The chicken diaries: The first day of freedom

I became a parent to two chickens I named Sitfwatfwa (snow) and Thandi (love) in January 2017. This is their story. 

My chickens were released from time out thanks to Thandi’s escape tactics. 

I had just removed the jerry can and metal grate from the top of their barrel. I reached in to get the water bowl and again to get the food bowl. As I was trying to get the grate back on top of the barrel, Thandi flapped her wings, landed on the edge of the barrel, and escaped the cooking hut. 

She did not run once escaped, which was a good sign. Make told me to get Sitfwatfwa out, too, and spread out some food. 

Of course, all the other chickens came running and pushing my chickens out of the way. 

Thandi posing for a photo. I can pick her out from the others because of the feathers that poof up on her head.

The realities behind the phrase “pecking order” all came to light today. I was even like a mother hen, checking on my chicken children many times throughout the day. 

The rooster is definitely in charge. He gets what he wants now now. Then there are two big hens next in line. Then there’s a younger hen with babies, one big ugly pullet (a chicken that hasn’t laid eggs yet), and a variety of teenagers (in weeks). 

Sitfwatfwa is like me, a little bit afraid of stepping on its new families toes and ran away before she really got in anyone’s way. 

Thandi, of course, was ready to fight. There were a few small chicken fights thoughout the day, and no apparent injuries, just a lot of ruffled feathers. 

Their broiler chicken friend from time out is still their friend, which is good. Unfortunately, this chicken think my toes are food. Once she gets close to me, she follows real close, trying to find a moment where she can peck at my bombozo.  

I can kind of get my chickens to follow me. They are willing to let me stand real close, but I haven’t tried holding either since their release. 

I am also worrying about them getting enough to eat. If I tried to feed them, all the other chickens would eventually come running and push them out of the way. I need to find a way around this because I will need to give them special food to lay better eggs. 

The day ended successfully with make getting both of my chickens into the mango tree to spend the night. 

This entry was posted in Africa, Peace Corps, Swaziland and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The chicken diaries: The first day of freedom

  1. Susan Kemp says:

    The chicken diaries are highly entertaining!

  2. I love reading about your chickens! How do you keep them safe from viscous birds,foxes and other threats?

    • elliewick says:

      They are totally free range, so there’s not much we can do. Fortunately, there are no small animals searching for snacks and I don’t think we have any snakes. I saw a big bird swoop down and steal a chick once. I don’t think that happens to often though because there are always people outside at my homestead.

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