Monday, May 12, 2014

The chickens and the crows: A love story

I can't begin to explain the wonder I feel when I think about the relationship that is going on between our chickens and the crows.

Let me back up a bit... we live in hawk country. I mean HAWK country. Herds of them, flying overhead, sitting in our red pines, swooping right down into our backyard to pick-up a field mouse (you should see Seneca's impression of this). And worst of all: attacking our chickens. They just do it for sport... spot them, swoop down on them, pin them, and peck them enough to kill, but not enough to enjoy a meal. It's cruel, but nature.

And the strangest part about these hawks praying on our laying hens is the wild crows' reactions. When a hawk perches itself on a low branch, just above our chicken coop, ready to take any bird oblivious enough to be taken (i.e., any of them), a pack of crows starts cawing. Loudly. And they begin to dart at the hawk, not scaring it, just annoying it enough because the chickens scramble to the underbrush and the hawk has now to deal with 3 to 4 screaming crows in its face. We even see the crows chasing the hawk in thy sky, mid-flight, darting at it as it glides away. And now whenever I hear screaming crows, I throw Seneca on my back, slip on some boots and run outside to make sure our layers are ok.

I am not quite sure why those crows protect our chickens. But here's my theory: the crows love our compost piles, we love our chickens, so the crows protect our birds. And now we love the crows, too.

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