I've got 5 girls and 5 boys, 2 girls are several years old and the others are 22 weeks. I've got to get rid of 4 boys. My comment, tho, is Rosie, my little red pullet. She'll race away and then, suddenly, you feel a peck on your boots and it's her. If I'm scattering scratch, she won't go after it like the others but pecks the container instead (even if it's not clear). She's a good girl, I'm just wondering what that's all about. None of the others do this.
my little raptor
Back to the original question, why is Rosie focusing on both the person who is handing out the food and the container in which the food is being kept? Am I right in assuming Rosie is not one of the two older girls? Because, for a very young chicken to have figured out that the source of food can be a better deal than going after the food already distributed and being competed for, is precocious behavior.
I have such a pullet in my own flock at present. Summer is an eight-month old Silver Cuckoo Marans, and she's been laying off and for two months. When treats are handed out, Summer is front and center, concentrating on me and the container, never taking her eye off either while all the others are fighting over what's on the ground.
Just as in the world of humans, once in awhile you will see a chicken who seems to have a more sophisticated idea of how things work, and they are smart enough to manipulate things to get what they want. In Summer's case, she's learned that if she remains close to me, I'll notice her and feed her from my hand.
Chickens like Rosie and Summer have learned that their unique behavior results in more food than if they behaved in the same manner as the rest. If you and I tire of this behavior, then we need to stop our behavior so it will stop paying off for them to behave as they've been. In other words, ignore them and don't feed them. Make the little free-loaders compete for the handouts like all the other chickens.
Articles by azygous:
Articles by azygous:
You can easily train most animals to come-a-running to you if you will feed them from say a #10 tin can and rattle the feed and the can vigorously when you feed them. Shelled corn works well for this.