people were constantly telling me that chickens were very smart birds. They could be taught tricks. There was even one on “america’s got talent” playing a song on the piano. I just didn’t see it. These were birds that were constantly turning their water containers over in 100+ degree heat. I was always on suicide watch, trying to keep these birds alive. I wasn’t sure where the intelligence factor came in. I just knew, i could easily write a book called “100 ways for chickens to off themselves if you don’t get home quickly enough to undo what they’ve done”.
Right around the time the birds began purposefully kicking their water containers over i noticed the appearance of little flying roaches. I had never seen roaches before on the property. Right around the time i put the chickens outside, my neighbors had purchased cows and sheep and everybody seemed to have new livestock in their yards in preparation for the apocalypse. There was an increase in shed mice and an appearance of roaches so i attributed it to the fact that all those sheds now had feed in them. Little did i know, the appearance of the flying roaches was a direct result of something my chickens were doing.
For the life of me, i couldn’t understand what possessed these chickens to constantly knock their water over until i went out one morning and caught Rosie doing it. Rosie being Rosie, she made no attempt to hide her efforts and activities. She let me stand there and watch as she jumped on the food dispenser until it broke in half. She then used her beak to drag the halves across the floor, spreading the feed with her feet. She placed a talon in the water tray and pulled, flipping the water over like a pro. The water covered the feed she had laid out across the floor. At the time, as dense as i was, i still didn’t get it. I threw my hands up. I said, “That’s it! That’s it you crazy chickens. I don’t know why you insist upon wasting this feed! I’m not giving you any more until you eat what’s on the floor. Rosie seemed undisturbed by my obvious upset. I stood the water dispenser up, closed the pen door and left. The next morning, pre-dawn, i slid the door to the chicken coop up, clad in scrubs and ready for work. I finally witnessed the purpose behind Rosie’s actions. My chicken was farming. Not carrots…not potatoes…no…my chicken was running a nocturnal roach and maggot farm. She had made the perfect environment for the flies to lay eggs and the roaches to multiply as well. They would roost up on the bars and let the maggots and roaches eat the soggy feed overnight. When i shone the lamp into the coop the roaches scurried up the walls and chaos ensued. Everywhere, chickens snatched up roaches trapped in the coop without an immediate exit plan. So you see, the roaches ate the feed and the chickens ate the roaches full of the feed. I sighed. I was impressed. I saw it now. Chickens were smart, or innovative at the very least. I also knew that this operation could not be allowed to continue. We did not need the quantity of roaches these chickens were successfully breeding on their coop floor. I would rather them eat the feed than the possibly disease-ridden shiny little bugs. I didn’t trust the cleanliness of anything that could live without a head.
That very day after work i stopped at tractor supply and picked up a 5 gallon water dispenser…a 40 lb beast they couldn’t flip over or drag through the coop door. The night-time chicken farmers were retired.