Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A bundle of Buckeyes

Recently the Buckeyes were released from their chick yard and allowed to pasture.  Like the goats, they have been entertaining in their own right.

It's hard to believe that the chicks are only three months old.  The girls are still too little to be laying however the boys are already trying out their crowing.  At this age, Bucky & Party Boy's crow sounds more like someone blowing party horns than a rooster fiercely defending his flock.
The Amerucaunas, Party Boy and his girls, have been separated from the other chicks and moved in with the older girls.  Things were a little busy out in chickenland, while they worked and reworked the pecking order.  It's all been worked out now and the chicks are cuddled in next to their new friends.  Bucky is now the big boy in charge of troop Buckeye.
Whenever the buckeyes go outside, they stick together.  Watching them reminds me of the book/essay 'Everything I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten'.  Those few basic rules seem to apply to all sorts of critters.
  • Share everything.  (whenever a tasty bit is found in the pasture, the chick loudly announces herself and the others come running.)
  • Play fair. (arguments are short and settled quickly)
  • Don't hit people. (no tussling)
  • Put things back where you found them. (not a strong point)
  • Clean up your own mess. (not something chickens are known for)
  • Don't take things that aren't yours. (that's what the pecking order is all about)
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. (the girls calm each other by grooming and preening)
  • Wash your hands before you eat. (preen before and after having snacks)
  • Flush. (chickens like to be in a clean place.  My job is to keep it that way.)
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. (the chickies get garden scraps and bread bits: yum!)
  • Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. (play, graze, nap, and preen: remember: life is good)
  • Take a nap every afternoon. (those shady places near the fence can be a lovely place to settle down for a nap with a friend.)
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. (nearly all the buckeyes  graze together as a group.  Within that group, one can quickly spot the subgroups of chicky friends: groups of two or more chickies that share, play, and groom each other.  If someone calls an alarm, they all bunch together and run as a group for the nearest shelter.)
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.  (Yes, even chickens are curious about their world.  This is why we have to watch over them to keep them out of trouble.)
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.  (It's a hard fact that life on the farm means celebrating life and accepting death.  Chicks are resilient little things but sometimes the unexpected happens.  The others will look for their now missing friend.  A few days later, things will settle back to normal.)
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.  (It can be a bit funny how they follow us about, watching what we do.  If allowed they will get right under our feet, looking and scratching for tasty treats.  this is what makes the Buckeye a great, all around chicken: they're friendly, curious, and fairly self reliant.)
Bucky the rooster

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