Just a blog from a desk located in the chicken run at the Crazy H-Bar Ranch; Have any of you sat inside your chicken sanctuary and just watched them? Watch how they interact, who is where in the pecking order? No! Well shame on you… Watching for the who, what, when, and why’s a very important part of raising and maintaining a healthy and happy flock. Now, I know there are a lot of chicken herders that don’t have a lot of time to just sit with their flock but you just gotta find the time… Time! I mean something more than grabbing some eggs, tossing out some scratch than turning a blind eye as you grab a cup of coffee and head out for work, school, or whatever your day has in store. I just recently put a garden bench out in the run and after I feed, water, and scrape the poop off the bench, I will sit with my coffee and just watch… I watch how they breen their feathers, dust bath, chase each other around. You just may find out why, when you hear that egg song and you head out to find that egg…. and find none. What’s up with that? I recently discovered that Prince Julius sings the same egg song. Stupid rooster! What other things might we find while “watching” our flock? That’s a good question… Things to see and look for; who’s eating feathers, who’s losing feathers, who’s eating and who’s not. Who’s not drinking and eating. Finding out the answers to these questions early on may help you identify serious problems that need to be addressed before they become too big a problem. Watch for who is pooping what, is it runny, solid, yellow, or did you find worms in some poop and you need find out who or whom (whatever) has the problem. Watch for how they walk, do they limp, do they stagger. Do they act “normal”, whatever that means! This idea is super important for the newbie chicken herders. You know who you are, a million questions and no answers. I remember when we rescued our first flock and having no idea which end the eggs came from or which end the food goes into. (I thought I knew everything) My wife came running in one day yelling that one of our girls was dead. I ran out and noticed that our Golden Comet was lying on her side with her wings and legs splayed out in different directions…. OhMyGawk, “She’s dead” I thought. Then she jumped up and trotted away… looking at me like, “What the hell, Human? Leave me alone!” I didn’t know about sunbathing then… So, it’s very important to spend good quality time with your flock or all animals for that matter. It actually builds trust and understanding between you and them. No, it won’t keep that rooster from attacking you whenever you turn around, but it will help you understand why he does it and how to be ready for it when it comes. Whether its 10 minutes or 2 hours there is a lot to learn by just hangin out with the flock. It’s almost as relaxing as watching fish!!! Another reason for just sitting out there is coop improvements. What may have worked well when they were youngins, may not work so well now that they have grown some. Feeders too low or too small, not enough feeders/waters, roosts might be too low to the ground, there are hundreds of places to see improvements. Maybe they are digging a hole under the fence, maybe something is trying to dig a way in!!! But you have to spend time with them. If not for their safety, for your sanity… Because we are all, “Crazy Chicken People”, right?