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Posted: Tuesday 29 May, 2007

by Rosemary at 8:14pm in Anything goes 4 comments Add your own

I was leafing through an old copy of "Country Living" Magazine (August 2006) and came across an article called "Farming for the Future", about Warborne Organic Farm in Hampshire. It's quite an interesting article and I was quite enjoying it until I came to this bit "George spends a lot of time with his animals, particularly his chickens, which he trains to live free range. "When they first arrive I have to teach them how to forage," he explains. "I get on my hands and knees and use my finger to peck deep into the sward of herbs and grasses. They watch me curiously and then copy my action.""

The more I read it, the funnier it gets. Do me a favour - no wonder the hens watch him curiously. Without wanting to anthromorphise (if that's the correct word), the chooks are thinking "What the hell is HE playing at?". Either that or Hampshire chooks are an awful lot more stupid than ours. Our day olds are pecking and scratching; I've worked on farms that took spent battery hens - within days they were indistinguishable, in behaviour at least, from the others. And, believe me, WE didn't teach them how to forage.

Now, I know CL is a lifestyle magazine not a trade journal, but give folk a break. Still giggling though. PS I WAS NOT teaching the chick to cheep!!

Comments

Sara

Tuesday 29 May, 2007 at 9:55pm

Your post made me laugh out loud especially when I got to the part about your video clip!!

Sara from farmingfriends

Brad K,

Wednesday 30 May, 2007 at 12:23am

When I put day old chicks in with their first waterer, I dip the beak in water to give them a firs taste. The feed I let them find for themselves.

Back when Monty Roberts and the Horse Whisperer were big headlines, I came across a slim volume writted about WWII, but Henry Blake, 'Talking With Horses'. Blake claimed a list of 30-some noises and signals that all horses use as 'language', from whinnies to ear flicks. Only he claims every herd and group of horses assigns different meanings to each. Learning how horses greet each other, the day, or feeding time at one farm would be different from the way the horses on the next farm would communicate the same thing. And the guy has a weird expectation of how horses should behave. He describes returning (to England) after The War to stand at the pasture gate. Horse runs gleefully to him, grabs Blake by the shoulder, lifts him up and shakes him. And Blake still thinks the horse is pleased to see him. *shudder*

As for your author, I would have tried scattering a cup of scratch mix across the grass a couple times the first couple of days. Should be simpler. And not nearly as embarrassing for the neighbors to see.

Karen

Wednesday 30 May, 2007 at 10:16am

Good job ours knew how to be chickens we couldn't of taught them!

Wanda

Thursday 31 May, 2007 at 8:53am

Hey there Rosemary and Dan!!

Sorry I have not been visiting my most FAVORITE blog, but I think I have this ill health of mine behind me now! I will not try to comment on all the past posts I missed, but I DID READ THEM ALL!! Loved them as usual!

Rosemary - You are most certainly RIGHT about how you are going about repairing the mental and physical damage one gets from a accident. Patience and understanding works wonders with horses. I know by just reading your post that you both will do very well. I am so happy that neither one of you were hurt worse. REWIND, LEARN AND GO FORWARD! You relationship with Smokey will be even DEEPER now!

So sorry to hear about Purple. Does sound like a heart issue, doesn't it?

How is the garden? Our peas, carrots, onions, potatoes and tomatoes are doing well. Now we have to keep the deer out!

It was 93 degrees here today. A little too warm!

Interesting about the Royals. We never see pictures like that here. Thanks for sharing!

Hope you both are having a GREAT spring in Scotland! Take care and be CAREFUL!!

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