After I put them out (carrying them a few at a time in a laundry basket, mind you-not the lightest job in the world), I sat and spent a few minutes with them to watch them and see if they would settle in nicely.
Of course, quite a few went right for the all-you-can eat buffet...
Some went for the open bar...
And a couple chose to sunbathe.
But you know what I saw when I watched them? That most of everything I've ever heard about these birds is untrue. I've heard they're stupid, and I've heard they're lazy. I've heard that their "chickeness" has been bred right out of them, and they do nothing but lay around all day long. None of that is true. First of all, they're not stupid, not by any means. They know exactly who I am. Now that they are on 12 hours on/12 hours off with food (trying to prevent heart attacks here), they know that when when I walk in the door, it's time to eat, so they come rundling*. They don't do that for anyone else here. And they seem to trust me, and that's not stupid. Stupid is flying into an insane crazy frenzy when you're approached by anyone and everyone. They don't do that.
|This guy let me pet him a little|
|And then he was quickly joined by a friend|
|And then some more friends.|
|I don't know if they're close enough|
So no, not stupid. Lazy? Let's look at that for a second. These chickens have been bred by man to put on as much weight as possible in a very short time. Their frames are heavy. It's not easy for them to move. I have noticed that when they are in the brooder, which is pretty crowded and there isn't anything to do but eat, all they do is eat. But put them outside, it's a whole other story. They do the same things other chickens do, only in short bursts. They do scratch, they do sunbathe, they take dirt baths, and they do rundle* around with tasty morsels in their beaks. The big difference that I can see is that they sit down quite a bit more. But you put on a lot of weight and tell me that you're just as active as a skinny person. Ain't gonna happen.
|Curious about the tape measure|
The biggest observation I made today? They looked very happy. And you know what? That made me happy. The nicest thing about farming, I think, has been how many opportunities it has afforded me to feel just really happy. Deep-down-right-in-my-soul happy. It's quite a feeling.
I'd like to think I'll do right by them before it's their time to go. I think that would be quite an achievement.
*Rundling/to rundle--a cross between running and waddling. Didn't know that? That's because I made it up!