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View Full Version : Do chickens have a death wish?



JoZ
Jan. 29, 2010, 04:14 PM
I know very little about chickens.

On my road, there are a few rundown farms. Land is plentiful since we're in a flood plain (no development and subdivision) so these farms have tens if not hundreds of acres.

One of the farms has free-ranging chickens that are ALWAYS right by the side of the road. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out what is available by the road that isn't available elsewhere on the farm. Any ideas? I thought it might be because the grass is shorter near the road but wouldn't that make the chickens more visible to predators (we have lots of hawks and eagles here)?

Also, although I pass these chickens at a c-r-a-w-l, they seem to be inclined to run right in front of my car. They look at the car, trot a few steps, then DART. How I've avoided killing one (mmmm... dinner) is beyond me.

I actually did hit one once -- it's kind of a funny story. Again I was going barely 1-2 mph but I did hear a BUMP and my heart sank. I looked in the rear view mirror and sure enough there was a chicken lying by the road. One of her (presuming they are all hens but I don't know) buddies ran over and looked at her, and "dead hen" SPRANG to her feet. Hen friend (and I) jumped about two feet in the air. Guess I just stunned her.

Anyway, what IS this attraction for the road and cars? Or are these weird chickens?

kookicat
Jan. 29, 2010, 04:23 PM
Yes. The ones I've known seem to have a death wish.

And you gave me a good giggle thinking of Miss hen laying in the road with all of her friends looking at her! :lol:

Louise
Jan. 29, 2010, 05:01 PM
I don't know a thing about chickens, but, maybe its the grit from the gravel by the side of the road? Or, the fact that they're not the brightest of birds.

Calamber
Jan. 29, 2010, 05:01 PM
They are looking for gravel on the sides of the road, but yes, they do seem to have a death wish and are known to scream out at those times, "PICK AXE"!

Bluey
Jan. 29, 2010, 05:13 PM
Not as bad as ginea fowl.;)

SarEQ
Jan. 29, 2010, 05:32 PM
:lol::lol: At the chicken SPRINGING up!

I really do think they have a death wish. The last farm I worked at had chickens that would try to fight with the ponies for their grain. They'd be stomped and kicked and come back for more.

I also had one hen squeeze herself under a tack trunk... and get stuck. Thing nearly died of dehydration. It was quite pathetic, her friends were very worried about her and alerted me to her troubles, and then babysat her until she recovered. They wouldn't leave her side!

JSwan
Jan. 29, 2010, 05:32 PM
Not as bad as ginea fowl.;)


:lol::lol: True!!! Chickens may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer - but compared to guinea fowl they're Mensa material.

MistyBlue
Jan. 29, 2010, 05:46 PM
Ugh guinea...dumb-arse birds!
Domestic turkeys aren't much better.
There's a very scenic gorgeous farm on the main route near my house. They have pretty much everything there...an ox, emus, mini donks, fainting goats, some sort of exotic looking ducks, 4 horses and 4 roosters & 3 hens.
I'm not sure how these fowl have worked things out, but the roosters all get along and all guard the 3 hens. They cross the road often...the roosters all line up across the road and puff up and glare at vehicles while the ladies cross the road ignoring the cars and the roosters. :lol: If you start inching closer hoping they'll speed up the parade, one rooster will flap to the hood of your truck and give you a REALLY hairy eyeball. :eek: :D
They crack me up every time...and the locals all know to slow down and watch there.
Apparently this is why there are so many "why did the chicken cross the road" jokes. ;)

tkhawk
Jan. 29, 2010, 06:17 PM
Well your neighbour should be glad they don't reside in Kern county CA. Here they gave a $54 ticket to a couple whose chicken crossed the road and hence impeded traffic.

However the couple hired an attorney who got the ticket dismissed. The attorney successfully argued that the chicken was domesticated and hence could not be charged as livestock!:lol::lol:

InstigatorKate
Jan. 29, 2010, 06:57 PM
Ahhh yes, the age-old question of why the chicken crosses the road.....

