Friday, June 11, 2010

Chicken bribery

Today, I'll tell a story of 2 bribes.

The first bribe involved two sisters, ages 7 and 9. While the girls' mom was in the hospital, I volunteered to babysit. The girls were very excited to be coming over to my house, especially because they knew about the chicks. They played with the chicks for the entire duration of their stay. Picking them up, naming them, and laughing at their antics. When it was time for me to take them home, they picked some plums off the tree on their way out to the car. A handful of little plums 'for the road'. The youngest girl ran out of plums very quickly and asked her older sister for "just one more...please". The wise older sister said, "I'll give you a plum IF you promise to do everything you can to help me get my own chickens...I mean everything you can think of!" The little one replied a definitive, "Yes!" I found out later that the girls' mom is strongly considering raising some hens, but dad is not on board at this point. After their girls were introduced to my chicks, I think it might be over for dad.

This is the prize that the youngest sister was after...they are sour, since they are not ripe yet, but the girls love them.

The second bribe involves me and the chicks. After seeing videos of other people with happy hens sitting in their laps and following them around, I started to feel left out. Most of the time, when I get near my chicks, they scurry away, just out of reach. In fact, it's getting harder to catch them in the evenings. They still need to spend nights indoors, but the time needed for chicken chasing in increasing everyday. So after a little bit of thought, I came up with a simple plan...bribery. So after work, I bought some chicken treats: mealworms, seed mix, and de-shelled sunflower seeds. I offered these treats to them while holding each one individually, just before bedtime. And guess what? It worked. They are starting to like me more. Ok, maybe they don't like me more, but they seem to be a little more happy about my presence. Ok, ok, they just like the treats that I represent. But that's good enough for me. I'll take it!

Do you like me or the treats? Nevermind. Don't answer that...


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

You're right, the girl's Dad is doomed :P He's sooo outnumbered now!

Treats can help to sway the most skittish chickens, just not too many at first. They're still very young. At the rate they're growing too many treats can upset the critical balance of their diet for growth. A little treat now and then doesn't hurt though. When they're this young, I find even hand-feeding their regular chick starter is enough to get their attention.

Anonymous said...

Hey miss Jackie!The first one is about me and Victoria!Thanks for doing that,I totally forgot!-Calista

Jackie said...

Hey Calista! You are right, it was about you! What do you think about the chicks, now that they are bigger?

Betsy said...

Getting chicks in the coop is a tricky game when their not hungry. We'll soon have 25 excited hens running amuck at Funk Town! We're starting to train them with a bell and meal worms, so when we ring the bell the come to the coop for treats. Cross your fingers Pavlov still applies!