Maybe all birds are strange, I don’t know. My my chickens definitely are.
First off, they are afraid of the dark. The heat lamp is still in the coop (in case of a really cold night) but we have no plans to leave it in there. I didn’t turn it on last night and had no plans of turning it on tonight.
We went out before bedtime to check on their food and water and let them out in the yard for a bit. They were all quite happy to check out the new, grown up hen food I had for them (they seriously act like they are starved whenever food is brought out). Then we corraled everyone back into the coop and shut them up for the night. Immediately the funny “squeeeee, squeeee” of unhappy birds starts. At first, I thought it was a ‘Where are my treats??” thing.
Then I noticed that they weren’t eating, drinking, scratching, roosting, or doing any other normal chicken thing. They were piling up and cowering down in front of the door.
I open the door and set a few of them on the roost. Door is open, they are happy. Door gets shut, they all pile in front of the door again. So I decided to turn the heat lamp on, just for a few minutes.
Like magic, they are happy and start doing normal chicken things. I pull up a chair to watch them for a few mintues, hoping they will settle down to sleep. Then I can turn the light off and go in the house. It’s only getting down to 58 tonight, so they don’t need it. In fact, I’m worried that if I leave it on they will get TOO hot in there.
No such luck. They are having a chicken party in there. Except for Henny…poor little Henny. I worry about her. She’s the smallest, still doesn’t have all of her feathers. Looks pretty scraggley actually, half fluff and half feathers…while the others have kinda grown into pretty, sleek, full feathered birds. She also goes to sleep before any of the others, gets tired easier. She is a cuddler though…just loves to sit on lap and be petted…or sleep on my shoulder. She still seems healthy. Eats plenty, drinks, poops….everything that everyone else does. She just seems….more fragile than everyone else.
Anyway, the chicken party continues, so I unplug the light and head inside. On my way up the steps I hear the “squeeeee, squeeee” start up again. I know now this means ‘Mom! We’re afraid of the dark!! Come back! Come back Mom!! Please??? Mooooooooommmmmmmm!!!”
It’s like cry it out, for chickens.
I keep telling myself that they are FARM ANIMALS. Not people. Not even real pets. But I’m still fighting the urge to go check on them.
Two other funny things they do that crack me up. They comb their feathers with their beaks. And they wipe their beaks on the ground if they taste something they don’t like.