Friday, December 5, 2008

Some Smart Chickens


Last night was very cold, below freezing, and I made a mistake. I forgot to plug in the chicken water bowl, which heats and doesn't freeze. As a result, this morning, there was ice in the bowl and not water. When I went to check on them at noon, I discovered the mistake - and also learned the chickens had derived a very clever solution to it. The four chickens had cooperated to all press down on one side of the ice until it tipped and gave them a little water on one side. Then they took turns taking little drinks from the side they tipped down. I saw them all press with their beaks. This impressed me, I have to say.

Simon, the dog, is very good at getting water when a bowl is full of ice. He knows how to tip the bowl and get the ice out, and how to tip it enough to get the water on the bottom that isn't frozen without tipping it all the way and letting the water drain out. Simon has water in the house, but he plays with the outdoor water that's frozen. I've seen other dogs do similar things, but then, I know dogs are smart.

The chickens - I wasn't expecting this. I will try not to forget the chicken water plug in for the rest of the winter...but I thought it was cool they solved the problem on their own. Athena (light golden one on the right) is looking like a new chicken - post molt with her new feathers there is no longer a bare spot made by a rooster. Gwen is also looking great, though still finishing her molt - all the scars from the fox incident should be gone now. I have also learned that the chickens don't lay in winter - no eggs at all. Which is just as well since it's freezing.

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