chicken pics, too!

  25. 9-4
    11:34
    am

    One of my favorite activities is to go into my coop and check on my sleeping chickens each night! They crack me up the way they battle for their roosting spot and then settle into sleep. I have a red party bulb for them all night. Just a low 25 watt. My husband quit asking questions when I would dissapear each evening with camera into the dark, heading toward the chicken shed. Glad to see there are others who are entertained by the simple things! I’m not THAT weird!I feel better.

  26. 9-4
    11:48
    am

    MY DAD ALWAYS KEPT A FLOOR UNDER THE ROOST – THAT IS WHERE HE COULD COLLECT THE CHICKEN DROPPING TO USE IN HIS GARDEN “HOT-BED.” MUCH BETTER THAN YOUR STORE-BOUGHT VARIETY. HA HA

  27. 9-4
    11:53
    am

    Oh–and we are feeding the chickens a layer ration now. I’ve also started saving eggshells to dry and crush and feed back to them.

  28. 9-4
    12:02
    pm

    Every day I think your posts couldn’t get any funnier…but they do! You start our day with a healthy dose of laughter

    What can tomorrow possibly bring??

    Maybe you shouldn’t answer that, lol

  29. 9-4
    12:29
    pm

    I so enjoy checking in here every day and seeing what’s up. All the good farm entertainment, with none of the work!!

    You have read The Egg and I, haven’t you? If not, read immediately.

  30. 9-4
    12:40
    pm

    Who would have thunk that chickens could be so funny. I too am pushing for those story books. I’ll buy them and save them for future grandchildren. The plan is around 3 yrs. so it gives you just enough time to look into it and get started, Suzanne!!! Besides the chicken feet stories, feeding them back their shells ewwwwwww.

    And Happy Birthday, Donna. :birthday1:

  31. 9-4
    3:01
    pm

    I love all the colors of your chickens and good luck with your eggs.

  32. 9-4
    3:33
    pm

    Love the pics and commentary about the roosting chickens.

  33. 9-4
    4:08
    pm

    The sleeping chickens are hilarious! I’m feeling sorry for the Ducks, though. I wouldn’t make a good Farmer. *G*

  34. 9-4
    4:20
    pm

    :snoopy: I thought at first you had eggs, then I realized they were golf balls!! I was so excited! How silly! Good Luck and thanks again for sharing!

  35. 9-4
    4:21
    pm

    I LOVE this website! I read a story about Suzanne in the newspaper and have been following the site ever since! Keep up the great work and the wonderful stories. Have you ever thought about being a photographer?? The pictures I have seen on here are outstanding! Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s adventures :clap:

  36. 9-4
    6:20
    pm

    I loved your blog today! I always love your blog though. :shimmy:

  37. 9-4
    10:44
    pm

    Ain’t it fun. I just wish I didn’t have to sleep. There’s never enough time in the day. I’m gonna up there to meet ya one of these days.

  38. 9-5
    11:51
    am

    My hens all lay through the winter without a light. As long as you are gathering the eggs every day (once they start laying!), they’ll keep laying because their goal is to fill a nest to go broody on. As long as you are taking them away, they will continue to attempt to achieve that goal. Every now and then one or two will take a rest from laying for a month, then start laying again. Being forced into laying by keeping the light on 14 hours a day during the winter is really, really hard on their bodies, which is why layers in factory egg farms don’t last very long at all.

    When they are ready, they will lay.

    I have a couple of hens that always attempt to roost on TOP of each other, despite tons of roost room in the hen house! They are silly animals, I love ’em!

  39. 9-5
    8:22
    pm

    Loved the golf balls. My dad whittled some “eggs”, then mom painted them, I think she painted them white and brown. I can’t recall if it made the chickens lay any faster but it was neat to think you had an egg in the nest, lol, I was little. Dad also tried the light and no light methods and finally ended up using the no light. Jenn said it best, they will lay when it is their time. I know how it is to wait tho.

  40. 9-6
    12:16
    pm

    I also use the golf ball method to get my hens to lay in the nest. Great pictures of the chickens.

  41. 9-7
    8:28
    am

    Hi… I just thought I would let you know that your chickens came about 2 or 3 weeks after mine did, and mine have finally started to lay eggs this week, yours should be coming soon. I didnt think it would take this long, the guy at the chicken store said 8 weeks, but it was more like 16 i think.

  42. 8-15
    2:03
    am

    I just found your blog and it’s so cute! I love your writing and commentary. I also have chickens, we just moved and now have an acre, so we decided chickens would be our first try at animals, and we LOVE them! They are so funny with their own personalities! I can easily relate to your experiences. If I’d known how fun it was to have chickens, and how great they are for my little kids I think I would have gotten some years ago! I live in AZ, I’m not sure where you are, but it sounds like a different type climate from what we have here. We don’t have to worry about enough light for them in a day, we have to worry about them not getting too hot and cooking to death in the heat!

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