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Do chickens have a death wish?

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  • Do chickens have a death wish?

    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?
    Last edited by JoZ; Jan. 30, 2010, 12:12 PM. Reason: sank vs. sunk is confusing
    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
    Starman

  • #2
    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!
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

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    • #3
      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.
      If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
      Desmond Tutu

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      • #4
        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"!
        Last edited by Calamber; Jan. 30, 2010, 12:20 AM.
        "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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        • #5
          Not as bad as ginea fowl.

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          • #6
            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!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
              Not as bad as ginea fowl.

              True!!! Chickens may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer - but compared to guinea fowl they're Mensa material.
              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
              -Rudyard Kipling

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              • #8
                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. 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.
                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.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!
                ...Belefonte

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                • #9
                  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!

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                  • #10
                    Ahhh yes, the age-old question of why the chicken crosses the road.....

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                    • #11
                      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.

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                      • #12
                        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
                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                        • #13
                          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?
                          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                          Incredible Invisible

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                          • #14
                            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!
                            *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                            Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                            Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                            Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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                            • #15
                              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.
                              Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                              Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                              -Rudyard Kipling

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                              • #16
                                Jswan, aren't you the one with the "rooster tennis racket" stories?? I think it's time for a re-telling!
                                Last edited by allpurpose; Jan. 30, 2010, 10:03 AM. Reason: Puncheation!
                                Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by JoZ View Post
                                  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 ?
                                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by allpurpose View Post
                                    Jswan, aren't you the one with the "rooster tennis racket" stories?? I think it's time for a re-telling!
                                    I know y'all think I'm telling a tall tale about that damn thing - but I have PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!

                                    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.
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling

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                                    • #19
                                      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?
                                      www.settlementfarm.us

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                                      • #20
                                        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! 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.
                                        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. Makes the cat all .
                                        You jump in the saddle,
                                        Hold onto the bridle!
                                        Jump in the line!
                                        ...Belefonte

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