They seldom stop talking, and they never have much to say. The content is simple and to the point. Gwyneth and the gang, my chickens, constantly keep each other posted on their moment by moment activities by clucking, squawking, cackling, muttering, twitting, singing single notes, and when they were smaller, peeping.
If it’s quiet in the hen pen, I sense ennui and head out to shift the situation that is now on my list of Things I get to do today. Essential chicken activities include scratching, pecking, scratching, pecking, scratching, pecking and pooping. So if they’re not scratching, all is not well.
A chicken knows, as sure as a chicken knows anything, that around the base of plants bugs live. That chicken knowing is the precise reason the hens have a pen that provides a barrier between them and my garden and flowerbeds. Thirty seconds of serious hen activity can be the death of a tender plant.
But berry vines are tough. They do best if mulched well to keep they feet damp and provide extra goodies for growing fat, juicy berries. However by October the main production season is past, and they don’t mind having a good scratch at their base: a foot massage and a back rub combined. The girls are itching to provide this service.
Twenty feet of raspberries and marrionberries with deep mulch at their base can keep the flock contented 24/7 if someone will put the mulch back occasionally. That’s something they don’t do. So I rake the litter back under the vines, and the girls fall in behind me, contented again to post aloud what they are discovering as they scratch, peck, scratch, peck, scratch, peck, twit.