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    How To Confuse A Chicken

    It’s not too hard to confuse a chicken. (After all, this is an animal with a brain the size of a lentil.) Just change something! Anything!

    For example, I recently changed their ramp. From a now-mostly-rotten and utterly concave slab of particle board to a nice fresh and tidily straight length of cedar.

    They were all, “WHAT IS DIS?” and “I DON’T KNOW!” and “WHAT DO WE DO WIT IT?” and “I DON’T KNOWWWWWW!”

    Chicken tractor

    (Is there a set of Photoshop actions that can make this look less like a giant heap of random debris that happens to contain chickens?)

    Chicken tractor


    You might have noticed, I also had to re-hinge their pop door so that it opens from the side. Originally it was hinged at the bottom. This allowed it to serve as the top part of their ramp, which was clever.

    It also allowed them to constantly cram wood shavings and chicken poop in between the hinge screws and the wood every time they walked in or out. Which was not as clever, and eventually led to the door falling off.

    Oddly, replacing the door didn’t seem to bother them. I guess because it’s out of their sight? Or maybe because it’s the same door, just doing a different thing? Your guess is as good as mine.

    Chickens eating oatmeal

    I made them some oatmeal to help ease the transition and distract them while I whisked the New Board into place. Look how Martha (the yellow one) is still glaring at the New Board suspiciously!

    11 comments to How To Confuse A Chicken

    • I’m laughing because I thought I was the only one who cooked for chickens… (They really love steamed potato peelings, btw)
      Given the minimal processing power of those little lentil brains, it’s best if their auto response to anything new is “OMG! That New Thing probably eats chickens!!!!”

    • Look at the three colors on those chickens! That would look great in a sweater/hat/scarf.

    • Lisa E.

      They are so pretty!

    • They would look good as a sweater! The colors.

      Sepia tones to the rescue! Poor chickens. They are so insanely aggravatingly dumb.

    • too funny! Are the chickens actually willing to use the ramp? Or do you end up carrying them in and out morning and night? (Like we ended up having to when I was young :P)

    • Cristina

      I really hope that isn’t Medifast oatmeal.

    • Erika

      No, no, it’s the real kind! You know the stuff: actual food, only costs about 5 cents per serving?

    • Erika

      And Chantelle, they seem to be! Or at least they are hopping in and out, which they had to do for the last week or so anyway as the rotting board became less ramp-like.

      I did have to push them in and out when they were pullets, and first learning the ropes of living outside. So tedious! It took about two weeks before they finally figured it out themselves.

    • This post made me laugh so hard! I just had to read it to my relatives, who were laughing as well.

    • My three hens love love love cooked oatmeal! I thought I was the only person to feed cooked people oats for her chickens! Yes, they do examine things with a critical eye to make sure it is not going to grab them. You just know I introduce new elements to harm them…lol. I love Fancy. I did not think I could love a chicken. Ramp? Mine have to fly up about three feet to get into their Rubbermaid house on a plastic table meant for the yard. I love this post. Now, to read more of the blog.

    • Erika

      Aw, thanks! And it seems like a lot of soft-hearted chicken owners cook oatmeal for their chickies, I have had many people admit it when I mention it myself!

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