If you watch and study chickens long enough, you begin to know exactly what they are thinking and feeling by their tail feathers. They are like little flags sticking up and signaling the world all of their thoughts and emotions.
Since people don’t have tail feathers, I think this is called “body language” rather than “tail feather language.” Chickens don’t have a name for it.
This wasn’t anything I really thought about until I started working on some of the scenery and props for “The Rose Garden Princess,” our own backyard ballet production. With scrap lumber and paint buckets and tools spread out everywhere, tail feathers were practically all of my chickens I could see sometimes!
There were chicken tail feathers up, down, sideways. There were chicken tail feathers spread out, gathered together, fanned apart. Everything means something different about what is happening and how they are feeling.
It’s no surprise how protective chickens are of their feathers, particularly their tail feathers. They are one big way chickens have to communicate with each other…and with anyone who is willing to learn their “tail feather language.”
But there was one tail feather movement Amelia was making I just could not figure out. It was sort of a straight up in the air semi-circular movement first one way and then the other. So I asked her what it meant.
She looked at me as if I had asked the most ridiculous question in the world. “Do you mind? I have an itch back there!”
And so it goes. Never a dull moment! Be curious. Be creative. Be adventurous.
My Life With Gracie gave me great pleasure while I watched the curious tail feathers of my chickens discovering our next creative adventure.
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