Donkaloosa
Jan. 29, 2010, 07:30 PM
JSwan is right ---- chickens are Einsteins compared to guinea fowl. You know how you catch a guinea? Put empty tin cans on their sides on the ground, and then chase the guineas. They'll run to the cans, stick their heads in, and then assume that because they can't see you, you can't see them. Like shooting fish in a barrel then to grab them up.

Of course, you can take a chicken or turkey, tuck it's head under it's wing and then rock it back and forth ---- and it will fall asleep. Set it carefully on the ground, catch another... It's hysterical to see a bunch of young "turkey rolls" lying there on the ground --- of course, once you laugh too hard, you wake them all up again.

Calvincrowe
Jan. 30, 2010, 12:13 AM
I can assure you whan hit at speed, chickens resemble feather pillows exploding. My brother and I discovered this one day by the white trash farm up the road from us when we were just kids. Sad, yes. /funny? undoubtedly:lol:

ReSomething
Jan. 30, 2010, 01:37 AM
Absolutely! Seven, who got her name because she was always the last one in, is no more, RIP, she stayed out too long and something got her. The whole batch of them loves to head down to the road and then DD's duty is to round them up. They are staying pretty close to the house right now, we have the old guy who spills his dinner and is convinced that chickens are the devil's minions (but he is getting braver), and the bird feeders. The chickens actually fly up against the pole the bird feeder is on and bump it, shaking out bird seed for themselves.

Maybe there is Good Stuff in the ditches, longer grass, moisture, more bugs?

2DogsFarm
Jan. 30, 2010, 08:17 AM
From my empirical research as a newbie chicken owner, I'd say it's not so much a Death Wish as the inherent belief that the Universe is run for their personal enjoyment.

Anyone who has ever been "discussed" or told off by chickens, to your face, full blast or under their breath, can verify this.
Relative size does not impact chickens, They are of the opinion that They Rule!

JSwan
Jan. 30, 2010, 09:54 AM
Ok - I got some new farm entertainment ideas from this thread.

I'll just add some guineas and turkeys, some tin cans, rock the turkeys to sleep, argue with the chickens over timetables for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan... oh yeah. Big fun. :D

allpurpose
Jan. 30, 2010, 10:03 AM
Jswan, aren't you the one with the "rooster tennis racket" stories?? I think it's time for a re-telling!:lol::lol:

Equibrit
Jan. 30, 2010, 10:04 AM
I actually did hit one once -- it's kind of a funny story. Again I was going barely 1-2 mph but I did hear a BUMP and my heart sunk. I looked in the rear view mirror and sure enough there was a chicken lying by the road. One of her (presuming they are all hens but I don't know) buddies ran over and looked at her, and "dead hen" SPRANG to her feet. Hen friend (and I) jumped about two feet in the air. Guess I just stunned her.


Insurance fraud ?

JSwan
Jan. 30, 2010, 10:08 AM
Jswan, aren't you the one with the "rooster tennis racket" stories?? I think it's time for a re-telling!:lol::lol:

I know y'all think I'm telling a tall tale about that damn thing - but I have PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!! :winkgrin:

My current roosters may be the dumbest creatures I've ever met. It's freezing outside and snowing like crazy. All the hens are in the coop plotting world domination.

The roosters are outside - on the hibachi of all things - asking each other if there is a bit of a draft. Uh - ya think?

Equibrit - good one. :lol:

dotneko
Jan. 30, 2010, 11:44 AM
OK, I totally want chickens now - and guinea fowl
The wild turkeys aren't anywhere near as much fun.

Won't my cats get them though?

