My Life With Gracie…Secret Signals

Secret Signals

There are times when my chickens seem to squabble about the least little thing. They may have plenty of pieces of their favorite food, particularly banana, but occasionally will ignore the ones right in front of them, and want the ones in front of someone else! But these times are very rare and most often based on pecking order.

It’s completely different when they are free-ranging and “on the hunt.” A low, almost imperceptible noise is made by the one who is onto the track of “fresh prey.” Suddenly everyone forgets about what they’re doing and runs to that spot as quickly and quietly as they can.

When that happens, there’s no squabbling. It’s more of a group effort so someone, anyone, can capture whatever tasty morsel has been discovered. Though the lucky hunter will often still run around with the prize while the others give chase for the fun of it, clearly they are all in it together!

At first, that secret signal was imperceptible to me. I would just see everyone moving in a flash to the same place. Then I learned to listen for it and enjoyed their hunt even more.

This seems to be all very different from the world of people. Our impulse is most often to devour what is in front of us (or secure it away for later) and then go after what our neighbor has. I think I read once that we are the only species which makes a sport of preying on its own kind.

If we think we have found something of value, we keep it to ourselves. We don’t want others (and particularly people we don’t like) to have what we may have a chance of owning. Even if there is a plentiful supply, we don’t want everyone to have what we have.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons I enjoy the company of my chickens so much. They often act the opposite of people, but I’m not quite ready to give up completely on people! There will always be those who hope and share and signal others to come and enjoy what they have found.

My Life With Gracie showed me how when you find a good thing, you can’t help but share it.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

Secret Signals

My Life With Gracie…My Little Olympians

My Little Olympians

Spring is a perfect time to raise baby chicks. Of course, I’m saying this from a chicken’s perspective. Yes, spring is the Easter season, but to a chicken it’s also “worm season”!

With the frequent spring showers, there are worms everywhere! Every morning I would lift up the pavers and bricks and logs scattered around my back yard and collect earthworms for my chick. It was instant frenzy as soon as I tossed a worm into their brooder box.

Whoever got to it first would take it and run! Everyone would follow, hoping to grab it away from the lucky chick who was being chased! Each worm would get passed around several times before one really lucky chick figured a way to dodge and block the others while maneuvering into a good spot long enough to gobble the worm down. Victory!

Around and around they would go in their big oval gray brooder. With their water bottle and food dish in the center, it was very much like a sports stadium. They were my little Olympians competing in the “Worm Olympics”! I’m unsure who looked forward to it the most each morning: them or me!

It really did take considerable skill to figure out how to keep others from snatching the worm away while moving into a position to be able to gobble down the worm. Turning this way and that, dodging and then almost colliding with each other all added to the excitement.

They were hilariously entertaining. There was only one direction to go: forward! And only one speed: as fast as their little feet would carry them!

It was their game, and somehow they made up their own rules. They owned it. I was just the referee who supplied the “worm toss” to start each contest.

Maybe for my chickens, it was perhaps more about having such great fun with their game. There was never any quarreling over who finally got the worm. There were always plenty of worms. (I saw to that!)

Too often with people, I see it being more about greediness over an imagined limited supply of goodness. There is never a scarcity of the truly good things.

My Life With Gracie taught me it isn’t always possible to have your worm and eat it too. And that’s okay.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

My Little Olympians