Earlier this winter I wrote about how flighty our youngest flock of birds is. They’re still a jumpy group, but they’ve decided that I can hang around with them if I really want.
The cold weather inspired the change because instead of thinking of themselves primarily as wild outside birds that come inside to sleep, the hens decided that the coop is a good place to spend much day. In my mind — and apparently in their minds too — this makes them officially domesticated animals.
There’s a lot to be said for being domesticated in the winter. Besides being warmer and offering a constant supply of food and water, the coop has no snow on the floor, which is important to chickens. They don’t enjoy walking in snow and have made tracks in the snow from theirs coop to the patches of bare ground under all of the nearby parked trailers.
Before it grew cold, all the birds would rush for the exits when I came to check on them. Now, they do a little extra squawking, especially when I first open the door, but after considering the cold and snow, they decide it isn’t worth it to go flapping out into the world just because I am with them. Most of them even let me reach under them to gather eggs.
And speaking of eggs, these birds lay a beautiful array. The Brown Leghorns lay white eggs, the Black Australorpes lay brown eggs, and the Ameraucanas lay green eggs. A dozen of their eggs are like a work of art. When they raise their voices a little more than most flocks I’ve cared for, I’ll remind myself that they’re my emotive artists.