MistyBlue
Jan. 30, 2010, 01:50 PM
Wild turkeys are pretty smart compared to domestic turkeys. I *love* when the wild turkeys around here roost in nearby trees. Amuses the hell out of me watching them come out of their roosts in the morning...with as much grace as dropping bowling balls coated in feathers! :lol: Makes both of my horses spook like hell when they see and hear, "Flap, flutter, bonk, flutter, squawk, bonk, flap, THUD!" I swear they bounce off of every brancn on the way down. :winkgrin:
Cats may try to bother hens...but hens fight back usually with a cat. I've seen cats stalk hens and then get the tables turned on them as the hens turn and attack en masse. :lol: Makes the cat all :eek:.

Bluey
Jan. 30, 2010, 02:27 PM
OK, I totally want chickens now - and guinea fowl
The wild turkeys aren't anywhere near as much fun.

Won't my cats get them though?

I think having at least one batch of gineas is some kind of fowl rite of passage.
After that, everything else is no sweat, peacocks, geese, any and all other kinds pale in comparation to gineas, trying to keep them alive and the noise they make.

Imagine a car grinding gears, now that with the volume on loud and every time a leaf blows, all of them do it.:eek:
At least they were good to tell us when rattlers slithered by.:)

The trouble is that with gineas, we had one less every few days, until one day, no more gineas.
I bet we had some well fed coyotes and bobcats.:cry:

Bluey
Jan. 30, 2010, 07:37 PM
For those into chickens, try Haydn Symphony # 83, The Chicken.:winkgrin:

lolalola
Jan. 30, 2010, 08:40 PM
I let my flock free range in the afternoon until dark. Have a seven acre spread. Where do some of them go on occasion? Into the dog pen, with the dogs in it. Guess it's natural selection at work ...

steelerino
Jan. 30, 2010, 09:43 PM
Ummm, I embarassed to say my horse killed ALL of my old roommates chickens. They had a bad habit of eating out of feed bucket while he ate & eating the dropped food from underneath him, which aggrevated my horse to know end. Most were limping from "near death experiences" so they knew my horse meant business and would hurt them but they still did it.

Bluey
Jan. 30, 2010, 09:51 PM
Ummm, I embarassed to say my horse killed ALL of my old roommates chickens. They had a bad habit of eating out of feed bucket while he ate & eating the dropped food from underneath him, which aggrevated my horse to know end. Most were limping from "near death experiences" so they knew my horse meant business and would hurt them but they still did it.


Maybe chickens today just have a poorly developed self preservation sense.
They will run squawking from something, but right into something else and not learn.
They keep doing it, forgetting they had to run from that same before.
Really, they need to be confined for their own safety.
Free roaming chickens tend to be short lived ones.;)
Thankfully, they seem just as content in a chicken yard as running loose.:)

We need to start breeding smarter chickens, thats it.:yes:

Equibrit
Jan. 31, 2010, 10:09 AM
The world is not ready for smarter chickens.

Bluey
Jan. 31, 2010, 10:12 AM
The world is not ready for smarter chickens.

True dat.:eek:

annikak
Jan. 31, 2010, 12:38 PM
True dat.:eek:

LOL

2DogsFarm
Feb. 1, 2010, 12:06 PM
The world is not ready for smarter chickens.

Amen!:eek:
The last thing I need is to come home and find them on the couch with the TV turned on to Oprah

JSwan - you can post those pics AFTER you retell the Rooster Racket story.
I never heard it the first time :no:
Um...was the hibachi lit when your roos perched there?

foggybok
Feb. 1, 2010, 03:15 PM
OK, I totally want chickens now - and guinea fowl
The wild turkeys aren't anywhere near as much fun.

Won't my cats get them though?

I'd be more worried about the chooks getting the cats... I have two cats, one of which weighs in at 25# of hulking muscle.... The chooks chase him around the yard..... I saw one of them chase him around the apple tree the other day. The chicken eventually treed the cat. Wish I had my camera that day :)

foggybok
Feb. 1, 2010, 03:21 PM
I think having at least one batch of gineas is some kind of fowl rite of passage.
After that, everything else is no sweat, peacocks, geese, any and all other kinds pale in comparation to gineas, trying to keep them alive and the noise they make.

