May. 25th, 2013

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So I was planning (chicken-wise) to get two Speckled Sussex, and one each Australorp, Easter Egger, and Barred (Plymouth) Rock. Buuuuut I'm kind of afraid we won't be able to tell the two Sussex apart, especially since how they look changes slightly over their life (they get more white speckles as they age). So I think we'll get one Rhode Island Red in place of the second Sussex; they're also good layers, just slightly less personable apparently.

We're going to buy the plans today (Wichita Cabin Coop) and start leveling the ground/moving some plants that are in the way.
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I think my favorite thing about scientific words regarding animals/animal behavior is that there are so many extant precise synonyms, because it's talked about rarely enough that we're still using (especially for long-domesticated animals like chickens) words from so long ago that there wasn't a lot of easy communication between different researchers, even when they spoke the same language. For example, 'precocial' and 'nidifugous' are both terms to describe animals that can feed themselves from birth.

I think the reason I like it is because it demonstrates how far back human inquisitiveness and the concept of science itself goes, because these terms still apply to how we understand animals today, they're not obsolete.

Also, I am currently reading about the various chicken sounds and their meanings as described by a natural scientist. This one is very interesting to me:

"Nesting call is used by a hen looking for a site she feels is suitable for laying eggs. A cock will make a similar, but more intensely excited, sound to show a hen a potential nest site, which might be a gap between bales of straw or a nook behind an open door. When he gabbles, he nestles into the spot as if he is going to lay an egg himself. A lot of times the cock is ignored, but occasionally a hen will check out the spot he's found and create a duet by responding with her own song."

First of all, lol, roosters are hilariously adorable. Second of all, holophrase! A lot of people vastly underestimate how similar other animals with verbal communication are to us (in terms of communicating).

Also, this:

"The eyes on the side of a chicken's head give it a larger range of peripheral vision but a smaller range of binocular vision, compared to birds and other creatures (including humans) with eyes at the front, who focus on objects with both eyes. By contrast, a chicken has a right-eye system and a left-eye system, each with different and complementary capabilities.

The right-eye system works best for activities requiring recognition, such as identifying items of food. The left-eye system works best for activities involving depth perception, which is why a chicken watching an approaching hawk is likely to peer warily at the raptor out of her left eye."


This is from Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens btw

P.S. OMG this is ingenious. A way to let chickens help with gardening without having to worry about them getting to seedlings/ripe fruit, or contaminating food with contagions:

"Surround the garden with a double-fenced chicken yard, or "moat," creating a bug-free, weed-free zone that also discourages entry by garden plant marauders"

I would personally probably also want to separate the plants into easily sectionable areas by growing season/duration so I can let the chickens at the beds after harvest and immediately before planting new plants too, because I am the laziest gardener in the world and am all for anybody doing 50%+ of the work for me.


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