Saturday, August 25, 2012

It Takes a Village to Raise a Chicken

The chickens doing what they do best - eating
Over the past months Ricky's* chickens have grown in size although reduced in number - the original five are now only two. However, the survivors seem to be going strong. After the third one expired Ricky decided to let the remaining pair out of their pen to roam freely around the compound. They've really taken to their new free-range lifestyle, terrorizing termite mounds right and left and sauntering through everyone's yards like they own the place.

Ricky himself departed post a few weeks ago, heading for greener pastures in Pakistan via language training in DC, and the compound inhabitants have collectively adopted his poor orphaned poultry. I think we're all feeding them now - residents, guards, and staff - and as a result they're plumping up nicely on a steady all-you-can-eat buffet of rice, termites, Ritz crackers, and stale hot dog buns. They've also gotten very social, as they associate people with food and go crazy with delight and anticipation when they see you. It's pretty cute. They don't seem to have enough of a healthy fear of cars though, so you have to keep an eye out for them coming and going. We've lost too many already for any chicken-crossing-the-road mishaps.

The internet says they should be ready to start laying in September or October, assuming they are actually female. I can't really tell. But in the meantime even if we don't have eggs we can still cultivate our agrarian virtue.

*Not his real name, but he picked it out.

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