My Dad: The Chicken Whisperer

Never in a million years did I think I would write so much about chickens!  And yet here I am – writing about chickens – AGAIN!

Chicken Whisperer
My dad got an inordinate amount of chickens, but they’ve turned out to be quite the unusual characters!

If you missed the stories of how we became “chicken farmers” and our adventures raising chickens, check out:

Dad decided a few months ago that he was getting chickens.  We’ve had livestock for years – he grew up with hogs and cattle, and probably some chickens and geese when he was younger – but we were essentially new to chickens, so we had/have a lot to learn!

Most of the chickens are literally “chicken” when it comes to being handled.  They squawk and chirp and run away making trying to catch one like a re-enactment from a Rocky movie.  But not too long ago, dad found a chicken that didn’t really move on the perch when he opened the door and he started going to it “from the bottom” – meaning instead of a predator-like action of chasing and pouncing from the top, he brought his hand up to its chest and gradually the chicken got used to it.

Now the crazy thing gets picked up and lifted to look around.

One day, Melby and I were messing around in the chicken shed (I may have been cleaning it out), but she was upset because the chickens and I were blocking the human door.  So she went around to the chicken door and poked her head in.  The chickens are weird and whenever somebody is in the coop they are too (you’d think they would want to be outside pecking in the grass and dirt – but oh no!).  Melby is just as weird and thought she needed to come in too – through the chicken door.  The chickens are used to her coming around now, but they were not used to anything coming through their door!  Melby hopped in, the chickens flew in all directions, I may have hit the deck (and now was reenacting something from The Birds) and Melby just looked around like “What happened?”

Going back to Dad – a couple chickens got used to him handling them from the perch (they still don’t like it when you chase them around and come from above, which is natural for a prey animal).  He found them perching on a piece of plywood we had to partition them off from some supplies, so out went the supplies and in went a new perch just to appease them.  Then he started seeing them higher.

And then – surprise!  According to Dad he was in the coop, bent over, and one came down from a high perch onto his back.  He slowly stood up and the chicken gradually walked to his shoulder.  He brushed it off, then two more fell from the sky onto his shoulders!  Luckily my mom was around and he called her over, saying to take a picture before they moved!

The Chicken Whisperer
Dad and his chickens – both goofballs!

Now when Dad goes in the coop, odds are he’ll have a chicken on his shoulder!!  It’s so funny!  We are definitely not well-versed chicken owners, but we have learned a lot on our way.  He’s pampering and spoiling them about as much as Melby (and trust me – she’s spoiled!).  At first he couldn’t figure out how to get them down – he tried to gently brush them off, but they would just walk around!  So mom kind of pushed them off.  But they still come for their morning “tour” and shoulder perch.  Dad said one time he looked to the chicken on his shoulder and it looked right back at him – now we’re worried it might poke out an eye!

Hopefully only a few more weeks left and we might start seeing some eggs!  Dad finished the nesting boxes, made from old hog feeders, and they’re using them pretty often, though they still like to wiggle into the floor shavings.

Since we don’t know how many roosters we have, we don’t know if we’ll keep a couple for breeding or cull them (aka – butcher to eat).  Every time I post a picture of the Barred Rocks in a Facebook chicken group they say “rooster”, but – as I’ve said before – they were supposed to be all pullets/hens; plus, I’ve seen a couple of the same breed that look like roosters but are producing eggs.  So I don’t know!  We do know that there is at least one rooster because Dad said he heard it crow.

How about you – are your chickens friendly?  Have any funny chickens?  Tell us in the comments!  Don’t forget to subscribe for automatic blog posts!

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