Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Chickens. I am amused, slightly fascinated and irritated by chickens. My family used to keep a small collection of these birds when I was a teenager. Our chickens were very inbred and slightly feral. They would constantly do bizarre and stupid things.
The chickens on Nukutoa seem to follow the same plan. On your house, in your house, under your feet, on the beach, they are everywhere and seem to believe they own the island.
The chicken day begins just before dawn when they cause an almighty racket crowing and clucking at the top of their little lungs on the roofs of the houses. This wakes up the people of the village and serves as a collective alarm clock.
A little after dawn they descend from the roof to begin their day scavenging for food.
Roosters spend their day scavenging, attempting to out do each other in an endless crowing competition, taking dustbaths, fighting and sneaking up behind unsuspecting hens.
Hens spend their day scavenging, trying to build nests in stupid places (I have chased the same hen five times already today from my house, she wants to build a nest on the floor within our battery equipment), getting surprised by roosters jumping on their backs and losing (or forgetting they ever had) chicks.
Chicks spend their day trying desperately not to let their mothers forget about them while eating whatever they can.
Scott killed a hen the other day. It was an accident. He moved a wooden pallet to create a floor for our generator. As he dropped the pallet into position no one noticed the small black hen racing under it to eat the bugs coming out of the wood. The result was squashed chicken.
The chickens are desperate. I witnessed a chicken fight over an unlucky gecko. The poor little lizard was caught out in the open while at least a dozen chickens of various sizes descended upon it. The lizard didn't have a chance.
Dropped food or opened coconuts can also result in chicken mayhem.
At sunset the chickens ascend once more to the roofs of the houses. A common sight at dusk is to see a chick racing around a house squawking madly while its mother sits on the roof listening.
The thought in the hen's head probably runs like this "I hear a chick! Did I have one of those? Where is it? Perhaps its not mine. No I didn't have a chick today. Or did I? Its nice on this roof. I can see everything from here. Hmm sleepy... I still hear a chick. I wonder if its mine...." Eventually this problem is resolved. Either the chick dies and is eaten by cats or the mother comes down.
Night comes and all is peacefully silent as the exhausted chickens rest, preparing for another day of complete stupidity.
I must go now, I have to chase that hen off the batteries again.