Monday, May 15, 2017

Chickens: the Next Generation

After a raccoon ravaged and savaged my flock, including the lovely Edna, a couple of years ago, I didn't replace them. I've been house-hunting for over two years and thought it would be best to wait until I settled into a new place. It seems, however, that half the population wants to move to the Seattle area, perhaps to be closer to Canada--just in case. The result is a very tight real estate market, and here I still sit in my cute house with its backbreaking amount of work. And no chickens.

I just couldn't take it any more.

I also feared that I might be due for assisted living by the time I was able to get out of here, so no sense to keep waiting. My son and a friend are rebuilding both coop and run. Meanwhile, four hens are trying their best to outgrow their box in the laundry room.

At the beginning of April, they hopped like popcorn out of the basket. So much for cute poses.

One week later.
The discovery of dirt.

By the end of April, they were teenagers and just as scruffy as human teens.

Scruffy but cute.
I was going to name them after the four female Supreme Court justices or after foods like Cassoulet, Fillet, etc. but they are beginning to acquire distinct personalities and will require names that fit. Still thinking on it.




Monday, February 20, 2017

Dogs have moral sense

A Feb. 18 article in New Scientist called "Dogs and Monkeys Prefer Good People" describes an experiment in which dogs and monkeys (but not together) watched one actor struggled to open a jar containing a toy. A second actor then helped or refused to help the first actor open the jar and get the reward. Both actors then offered the monkey or dog a treat.

In cases where the actors cooperated, the dogs and monkeys showed no preference about accepting the treat from either one. In cases where the second actor did not help the first, they showed a marked preference for accepting a treat from the first actor.

Dogs judged and preferred people who showed cooperative social behavior in much the same way a year-old human does. We know how carefully our dogs observe us, the way they can predict it's walk time while we're forming the thought and don't believe we've even made a move.

And now we know for sure that they know whether we've been bad or good. Who needs Santa when the dog is watching to make sure we're sharing our toys and food?