Invisible fence

Written by Dr. Dolittle on September 4, 2009 – 11:40 am -

curious chicken

Chickens can be such a hoot. We incubated several eggs this last spring and the developing chicks have been a constant source of entertainment. Once outside, we had a fence between them and the older chickens to protect the chicks. The term “pecking order” didn’t just fall out of the sky; it is used to describe how chickens interact with each other. There are the bosses; there are meek hiders, and there is every personality between. Until the chicks grew large enough to fend for themselves they would have automatically been pushed around by the older chickens, so we couldn’t let the two groups mix. The day when the chicks were big enough finally came.

We removed the fence that separated the youngsters from the general flock and the fun started. The older group marched right in to the newly opened area, checked it out and finding nothing of interest, left. The youngsters on the other hand, walked up to where the fence had been, and stopped. They refused to go any farther. Gee, did we inadvertently leave an invisible fence there? For days the youngsters approached the nonexistent barrier, craning their necks to look over something that was no longer there. One gutsy little pullet finally hopped what really wasn’t there, made a lap around the big pen, and shot right back to her safety zone. Everybody came running over to check her out. Seeing that she survived, some others made the same lap and the invisible fence disappeared.

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