The little chickens have been more nervous and shy than the previous two flocks we acquired (Caroline, Daisy, and Ella in the first batch, and Nony, Pippi, and Heidi (RIP, RIF) in the second batch). Not sure if it’s breed, coincidence of personality, or what.
But “we” made progress this morning: they ate from my hands for the first time–beet greens, of course. They love beet greens so there was more motivation to get over their trepidation.
I had tried to feed them bites before, as well as stick out a handful of greens bouquet-style to eat. They were generally curious, but way too shy. They would, however, happily eat bites that I passed through the fence.
For some reason, this morning was different. Still some caution and nervousness, but Scruffy was the first to nibble from the beet green bouquet. Cleo and Beaker gained confidence once he did. And Hawkeye, predictably, was the last to try.
It’s funny how you get to know chickens and their personalities. Cleo, for instance, was the calmest of the group. Once she realized that this was a good way to get delicious beet greens, she quietly nibbled away. Beaker, true to form, was a complete spaz. She would dash in, nab a bite, and dart off. Or she snatched bites from one of the others. She even stretched herself up and tried to get the large green hanging out of Scruffy’s beak, even though he is about twice her size. What she lacks in size and normal beak-dom, she more than makes up in gumption. And sweet Hawkeye tended to run up, get a bite, and carry it off to eat by herself. Their beet green eating styles pretty much represent their chicken personalities.
By eating from my hand, they’ve taken another step toward domestication. However, some questions follow:
Who brings and feeds them chicken treats? Who refills their water and feed containers? Who cleans up their poopy mobile coop and gives them fresh straw? Who is domesticating whom?