Grasshoppers are a favorite treat. Now you see it! Now you don't!
Chickens are naturally inquisitive, but at the same time very cautious and suspicious of anything new. That's what makes them so interesting and fun to watch. There's nothing funnier than watching a chicken who thinks a watermelon rind is out to get them. I've seen it. It totally happened.
Cocoa, who is pictured below, is a nearly 3 year old Cuckoo Maran, who stills lays an occasional egg or two. She is an accomplished feather puppy of the first degree. She will come running when called, insists on digging in my garden beds, and is not ashamed to beg for a treat.
I recently carved a leftover pumpkin to provide some chicken fun and entertainment on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I carved large feeder windows in the pumpkin to provide the chickens with space to peck at the interior flesh. Then, I sat back to see what the chickens would think of this edible, orange wonder.
Cocoa, of course, was the first to investigate a new potential source of food. The other girls stood off to side clucking like a bunch of hens waiting to see if Cocoa survived the pumpkin encounter.
And, then there were two, as Snowflake joins Cocoa to check out the orange newcomer. Snowflake is an Ameraucana and a relative newcomer herself. We purchased Snowflake when she was 4 months old. She is now 7 months old and has recently started laying beautiful green eggs. She has already laid a couple of double yolkers and is quickly becoming a flock favorite.
Snowflake appears to be staring down the pumpkin. If I could read her mind, I would imagine she's saying, "You want me to stick my head in that little window. I don't think so!"
Snowflake turned her beak up at the pumpkin. I guess I'm going to have to make the pumpkin game a little more interesting to entice Snowflake.
I laid out the carved pumpkin pieces and I immediately had a taker. This is Speedy G. Named for the fact that she escaped when I first brought her to her new home. Speedy G led me on a merry chase. I think the only reason she came back was her close relationship with Snowflake. Like Snowflake, Speedy G is also an Ameraucana. The two of them came from the same pen at the breeder and they are as inseparable as the bobbsey twins.
Blue, a beautiful Blue Maran, takes her turn inspecting the orange menace. Blue and her sister, Belle, lay the darkest brown eggs you will ever see. They are spectacular especially when seen next to the green Ameraucana eggs.
Always watchful, especially when eating, Belle and Snowflake have the cleanest little fuzz butts in town.
The pumpkin bird feeder experiment was entertaining and good for a few laughs, but it wasn't until I filled the pumpkin with sunflower seeds that the chickens got really excited. I guess if you want a chicken to stick it's head into a little hole, you have to offer something a little more enticing than pumpkin guts. Lesson learned.