Monday, September 10, 2012

The Wing Man

Since my small flock succeeded in destroying every bug, slug and snail in my garden they have been foraging in the nearby fields for their meals.  Sometimes it is difficult to find them amongst the tall grasses and bushes that dominate the unused calf field.
I can hear their constant chatter as they graze, but I seldom can actually see them since they are so well camoflaged.

This morning I crawled out into the field to try to capture them as they searched for delicious morsels.

I noticed that as one of the ducks foraged the other duck would be on alert and scanning the sky for predators.

Each took turns being the forager and the wing man.

I also noticed how beautifully blue their wings were this morning.

 In my rural area there are many predators on the ground and in the air so I am thankful that for the most part my flock has good ground color and a sense of where to run to should they suspect a problem.

Here are the 2 boys deep into the field and the ferns.

I had to follow the rustling of the grasses to finally locate them.

The Wing Man spots me and checks me out.

As the grazer keeps grazing.....

Then they both decided to waddle across the field and down the hill to come greet me.

Rudy and Agnew are more like 2 dogs than ducks.  They prefer the company of people.

When I come home they wait at the bottom of the steps for me to come out and play with them and take a walk around the farm.  They enjoy our walks and chat with me the entire time.   The chickens come along too, but are not as verbal as these 2 precious boys are.    I love hearing the sounds of them waddling next to me. They are heavy walkers.

Sometimes we tour the garden and I pick cherry tomatoes for them or open a dried sunflower for their enjoyment.

I have a 15 foot enormous sunflower that keeps growing.  I am so afraid it might fall over in a strong wind and knock one of the chickens unconscious.   I might cut it down soon. I will need an ax cause the stem is more like a tree trunk.

 The chickens are also enjoying free access to the garden and helping me eat the extra tomatoes that I don't pick for myself or to share with village families. None of them touch the hot banana peppers.....

I have noticed that the hens don't really watch out for each other like the ducks do. The hens have become much more solitary as they age, whereas a month ago they all hung out together, they don't now.

Do your hens have designated Wing Men?

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes a hen will take over the typical rooster's job of being lookout. Sometimes they even go so far as to crow! But this has not happened so far in any of my flocks.

    As far as hanging together, as chicks age the pecking order becomes more pronounced. The usual division is along color and/or breed lines.

    My current flock the dark colored Partridge Rocks hang with the 2 black Jersey Giants. The 2 NH Reds stay by themselves. All the Buff Rocks hang together.

    Since My Girl died, Ernie, the other Barred Rock, has been alone. For that reason, I selected 2 breeds for the replacement layer flock that had similar coloring: Cuckoo Marans and Dominiques. This will insure Ernie is no longer a singleton.

    Singletons tend to be picked on, but Ernie being the oldest and one who "owns" the area, has not had this problem this time around.