Back in the spring I pointed out how chickens are not on the bottom of the food chain even though everything likes the taste of chicken. An incident from the other day reminded me what opportunists they really are.
In that previous post, we observed our hens running around with a fairly large snake they’d dispatched. What I didn’t mention was that I did wonder how much revenge had come into play for that event.
You see, occasionally we’ll have a batch of chicks that are true morons. They resist hopping up on the roost, even though nobody else claims the bottom rung. One year I had an exceptionally large number of morons … until the blacksnake showed up and starting picking them off one by one.
These chicks were too large for the blacksnake to eat, but it was also a moron and never learned that lesson. I would occasionally find a dead chick that had been slimed from head to shoulders. When it became apparent the culprit was going to keep returning, I went snake hunting and banished the rattlebrained reptile.
When those hens caught the largest snake I’d ever seen them eat, I couldn’t help but wonder if any of them were from that batch of morons and remembered the terror that blacksnake had visited upon them. If so, I could well imagine they relished eating that snake in more ways than one.
But that incident from the other day truly takes the cake. One afternoon Hubby yelled up the stairs for me to look out the window toward the lilac bush. When I did, I spied a mob of chickens picking on what seemed to another relatively large snake….
And then I realized there was a gray, furry lump attached to the other end of that snake.
If you’re ever driving down the road one night and see another car swerve to hit a possum, odds are the driver of that vehicle raises chickens. We’ve been in the poultry business long enough to square off with almost every predator out there, but ninety percent of the time the hooligan we have to deal with is a possum.
Although it would warm my heart to believe the hens got organized and clobbered the malevolent marsupial, what probably happened is our dog (who’s done this before, although I wish he were more consistent) stumbled upon it the night before and demoted it to a chew toy. This event must have happened under cover, because we never stumbled upon a dead possum throughout the day.
But some hen must have discovered the carcass that afternoon, and it was too big to hide from the other chickens. They chase after whoever has the prized morsel, so in the ensuing ruckus they managed to drag the evidence into our side yard. I don’t believe everything likes the taste of possum, but every hen in that mob sure wanted her share.
Yes, they may be chicken, but deep in their hearts they really want to be velociraptors….