I have a question for all you dyed-in-the-wool chicken huggers.
I get asked a lot about my white Silkie bantam rooster, RooPaul, while Iím out with him. They all ask "How did you train him to do that?" "Train HIM????" I tell them; "He trained ME!"
It was he that walked up onto my shoes and lifted his wings to be held. He has a chronic sore foot (pin feathers on his feet) and he gets to go to many different places with many different things to eat without tiring his own legs. He gets to ride in cars. He loves air conditioning. I take him places where other pretty ladies pet him and tell him how handsome he is, then feed him treats. He rides in the farm cart every day to supervise the feeding of the horses, and help himself to a crop full of sweet feed. He supervises my cooking of my family's food. He gets a bite or a sip of every food that goes in my mouth. I shampoo, blow dry, and brush him, so even his own hygiene isn't entirely his burden. I take him to chicken auctions where we purchase females for him. After eating dinner together, he spends the night in a pen with his hens. Pretty good deal for him.
What do I get out of this? He brings me all the biggest bugs he can find. He defends me from the cats and dogs that try and get me to pet them. He threw himself at a 1,000 pound yearling thoroughbred horse that tried to bite me! Now that's love. He patrols the stables, checks on all the horses begins to squawk and crow if he does not know where I am for more than a few minutes. Once he knows where I am, and is physically sitting on me, then, and only then, can he relax and take a nap.
My daughter has a Japanese bantam hen named Jessica. Jessica lives in a coop in the living room, unless we're home. She, too, loves to be carried around. People have started to ask how long we've had her, that she's so "well trained." We've had her about four weeks. All we do is give her love and affection and our dinner. She allows herself to be petted, and enjoys sleeping on a heat source. "Where do you find them," they ask. "Are they a special kind of chicken?"
Now: (As relates to YOUR relationship with YOUR chicken.)
Who trained whom?
Who had the most to gain?
What do you get out of the relationship?
What does he/she/they get out of the relationship?
I have had three people come up to me in the past WEEK who said they had considered keeping a chicken as a pet and wanted more information on how to acquire one and care for it indoors, and train it. Two of them specifically mentioned Silkies. I told them about the HouseChickens list at Yahoo.com, that it has been a godsend, that at least half of what I've learned about chickens has been from this room, I also suggested books and online reference material. I also let them know about chicken diapers ChickenDiapers.com.