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Chickens are so very stupid...

 
pollinator
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I went to put the birds to bed just now, after a day of free ranging. Did the head count, one bird missing.

Went poking my nose around the likely places and eventually found her. She had decided that the perfect place to "roost" for the night was on the ground, with just her head stuck in a bush and the rest poking out. That's one dumb bird that wouldn't survive in the wild without an overly indulgent owner doing her thinking for her. She seemed quite indignant when I roused her from her slumber to take her home.
 
gardener
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Maybe she thinks she's an ostrich. ;)
 
pollinator
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Who knew stupid birds could be so entertaining!? LOL

One of my birds has recently decided she wants to roost at night with her head inside the coop, but her hiney outside. She blocks the door to the coop and doesn't let the others in. So there's been a nightly traffic jam of sorts, where a chicken butt is blocking the entrance.

I solved the issue by closing that particular door. The birds must use the bigger door (the one I can fit through) to get in/out.

Sometimes I wonder what goes on inside those bird brains!
 
pollinator
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I have one who seems worryingly smart sometimes.

Among other things, she likes to "supervise" when I'm refilling the feeder. Yesterday morning when I was doing that, I commented to her about how there weren't any eggs to collect.

As soon as I said that, she jumped to a particular spot and started digging in the straw with her beak. Then she started doing these weird neck contortions and then . . .

. . . She rolled 2 eggs out from under the straw where they'd gotten buried, and pushed them toward me until they were close enough I could reach.


She's an awesome chickie, but at the same time, WTF?!
 
gardener
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Michael Cox wrote:I went to put the birds to bed just now, after a day of free ranging. Did the head count, one bird missing.

Went poking my nose around the likely places and eventually found her. She had decided that the perfect place to "roost" for the night was on the ground, with just her head stuck in a bush and the rest poking out. That's one dumb bird that wouldn't survive in the wild without an overly indulgent owner doing her thinking for her. She seemed quite indignant when I roused her from her slumber to take her home.


Is it possible there's a reason she didn't want to go in to roost with the others though? Perhaps bullying from other hens? Might not be the case here, I've just seen many instances of people calling chickens dumb when clearly, the chickens were afraid or were having an issue.
 
Michael Cox
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No issues like that. I think she was just really busy enjoying her freedom and they all left her behind when they went to bed. They don't often get to free range outside their main run, so were out of routine.
 
Posts: 132
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Stupid Chickens?
OMG. I have stories.
I have stories of Smart Chickens, too, but they're harder to document.

I keep Dorkings, Silver Grey ones. We have had them before and they are delightfully mellow, intelligent, and chill. Like I imagine a hippie chicken might be.
For the most part, they seem to be as smart as any other breed, and they do play tricks on each other, but when they are stupid?

I only really allow and encourage my hens to set when they're at least two years old. There are a bunch of reasons for that, but the main one is that a chicken that makes it to 2 years is Not Stupid where it counts. They are survivors.
Except you get a few ....
Last year one of my Dorkings decided to go broody. It was a year early, and I started working on dissuading her, until she started hiding.
Apparently I'm the Ravenous Bloodblatter Beast of Traal and couldn't find her if she couldn't see me. (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference)
She would flip a basket up and over her head so she was invisible.
IMG_20200525_202336865.jpg
Not The Brightest Chicken
Not The Brightest Chicken
IMG_20200525_202350507.jpg
She's perfectly hidden, except not
She's perfectly hidden, except not
 
Kristine Keeney
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Different kind of stupid chicken

I had a few hens decide they were broody and ended up putting goose eggs in their nests.
This lovely Lavender Spotted Orpington decided *behind the goose nest*, as far as possible under the back porch steps was the absolute perfect place to brood.
The goose nest is in front. Currently, there are 15 eggs (I think there are 17 eggs in the picture - I remove the Bad Eggs as I find them, and finally have a buyer for some of the fresh ones (and any advice on goose egg pricing is appreciated)).

