Chicken Nuggets

At a family gathering yesterday, I mentioned to my first cousin once removed that I was thinking of using this title for my next post. Her little boy (my first cousin twice removed) said solemnly, “I like chicken nuggets” – and there was the perfect intro.

While we enjoy chooks’ eggs and meat, sometimes their actions let us know that there are some nuggets of wisdom to be learnt from them. The following two nuggets don’t come from my own chooks. I’m struggling a bit to think what wisdom they offer, charming as they are. Perhaps, the early bird gets to wake Anne up demanding breakfast or look how much dirt you can move in just one day from here to there.

Nugget One: One of a friend’s hens suddenly had a brood of six chicks in tow. It turned out that the neighbour had acquired some fertilised eggs for her own broody hen. The hens continue to move freely between the two back yards and seem happy to share the raising of the little chickens.

There’s a lot to speculate about this story. How did the adoption of chicks occur? Did the broody hen lose interest? Did she hand over the incubation to the other hen just as they hatched so they imprinted on her?

Nugget Two: One of the contractors who came to my house to clean and check the solar panels on the roof last week said morosely that he used to have hens. “Oh! What happened?” I asked sympathetically. “The neighbour got a rooster,” he replied. His hens had promptly moved next door.

Who wouldn’t fall for this fine fellow?
Photo credit: This Chicken Life, p87. Photo by Ilana Rose

You could draw humorous conclusions from these two stories, but I like to think that they show the simplicity of mate, procreate, and cooperate instincts and, given events in the world today (take your pick) we can learn a lot from not-so-feather-brained birds.

Addendum: To give my chooks some credit, they also flock and cooperate – more than they compete – and they provide two households with eggs. The cooperation which develops between flock and farmer is perhaps the best zoonotic effect.

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