Chickens are so funny & curious creatures. Our chickens are heritage breeds and from the same hen, who is from an organic farm. We've had them since they were less than a month old. I would say that they reached adult size in 4 months. Unfortunately, it turns out that out of the 10 chicks we received, three were roosters.
We recently said goodbye to the roosters and will now have to acquire one from another flock. The rooster's job is to fertilize the eggs, if you want chicks, round-up the hens from getting too far from the coop, etc. Some say that fertilized egg are 400 x more nutritious. That remains to be someone's dissertation work.
The hens make what I would describe as "therapeutic, calming sounds" that I love!
Different sounds, different names, all good :)
We feed them really nutritious meals like organic feed (that we ferment for better digestion), fresh vegetables & plants from the garden/property (such as kale, parsley, chickweed, clover, purslane, etc.), pulp from juicing, watermelon and cantaloupe, rinds, soured milk....
Chickens also seem to have human-like personalities & characteristics. Ranging from docile, lady-like, curious, intrigued, cautious, alarmist, opportunist, playful, talkative, investigative, dominant, vocal, suspicious, annoying to others, nimble, resilient, social,...
There are of course instances where roosters, in establishing dominance, can fight until blood is drawn and unfortunately once they see red/blood, it seems they instinctively gang-up and peck that one to death.
It took our hens 8 months before two of them finally started laying, yay!
I honestly didn't think that late November would be the start date. What with the colder weather & shorter days. So far, we've had 5 eggs in 4 days. 3 blue-green and 2 brown-ones.
There are so many chicken idioms & sayings developed over the centuries that we are only now really understanding the origins & the true meanings of.
Here are just a few;
1. Chicken. Well I think that we all know that-one, lol. They come up to us as they are curious or in hope of receiving treats. At first we viewed these large puffed-up relatives of dinosaurs as something to watch-out for but we eventually realized that the slightest abrupt movement by us sets them turning on a dime & running for dear life.
But perhaps the point of the term "chicken" is not so much that they are cautious or scaredy-cats but that they continue to be scared for no reason, despite having only known us to be safe, protective & food bearers.
"Chickening out" is a another closely related term.
2. Sticking your neck out. When the chicks arrived in May, we put them in a large storage tub with feed, sawdust, water & a hot-water bottle to cozy-up to because they were orphans. We covered the tub partially with it's lid so that they couldn't jump out. But every once in a while, some of them would stretch their necks out of the crowd to see what was all happening outside of the tub/nest. The danger lays in getting your head chopped-off as you are being exposed.
3. Chicken scratch. Referring to illegible writing resembling a messy bunch of alphabet.
4 Starting from scratch. Scratch is a starter feed for chicks. You cannot feed chicks laying feed. different ingredients. You cannot start successful. You have to work your way up to it.
5. Counting your chicks before they hatch. There a few reasons why eggs might not hatch. The most obvious being no rooster to fertilize the egg or no sitting/brooding hen. Similarly in our businesses etc. endeavours, there are many hurdles or factors for why one cannot or should not automatically assume that plans would work flawlessly and absolutely.
6. No spring chicken. To not be so nimble, fast on your feet or productive.
7. Coming home to roost. Karma-like. Eventually we have to suffer the consequences of our actions.
8. Putting all eggs in one basket. To diversify instead of risking everything.
9. Pecking order. There is a hierarchy that decides who gets to eat first & who gets to sleep on the highest roost as with our species, unfortunately.
10. Scarcer than hens teeth. Most birds don't have teeth. This is why you sometimes see birds in the middle of the road pecking at something. What they are actually doing is finding grit to swallow. In their guts, they help breakdown their swallowed food.
11. To sneak the sunrise past a rooster. To accomplish something very difficult.