Imagine a car grinding gears, now that with the volume on loud and every time a leaf blows, all of them do it.:eek:
At least they were good to tell us when rattlers slithered by.:)

The trouble is that with gineas, we had one less every few days, until one day, no more gineas.
I bet we had some well fed coyotes and bobcats.:cry:

A friend of mine had Guineas.... One night at 4 in the morning, they started making noise..... her husband got up to check out the ruckus.... after a few minutes, she heard a series of shots, then silence.... :(

Hubby crawled back in bed mumbling about one too many sleepless nights.... :eek:

foggybok
Feb. 1, 2010, 04:25 PM
Chicken with a death wish...

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1120ap_us_odd_fugitive_chicken.html?source=mypi

:)

PRS
Feb. 1, 2010, 05:24 PM
I have had as many as 2 dozen chickens at one time. They like to play tag with the neighborhood fox though :( . Years ago I had a little black chinese silkie rooster that definitely had a death wish. He would run up behind you and stomp his feet, that would be all the warning you got before he'd fly up and spur you. If you turned to face him he would only get worse. I used him for football practice ;), offered him swimming lessons ;) and even tried to teach him to fly ;), a dog carried him off one day but a neighbor made the dog drop him. He showed back up 2 days later with a little hitch in his giddy-up but otherwise fine. One day he put yet two more holes in my leg and really pissed me off. I grabbed a piece of lumber and chased him around the house a couple of times then finally got close enough to whack him with the board. He fell over "dead". I went to tell my husband what I had done and get the shovel to bury his little body. By the time I got within 2 feet of him with the shovel the little demon popped up on his feet and ran under the chicken coop. The thing lived to terrorize our family for two more years, I finally found him dead of "natural" causes under the chicken coop.

PRS
Feb. 1, 2010, 05:25 PM
Chicken with a death wish...

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1120ap_us_odd_fugitive_chicken.html?source=mypi

:)

Ha!ha! All they have to do is find where she is roosting at night and grab her. Chickens don't like to move around in the dark.

PRS
Feb. 1, 2010, 05:30 PM
Oh, I agree 100% with the guinia hens being the stupidest fowl around. A neighbor had a whole flock of the things...they would stand on the side of the road and watch a car come down the road. When it was almost upon them, then the whole flock would attempt to cross the road. They were wiped out 3 and 4 at a time that way. Stupid birds.

JSwan
Feb. 1, 2010, 05:56 PM
A recent episode of Dirty Jobs had Mike Rowe and some cops chasing a bunch of chickens around. I think the chickens won.:D

I like Mike Rowe and thought he and the cops had a great sense of humor about the whole thing. There is nothing dignified about trying to catch a chicken.

TBMaggie
Feb. 1, 2010, 09:41 PM
How to Catch A Chicken: Tie a long string to a kernel of corn. Place in area where there are chickens that need catching. Wait....wait...wait.....

Lead chicken home.:)

Bluey
Feb. 2, 2010, 07:47 AM
How to Catch A Chicken: Tie a long string to a kernel of corn. Place in area where there are chickens that need catching. Wait....wait...wait.....

Lead chicken home.:)


How to catch a chicken, if you don't have corn and a string:

Get a baling wire and twist it around itself, so it becomes stiffer.
Make a U on the end, with the open tail a little wider and if you are tall, you may want to make the straight part a little curved, to better reach under.
Walk around the chickens like you were not paying them any attention.

Once close to your target, SLOWLY move your hook closer and closer, underhanded and from behind, to the chicken in question and swiftly but gently pick it up by one leg with the hook, so it is going :eek: but not quite alarmed yet and then hold chicken in your arms.
They generally don't do anything at all, just give you the hairy eye while in your arms.

If your chicken objects, you missed some step in there.
It takes practice, but chickens are not that dumb.
If you practice too much, they may not like you around them, at all.
We learned that as kids and it works, but we better not disturb the chickens, or we would hear about it.;)