Originally Posted by Amberjem
soo I am having TOTAL goat envy and was hunting around for supplies for my mushroom garden yesterday and ran across this Goat lawn ornament for the garden yesterday at home depot..........I thought wow kewl I can have a goat of my own... inquired about price and gosh they wanted 60 bucks for it!
I paid fifty bucks for a metal sheep when REAL live ones were selling for $35 decade er so ago. Still got the metal one...and the geriatric alive kinda sheeps too.
I recall seeing at ToyrExpensive...a toy pony fer $400...
I did the double take thinking...live ones at auction mart were $75...good gack. I guess pooping, eating, spoilt rotten LIVE ones don't meld too well with going on vacation, keeping a schedule, responsibility of feed, water, being thar...or the cost to have land to house and equipment, time and whatnot's. Dunna get it...four hundred eh!
Sure...quite trainable when you speak "chicken" or at least understand what the chook is saying to the usually oblivious dumb human.
We had one bird, Nine-OH (ran 90 miles an hour, FAST eh!) that would go find Rick in the yard working...start the hen clucking <<bock a bocking>> and there the two would go. Rick in front with a flooffy Buff Orp in tow--chicken legs jest a churning to keep up...off to her pen to open her door so she could lay an egg. And no accident that SHE trained him. After about 1/2 hour, Rick would have to go back and sure enough, there was a huge brown egg in the nest and Nine-OH would wander off with her buddy Buttless (true Araucana) bug hunting until it was evening and time to return to their roosts. Buttless never went and found Rick...she would cache HER eggs under a bank of wild rose bushes...the dogs, Makins in particular would find the nest, bring me an egg carefully in her mouth and gently lay it down or wag her tail stupid with her bloated EGG mouth, showing me (the DUMB human) she was egg bound and determined what she wanted SCRAMBLED in her dog kibs that evening.
For the ones that show birds (we only ever showed waterfowl, never land, too many diseases to pick up for landfowl), you train your birds to show too. Dr. Carefoot talks about having show cages, where you take the birds you are showing and put them in the show cage where you have put in new food and fresh water...TREATS! You remove them every day and fix up the cage with new stuff, so you repeatedly are moving bird in and outta the show cages...daily. The birds will move towards you, after a few sessions, they begin to expect you approaching (like a judge would) means good things. The bird expects this from a human approaching the bird. GOOD THINGS ... not terror or time to clip toe nails or hang them upside down or a mauling. Yeh...good things. You play a radio with talk and music (studies done showing dairy cattle give more milk to country music, eh), and things like flapping grocery plastic bags...even to open an umbrella up to say a sheep or llama...the unexpected that they become tamed to. Showing is not some natural thing, it is a trained response done over time and with care.
I've seen people take a sow's ear and work their magic on showmanship and create a silk purse outta the exhibits. There is a whole craft to showing, fitting, training and exhibiting. I fear that many of these secrets to the Fancy have been lost and many people are completely oblivious any of this nonsense even occurred. Har har...guess they won't miss all us old buggers kicking...never knew and often, dunna care!
I had these show cages built to my specs for training our Call Ducks. Placed in front of the Duck Barn, there's me and the dougals going back and forth doing chores, there is a radio playing, just show training them birdles.
For Runner Ducks that are to look like a long tall lean wine bottle, you put feeders way up in their area, so they reach up tall, and in cage training, you bring treaties and feed from the top of the cage...reach upwards, stand at attention like to show off good conformation.
You can also train birds like you would train horses to be riden, pressure points. Some might have seen the stock stick judges use...on birds, eh. I have a pointer that you can retract up, has a pen in the end...that I use. Metal and bought at stationery stores. NOT a light pointer though...hee hee...blinded yer own birds, eh. I digress...anyway, put bird well use to show cage IN cage. Use stock stick to gently (I said gentle) prod bird into a perfect standing pose. By only poking bird when you are standing at the cage, you leave bird alone when standing perfect, it is amazing how quick a "dumb" bird learns what you the human want from them. There are birds I have photographed at the shows that would blow yer mind...one fella, I asked permission to click some pics of his top end show birds...yeh, instantly as I approached, perfection in side profile posing...and then there are others cowering in the corner...still others flapping and freaking...obviously never cage show trained, eh. There are a ton of things if you have time, the kahoonas and the inclination to do, you can teach these supposedly DUMB animals. I find more often than not, it is the dumbness in the humans not realizing how very intelligent and adaptable animals and birds are...we're more often the dumb ones in the equation...
