Mealworms in the Snow Mama and Chicks in the Snow
We were surprised to look out the window on Veteran’s Day morning to see nearly six inches of snow outside. The predicted snow skiff turned into a dump, and we soon fired up the snowblower and put the shovels to use. This much snow in early November is unusual.
Just before we started shoveling, our chickens demonstrated their amazing ability to learn and remember. Every morning we open the pop hole door, and the hens zoom outside with enthusiasm to discover tasty bugs and weed seeds to eat. When we opened the door after the snow, our older hens peered out the door, turned around, and decided the cracked corn we scattered inside the coop was a fine breakfast. They’d remembered snow from last year and knew walking in it yielded cold toes and legs.
Most of our hens are newbies, hatched in mid-July. They’d never seen snow, and when we opened the pop hole door they roared outside, stood perplexed, walked around for a few minutes, and then came right back inside. And, the rooster sang his call from inside. No doubt their toes were cold.
Chickens are often considered witless animals lacking even a shred of intelligence. We know otherwise. Remembering snow proved that our old hens had learned what it was last winter and remembered their cold toe experience over the eight long months since the last frozen white stuff melted. Chickens are no dumb clucks.
I love the name of your article: Chickens are no dumb clucks.
I remember the run full of hens and roosters when I was a child in New Boston, New Hampshire. We collected eggs daily. I remember
that Lucy, my sister, was chased around the hen house by our Bantam rooster when she went to collect eggs one day. He was a spoiled brat because we raised him from a motherless chick in a
bird cage with a feather duster for his mom. We babied him if that’s possible.
Thanks, Jackie! Bantams are quite ferocious. We just let roosters know who is boss. If one doesn’t get the message, he becomes stew.