Oh my! I am just beginning to start saving kitchen scraps and taking them out to the chickens, and what a hilarious event that is to watch! On Sunday morning we had french toast and there was one piece left over so I tossed it into their run. They barely even looked at it. When we got home in the afternoon, I went out to check and not only was it gone, but their little fenced area for special treats like that was pecked clean down to the dirt!
Yesterday, I cut up a round watermelon and took out the end piece to the chickens, along with a few old slices of sandwich meat. I had the leisure time to stand and watch and I’m so glad I did. They all came running to see what was going on, and lined up in a semicircle around a little slice of ham, cocking their heads to get a better look. None of them was brave enough to reach down and take a nip, though.
Finally, one tentatively pecked at it, flipped it up in the air, and backed up in a panic crying, “Squaaaawk! Squawk, squawk, squawk.” (I think this is the beginning of “Cluck” talk.) They all scattered but slowly rounded back over to give it another look. This routine continued until one actually nipped off a little chunk of meat and spun around running in the opposite direction with her prize, the herd chasing her down like a rugby team. One would steal it away and dart off to the side and the others would chase her down until someone else snatched it and took off again.
One or two were smart enough to return to the original slice and pick out their own little bits. It gradually became gray and dusty and unappetizing, to me at least. There were two more untouched slices waiting to be discovered, but I did not have time to stay and watch.
THEN, one of them chanced to hop into the fenced area and investigate the watermelon slice. I wonder if she’d even have tried it if she did not spy a little white seed embedded in the red flesh. She pecked out the seed, and you could almost see the crazed look in her eye as she swallowed that sweet red juice. It took no more convincing. She started frantically pecking at it, no doubt hoping nobody else would catch on and make her share her treasure.
The funny thing about chickens, however, is that they are always on the lookout for something good in someone else’s mouth. In no time, they all came running as fast as their two little legs could carry them and they all circled around, climbing over each other’s backs to get a place at the trough. I couldn’t stop laughing, but we had somewhere to go so I had to leave them to it.
This morning, I took them some more melon scraps and pulled out all that was left of the piece from yesterday. There was nothing left but the thin green rind. I gave that to the worm farm to finish breaking down, so now I think I have a good “pecking order” for my scraps.