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.
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