Sunday, May 20, 2012

Personalities or...chickenalities?

We seem to have a great need to identify unique characteristics in each animal in our life. It's easy enough with children, or cats. But are chickens really that different from one another?

It seems they are. Perhaps it's the breed, perhaps it's just the unique individual, but it's clear that Bonnie, our Auracana, is "the brave one" - the first to grab a worm and run with it, the first to try sitting on a little piece of firewood in the coop (a mini-roost), the first to try to fly the coop, literally.  This evening we put a new roosting ladder in the brooder, and she's happily roosting, with Shaela sitting next to her. Shaela, a golden laced Wyandotte, is the follower - whatever Bonnie does, Shaela does right after.  She seems to idolize Bonnie!

Snow White, the Austra White, is much bigger than the others (I hope she isn't going to turn out to be a he.) She's skittish, and loves to fly. She can be a bit aggressive, but not dangerously so - she's just rambunctious.

Brunhilde, a Columbian Wyandotte, is fairly quiet - when I catch her she'll sit calmly on my hand for a while, not afraid of me.

The last two to be named, Lilac and Dandelion (golden-laced and columbian wyandottes, respectively), also have the least distinct personalities. Could there be a connection  - i.e we were drawn to the liveliest and named them first? Or could it be the other way around - we naturally paid more attention to the ones we'd named, so they became more responsive to us?

I hope our interactions with them- holding them, playing with them, talking to them, moving them inside and out - are socializing them rather than traumatizing them.  And I hope we take good care of them as they get ready to move outside- I just spent 20 minutes reading horror stories of raccoons and possums ripping chickens to pieces. We would be heartbroken if our new babies died due to our own poor building skills.

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