So The Orpington started with 2 goose eggs and quickly determined that she could handle more and would steal them from the goose nest. After 5 days of arguing about it, I gave up. If she thinks she can hatch out 3 or 4 goose eggs, I'm going to let her.
And a Crazy Broody Dorking hen decided to set the entire goose nest. All of them. Right in front of the Orpington. And she's vicious with her pecks, but also tries to squirrel away the occasional chicken egg, so I have to deal with the pair of them. I kind of hope they hatch a couple of goslings. I'm apparently looking for some drama as we head into Spring.
IMG_20210429_092911736.jpg
Broody Orpington behind the goose nest
Broody Orpington behind the goose nest
 
Kristine Keeney
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Oh, I can't forget about High Jump.
Tuesday evening, I go collect eggs and do my daily head count. I'm a bird short. I look around, make sure I have locations on all the hens. They're fine (or crazy, but I know where they are).
I have Tailless, but .... nope. High Jump is missing.

Early in the day, when I gathered the feed together, most of the flock joined me in the "back back" yard, that's behind the backyard and a bit of untouched second succession recovery from pasture. There's another fenced bit behind and to the back of the shed that had been the original chicken yard, but was too far from the house for safety's sake.
I had noticed High Jump (a lovely bird of indistinct parentage we acquired as a chick in May of 2020) was running the fence in the old chicken yard portion, seemingly unable to find his way to the main yard.
I allow the chickens to run the yards. The chain link is 4ft high, and all of them, that I know of, have jumped the fence several times. It's not that high, they can see where they are going, it's cool.
I have several hens who will go and forage back there, and come back to hang out with the rest of the flock.

So I think for a minute. I've checked the trees, the shrubbery, the brush pile. Nope.
I go to the back back chicken yard. Because he can't be *that* stupid as to not be able to jump the fence back into the yard, can he? Really?
Yep. He was perched and snoozing on the top rail of the fence that led to the yard he *should* have been able to just jump back into.
Stupid bird.
IMG_20200816_202158617.jpg
High Jump in the roosting area getting razzed by an Ameraucana
High Jump in the roosting area getting razzed by an Ameraucana
 
Stacie Kim
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...any advice on goose egg pricing is appreciated)



There is a wide assortment of fertilized goose eggs available on Ebay. Perhaps browsing through the listings will give you some ideas for pricing yours?

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2553941.m570.l2632&_nkw=fertilized+goose+eggs&_sacat=11748
 
gardener
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So I am talking to someone I don’t want to talk to on the phone as I walk across my back yard.  That is when I notice the roof of my hay shed ..with maybe 25 eggs on it.
 
pioneer
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My wife kept some chickens in a tractor for a few years. One hen hatched a couple of chicks and was probably the best mother I've ever seen.
The ramp to the nesting boxes had been destroyed. Somehow she conveyed to those chicks to jump up on her back and then into the boxes. Every night I watched in awe as they performed their trick until they could fly up themselves.
She also had the chicks try new stuff. I put some cantaloupe rinds and seeds in the tractor for the first time since the chicks arrival. Mama hen picked some tiny pieces out and one by one gave it to the chicks. They loved it and went to town as Mama stepped back to watch them gorge. When they got all they wanted she got the rest.
Chickens in general are pretty stupid, I agree, but there are some that are freaky smart.
 
pollinator
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If as a species we humans judge any animals to be "stupid" by our standards, I wonder - in whatever way their own evolved brains may work - how "stupid" or even ridiculous animals must think humans are for training them or trying to train them or condition them to behave in ways that are unnatural to their species and their own particular needs?

 
Kristine Keeney
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Nick Truscott wrote:If as a species we humans judge any animals to be "stupid" by our standards, I wonder - in whatever way their own evolved brains may work - how "stupid" or even ridiculous animals must think humans are for training them or trying to train them or condition them to behave in ways that are unnatural to their species and their own particular needs?



Considering that I have to encourage them to *Not Chase* the school bus, or the feral dog from down the street, and they will graze while I play an ocarina at them, my geese can make any decision they want to about my mental acuity and lack of proper goosishness, as long as they remember I'm the Food Bringer.
They have learned several hand and "arm" signs, and I bow to them as they do to me, so there is communication of a sort going on. We understand the broader generalities of each other. If they think I'm crazy for not wanting to join them in a rousing spot of splashing, or I think they should be better about not poking the chickens when they are in a mood, we haven't found a way to discuss it, yet.

