I've been living with chickens for literally all my life. In Nigeria, these flightless birds roam most streets because of a combination of environment and their high fertility rate, I presume.
Despite having birds all around me, I have struggled with chronic ornithophobia for most of my life and I only got over it sometime last year. A big part of getting over my fear of birds was because I started living in Kaduna. My neighbour/landlord raises quite the number of birds, so I came up close and personal.
During this time, I have grown quite accustomed to poultry birds and their general behaviour. I find it fascinating to say the least, because these creatures that I use to consider scary, are really just tiny bundles of life(and sweet meat) that just want to live like the rest of us.
Most birds would keep a safe distance from people but that didn't stop me from being scared of them. However, I have noticed that birds raised in captivity don't see any reason to avoid humans.
In fact, while living here, it got to a point that these birds would literally run after me to get crumbs of whatever I hold in my hand whenever I'm outside. Initially, I found this to be very scary since I normally just wave my hands to disperse them. Instead, I found myself in a place where they run towards me and watch my waving hand in expectancy.
The birds around me aren't emotional, but certain situations changes them. For example, I like to watch mother hens protect their chicks and you see genuine emotions whenever she does a head count and can't find one. This also identifies some sort of intelligence in them, being that they can actually identify numbers in their midst.
When uncertain about a location or individual, chickens stand on one leg. If they're in a pack, only one or two stand on one leg, while the others continue pecking at the ground for food or whatever. The ones that stand on one leg basically operate like scouts for the rest.
In my zone, the scouts are usually the alpha male of the pack. I have noticed that just like lions, chickens are territorial and don't like sharing their resources.
I remember one time that my landlord brought an outside chicken to stay in our area for a while. The outside chicken was a male that seemed a bit more timid. The dominant male in the area was hell bent on killing this new guy that I assume he considered to be a threat.
Despite not wanting to share, they actually are fine with sharing territories though. In another scenario, there were two males that were brothers. Both of them grew up the ranks together and after an accident that led to the death of the alpha male in the area, these young cocks that could barely crow had to take over the reins.
I watched them grow from being too tiny to mate any of the hens, despite numerous attempts, to being big boys. However, despite their selfish nature, I found it fascinating that these two males actually shared everything from mating rights, food and even crowing in the morning.
Between both of them, there was never a time when one was more dominant than the other. Also, they followed each other everywhere and even did chicken orgies like fraternity bros.
After watching them live their life, I grew a soft spot for these creatures. Instead of feeling fear, I started feeling an unexplainable calmness from watching them eat.
Every now and then, I throw food at them, just to watch them eat. I have established that they like tomatoes the best, but will also manage bread. They would also eat rice, beans and generally any grain you throw at them.
I'm mostly free of my fear of these birds and now, I like observing them. They are passionate creatures that just want to protect their loved ones. In the end, it turns out there's not much difference between him and and them after all.
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