Sunday, April 20, 2008

A chicken makes a decision

It is axiomatic that people with small flocks of chickens are easily entertained. It is also true that chickens don’t make decisions because decisions require a consciousness that chickens do not have, which is why people find them entertaining in the first place. Consider my use of the word “decision” as a metaphor for the chicken thought process.

Yesterday I watched Zora, the black bantam Modern, try to decide what to do after I opened the door of the pen. She had been sitting in the nest. Like all the others, she rushed out the door but instead of running across the yard with them, she stopped. She took a few steps back toward the nest, then forward toward the others, then a few steps back. She hesitated. Back and forth again, unable to decide. Hunt with the others? Follow her instinct to remain broody on the nest? Try to understand the impossibility of choosing between these equal urges.

Fortunately she was rescued in the form of a small worm appearing in the dirt in front of her. When she bent to get it, the distraction wiped out all other thoughts and she continued scratching and pecking, gradually joining the others, leaving only me to remember what had happened.


  1. Love your comments about the chickens! Who knew they had such personality!

  2. I can totally relate to Zora :) Swwet post.

  3. Thank you both. More on Zora coming up.