Evening milking has always been my favorite. Out of the corner of my eye I can see the hens trying to figure out where they want to roost. Or re-roost I should say. They first roost right before dusk. When I go down for evening milking they jump down; eat, and drink; then re-settle for the night.
I don’t feel two dozen hen eyes on me while I am milking. Perhaps only one of pair of eyes is watching and that hen sends out an alert. Maybe their invisible chicken ears tell them that the milk isn’t pinging the bucket as rapidly. Perhaps it’s simply an internal clock or instinct.
Somehow, without fail, every hen has re-settled before I finish milking.
Their desire to be as high up as possible, coupled with their inability to fly, means this is no small feat.
They jump four feet, occasionally six feet. A six-foot leap requires many mathematical calculations*, at least one failure jump, some frustrated clucking, and then an inordinate and ineffectual amount of wing flapping. Most don’t bother with all that effort, they usually go up in increments.
Getting up is one factor in roosting. Picking who they are next to is another whole ta-da. One chicken, give or take a chicken, ends up being shoved off her hard-won perch each night.
Princess’ chicks have been out with the big ‘uns for how long now?
Tonight was the first night they found their spots by the time I needed to leave the barn. (With no help from me.)
One of them was just a minute or two behind schedule compared to the big ‘uns. The other was trying to catch up but had the hardest time maneuvering his or her way upward. He/she complained all the way and made several attempts before succeeding.
Terribly clever animals considering their brain size.
The realization that my animals watch me and are entertained and informed by me, just was much as I am entertained and informed by them, grows everyday.
*Maybe all their head tipping and angling and chatting isn’t really about math but they sure seem to be considering distance and angles with the seriousness of a physics professor.