Posted by: ktzefr | May 16, 2018

Dance Like a Chicken!

Hen and Chick, St. John, USVI; Photo:KFawcett

Did you know that it’s Dance Like a Chicken Day?

I’ve always had a good relationship with fowl.  When I was growing up in Kentucky one of the jobs I could be entrusted to do was feed corn to the chickens and gather eggs.  The hen house had shelves lined with wooden Pepsi and Coke crates (the kind that held 24 single bottles or four cartons of six).  If the dividers were removed from the crate, it made an excellent “nest” for the hen to lay eggs.

My first venture into “bird” watching was watching chickens.  They are sociable eaters, clucking to each other while they munch corn or chicken feed or bugs.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chicken get angry with another chicken.  Roosters get angry.  They scratch the ground like a bull.  They tear into other roosters that encroach on their territory.  

When I was little the local dime store sold colorful baby chicks for Easter.  (I don’t think this practice is allowed anymore.)  One year I got two for Easter — one pink and one purple chick (a female and a male).  I named them Bess and Drew after an aunt and uncle who lived nearby.  I was surprised when the chicks got caught in the rain and their feathers faded.  As they grew and got new plumage they turned out to be plain white chickens.  Unfortunately, Bess got caught beneath the floor of the smokehouse and ended up with a lifelong limp.  They both eventually joined the other chickens in the hen house.  

I remember the soft, warm feel of tummy feathers when I reached under a hen on the nest to gather eggs, and the excitement of hearing the barely audible tick, tick, tick of a new chick pecking its way out of an egg.  

I’ve seen and/or heard chickens in unexpected places — a rooster crowing at dawn from the 9th floor of a highrise in Quito, Ecuador; the hen above strutting around the streets of Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI with her chick; chickens catching bugs in the organic gardens of a favorite breakfast place in Mexico.  They all appear to speak the same language.

But I couldn’t recall ever seeing a chicken dance…until I saw this video.

  

Today, Smithsonian magazine has a great little piece with 14 facts about chickens.  I’ve known chickens for decades, but I didn’t know this: a hen will mate with many different roosters, but if she decides after the fact that she does not want to have offspring from a particular rooster, she can eject his sperm.  Pretty cool, eh?

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Responses

  1. Thanks, Katie! This article and video gave me a good cackle. 😄❤️

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Cackle!! Clever. I love it. 🙂


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