Have you heard the expression “madder than a wet hen?”
If you have, you know this phrase describes someone as being very irritated about a situation, having their feathers ruffled and not being very pleasant to be around.
Interesting, isn’t it, how very much chickens end up in our daily conversations without really trying?
I can say with absolute certainty that the phrase 100% holds true in the chicken yard. Chickens do not typically like to get wet — at least most of the time.
Every day, the chores involve filling feeders, collecting eggs and replenishing water so the birds aren’t wanting to drink out of random water puddles. I’ve tried to raise good, upstanding poultry that knows bird manners and has the best resources that my small budget can allow.
Invariably, though, the first opportunity the little cluckers have to get to a muddy rain puddle to grab a drink, they’ll go for it. It doesn’t matter that the bird next to another has just decided to use it as her restroom. The bird will tilt her head back as if she’s just tasted the chicken version of Evian water (EGG-vian water perhaps?). Animals can definitely be gross sometimes.
The chickens wade in and out of the muddy water puddle, clucking and bwak-bwaking to their little hearts’ content. Water in this form is perfectly OK for them as long as it’s on their terms.
Now, back in the chicken coop, if I go in to fill the waterer with fresh water for the day and happen to splash water on a nearby bird, I will definitely hear about it. Squawking and general sounds of disgust will emerge from the depths of her little chicken soul. She is not happy that I, her mere caretaker, had been so careless as to have splashed some high-quality H2O on her. In her mind, I can hear a version of “Who do you think you are?!” being emitted toward me.
The victim of the splashing will shake her head and stomp around the coop before returning to the waterer to dip her beak in to drink, one eye suspiciously on me as I finish tidying up around their living quarters.
Sometimes, I think chickens have a lot more in common with cats than people would think. Cats don’t have owners, they have servants and I’m pretty sure that’s how it is in the chicken house, too.
I usually feel I’m just there as a source for providing food for the demanding fowl and that otherwise, they just find me annoying. That being said, I’m not mad about it.
Until next time…
Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at whattheclucker.blogspot.com. Send comments to [email protected]