Sunday, July 3, 2011
True Chicken Story
This will sound like a tall tale, but cross my heart...
I have some Asiatic Lilies growing just outside the back door. For whatever reason, this summer the chickens have decided the dirt around these lilies is THE ONLY DIRT they can take their dirt baths. Dirt baths? Yes, dirt baths. They instinctively do it to keep pests at bay. They scratch the dirt loose, then get down in it, rolling and flexing their feathers and using their wings to get the dirt to the skin. Then, when sufficiently dirty, they stand up, walk a few feet or several feet, shake, sending some of THE DIRT flying, carrying the rest of THE DIRT away. The problem is the lilies now have exposed roots or so barely covered as to be exposed. Oh, I forgot to mention that these are among the most beautiful flowers in saturated red, orange and yellow. Really stunning.
Though I've tried encouraging them elsewhere, or chasing them off, still they persist. I mean the yard is huge and there is an enormous hosta garden that they could go to town in, but noooooo... Only the lily dirt will do. One particularly frustrating day, after chasing them out several times, my husband suggested putting rocks around the base of the lilies, so off to the rock pile I went while he replenished the dirt with some from the field.
So an hour later, the lilies are protected by rocks around the perimeter and there is plenty of dirt so they will flourish. But aggravated with the chickens still, as they'd created a dent in my day I hadn't planned on, I'm walking back from the veggie garden with the daily harvest, when I notice them helping themselves to the raspberries.
I say "Listen, who told you you could have raspberries?" No reply, though they do stop to look at me. "LB (which is the name of the ringleader), you are already on my list today, you really want to eat the berries, too." At which she looks me right in the eye, leans over, snatches another berry, then looks me in the eye again.
I swear. As if she understood every word I'd said. Like any 2 year old worth their salt, doing exactly what they've been told not to. It was so comical that I burst out laughing. Anyway, the point to this story for me is not to take myself, my lilies or my plans too seriously.
in the picture, taken earlier this spring, you can see the chickens getting down in the dirt for a bath, LB is the orange chicken whose head is partially hidden from view, closest to the sprouting tulips.