I just saw a hen now. She has a grown-up chick which is already a cockerel following her around. I was amused. These animals behave like humans at times. I know this much about chickens because we always have them for rearing till date. When a hen has only one surviving chick, she usually doesn’t wean it early as she would do if they were many. Is that a way of pampering the chick because it is the only one?
We once had a neighbour, Baba Titi, who had chickens also. There were two of his hens which behaved like sisters and friends. They were always seen together. One was very productive, the other was not diligent enough to keep her chicks (they had their chicks about the same time but she lost hers), so she was chickless. Now, the chickless hen would always take care of her friend’s chicks as though they were hers. She would call to them when she saw food, she would share in covering them under her wings and would even rebuke them when they were wrong. Wasn’t that funny?
And then we had some unserious hens. Either they sucked up their eggs or stepped on them and broke them so that they had few eggs left to hatch. There was a particular hen, she had only one egg left to finish her incubation with! There were some that would start with many chicks, but due to nonchalance would lose them to hawks or even step on them and get them killed. My dad referred to them as unmotherly mothers (in my language, Wọn ò mọ ọmọ ọ́ tọ́jú). Hens like this ended up in the pot before their time because there was no use keeping them. Usually, hens last longer than cocks because they make chicks, but for these exceptional cases, the story is different.
I remember some village chickens we had also. My dad brought them from our hometown. We kept them in their coop for days so they could get used to it and roost there every night. For where? These animals preferred to jump on trees in the compound to roost. They were sort of wild flying over fences. They were indeed village chickens. The funny part was that they taught some of our home chickens their weird ways.
But I love them especially the cocks which are always handsome. I delight in watching them and I love to feed them. At work one day, a colleague stretched and I asked him if he knew chickens stretch too. He laughed and said no. O yes, they stretch and they sneeze too, though my sister who is an agriculture specialist told me their sneezing could point to an illness. I know this much about chickens. Tell me if you know more. 🙂 😛
©2013, Ayobami Temitope Kehinde
Photo Source: http://www.soulshepherding.org/2011/02/in-jesus-shadow/
First featured on my Facebook wall in December 2013.