Herder of Poultry
The chickens at my little farm are have almost reached their adult size and should begin laying eggs in October. They are getting used to the farmer coming in the lot a couple of times a day and bringing food and fresh water, and now they no longer run and hide in fear when I make my entrance. And while the chickens have noticeably calmed down, the turkeys, never fearful of big humans, have become downright aggressive.
Several times I have had a turkey jump on my back as I bent to fill a food or water dish, and now they come up and eat from the cup as I work on filling the dishes. They also drink water directly from the plastic bottles as I am pouring it into the waterers. One brave soul even stuck his head underwater as I was pouring.
The turkeys like to peck me as I do the barnyard chores, and they seldom fuss about my actions - like even when I have to pick one of them up and set him or her out of the way.
The young turkeys are exactly the same age as the chickens, but they are at least twice as large - the monster birds of the poultry lot. The four turkeys scoop up grain with their beaks while the chickens simply peck at it, and most of the grain that I put out each day seems to be going into feeding four turkeys. I've also begun to throw out hen scratch (a grain mixture that is scattered onto the ground) for the chickens, and the turkeys, ever observant of their little buddies, have learned to scratch for that feed - just like the chickens.
My last act of farming each evening is to go out to the poultry lot and check on things. When I do that I always stoop and pull up some clover which I throw to the birds. The turkeys literally go nuts when they see me yanking up clover. They crowd the fence and begin making a racket. I throw the clover into the lot, scattering it far and wide to reach as many of the chickens as possible, but the turkeys are formidable as they push and shove their way to the green treats Fortunately, the chickens have begun to push back and are trying to get their fair share.
It is probably getting close to time to separate the turkeys from the chickens, but so far they seem to be learning skills from each other - so I have put off splitting them up. Soon, very soon, I will give them all daily access to the entire backyard (where they can get their own damned clover), and I suspect that when I do the guineas will prove to be in charge!
And later this month I hope to acquire a few peacock chicks.
Life at the farm . . . it just gets curiouser and curiouser!