A huge warning that I learned the hardest of ways--let a good bird down, eh...when showing birds at sanctioned shows...if'n you don't bed with shavings, be aware...not all shavings are to same standards. I trained my birds after the straw (see above) to wood shavings but used SOFT shavings (yeh, who knew!). At the show, there was sharp shavings (not kidding)! My one male Call drake, stood for judging on his tippy toes...yeh, what a booger, eh (spoilt?). It took him the whole day to get use to the sharp shavings and next day (too late for judging, that second, that moment) he was fine, standing level. Too late by then. So now, if you train yer birds for show...you either bring your own shavings for the pen (asking the show staff for permission, could be seen as marking your pen and that's not sportsmanlike!), or you train them to various kinds of bedding to bomb proof your exhibits. Yeh, who knew!
Back in 2013, I cannot profess to have taught the birds this...nope but I did create the perfect situation for this...I posted this here in February of 2014 on BYC but will post it again now...fer Amber since she asked ...
So does anyone do anything special with their chickens to have then do something?
Without further ado, here are the oom-pah-pah birds...yes, Polkas...
Here is my gathering of F1 and F2's from my bantam Chantecler project, early summer of 2013 . Yeh, yeh, lined them up on a saw horse in front of the flowering Dolgo by the pond and waterfall. Good birds too because I didn't carry them all in one trip, oh no sirree...it took three trips...so the little blighters all sat like good troopers on the sawhorse, till I got back with more...till the saw horse could fit no more's.
Now they DO behave but they are not dead...so some will fidget. I wanted a group all sitting nicely to photograph and did manage that...but in the mean time...a few wankers had to move...they are after all some pullets and cockerels...not all well subdued over handled hens and cocks (the Cuckoo Columbian roo on the far left is dozing already... totally sleeping)...some are younger ones and they will not always behave...not just glad to doze in the sun and sit still.
Whipper snappers, eh?
So to set the mood right proper, fire up the band...the OOM-PAH-PAH band...tis Sunday, tis cold (-20C) but tis SUNNY too...feeling frisky and silly so let's get the accordions in tune, clarinets, tubas, maybe even an UNtraditional bag pipe or three to throw it off kilter...Here we go then.
And a one and a two...
Roll out the Barrel - (Root) Beer Barrel Polka
There's a garden, what a garden, only happy faces bloom there,
And there's never any room there for a worry or a gloom there.
Oh there's music, and there's dancing, and a lot of sweet romancing,
When they play the polka, they all get in the swing.
Every time they hear the oom-pah-pah, everybody feels so tra-la-la-la.
They want to throw their cares away, they all go lad-de-ya-ya-yay.
When they hear a rumble on the floor, it's the big surprise they're waiting for,
And all the couples form a ring, for miles around you'll hear them sing.
Roll out the barrel, roll out the barrel of fun.
Roll out the barrel, we've got the blues on the run.
Zing, boom, tararrel! Ring out the song of good cheer,
Now's the time to roll the barrel, for the gang's all here!!!!!!!!!!!
One more time...
"And the gang's all here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Pass the pretzels! Yee haw!
That'll get the blood pressure rising...the feet tapping and the fingers snapping, eh? Crashing of the cymbals...good times, eh...gooder times to come!
Awake now...good...gotta go, got GREEN romaine to toss to an anxious audience of musical dancing bird brains.
So that be that...chicken trained...nope, chicken dance, perhaps...no matter, good for a laugh er three, eh.
Doggone & Chicken UP!
Tara Lee Higgins
Higgins Rat Ranch Conservation Farm, Alberta, Canada