The chickens, in my experience, don't care for any aspect of my behavior, unless it involves providing them with food, water, shelter, or shade. That I am able to scare edible things from the trees and insects from the ground (because rocks and leverage)is proof of my magic as The Food Bringer. I am allowed certain liberties because I can make magic, even if they would prefer more bread and meat and fewer odd vegetable things.
 
steward & bricolagier
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Kristine Keeney wrote:
That I am able to scare edible things from the trees and insects from the ground (because rocks and leverage)is proof of my magic as The Food Bringer.



My chickens were very smart, just had their own agenda. I had an itty bitty Kubota tractor and they learned fast that it kicked up bugs. I'd drive it across the grass, look back and see 10 chickens running frantically to keep up. When I slowed down though, to do something like scoop up some dirt, they wanted to be in the shade while they waited for me to make bug magic, so they'd go under the tractor. As I moved the tractor they'd walk between the front wheels, the better to be first to see what is visible when the bucket was lifted. These are birds who were terrified if I wore a skirt, because it would move in the wind, who are under the motor of a diesel tractor. I had to put a bandana on a stick to wave at them to get them away from the tractor; I'm their rooster, I take care of them, I would not hurt them (unless I have a skirt on) so they were absolutely not afraid of the tractor. I had to be careful with the brush cutter, they had no fear of it at all, would run behind it, and I had to watch when I turned to loop back....

Chicken tractor!


 
Kristine Keeney
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These are birds who were terrified if I wore a skirt, because it would move in the wind, who are under the motor of a diesel tractor.  



I have certain outfits that I wear while mucking about outside. They are some form of comfortable knit pants, a T-shirt, an old long sleeved work shirt, gloves and a hat. If I wear a different hat than the usual, wear a skirt because skirts are wonderful, or change some other article into something the chickens haven't seen as often, I get the "It's Going To Eat US!" mad dash. The geese used to take offense of any wardrobe changes, but are now a little more relaxed about my fashion choices.

Skirts are a sign of Evil, you know. So are woven plastic fiber tarps, brooms, large tree branches that aren't attached to trees, and Strange People in the yard.
 
Michael Cox
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Was it the skirts at fault, or the pasty white ankles flashing at them?

Warm weather here now and it can be quite dazzling to walk down the street. Various shades of skin on show from bright white to HOT pink.
 
Michael Dotson
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Michael Cox wrote:...the pasty white ankles flashing at them?


I call that being extremely Caucasian 🤣
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Kristine Keeney wrote:

These are birds who were terrified if I wore a skirt, because it would move in the wind, who are under the motor of a diesel tractor.  



I have certain outfits that I wear while mucking about outside. They are some form of comfortable knit pants, a T-shirt, an old long sleeved work shirt, gloves and a hat. If I wear a different hat than the usual, wear a skirt because skirts are wonderful, or change some other article into something the chickens haven't seen as often, I get the "It's Going To Eat US!" mad dash. The geese used to take offense of any wardrobe changes, but are now a little more relaxed about my fashion choices.

Skirts are a sign of Evil, you know. So are woven plastic fiber tarps, brooms, large tree branches that aren't attached to trees, and Strange People in the yard.




The time I learned that my hens have spurs, I was checking on them while wearing an outfit that was very un-me. 4 of the 5 hens ran for cover, while that smart, brave girl who is always my favorite, launched herself claws-first into the back of my shoulder.

I was really glad the jacket I had on was heavy-duty canvas! She still left a mark.

I make sure to talk to them before I get close after that.
 
Kristine Keeney
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I completely understand. Chickens, and animals in general, are ignored or discounted by foolish people one time, only.

Kudos for that one brave hen who decided to stand her ground and drive off The Monster. Such a Good Hen!

We forget that chickens are modern day dinosaurs at our peril. You can be certain they have never forgotten. My little velociraptors are never too forgetful about how dangerous they could be, if they decided to swarm.
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