This morning Derek and I raked out the chicken run while Ian mowed and bagged some fresh grass clippings for them. I figure if we have to mow the lawn, we may as well feed the grass to the chickens. The chickens found a lot of grain they had missed when we removed the old clippings and what-not. Then they enjoyed the fresh grass clippings when we were done. The old clippings are now sitting in a pile next to the berry bushes where I can apply them as mulch.
While the boys worked on removing some Virginia Creeper vines from the spruce trees in the back yard, I hopped in the truck and drove to Tri-County Tire where I picked up two truck tire inner tubes for the pond. When I was growing up we had inner tubes to play with in the pond and I remember I had a lot of fun with them. They're a lot more durable than the cheap inflatable ones they sell for pools. If you've got boys, you need tractor/trailor strength inner tubes! They will last for several seasons.
After dinner, I sat in the chicken run, determined to get videos of crowing roosters. (Well, actually they're cockerels since they're under a year old.) Anyway, I captured the three top roosters crowing! It's interesting to note that Silver, the Silver-Spangled Hamburg, has a higher-pitched four-part crow while the Australorp (Achilles) has a three-part crow and the Barred Rock (Roo) has a two-part crow. Achilles has the deepest voice too. Here's Silver and Achilles announcing their virility. Derek swears he saw Rudy crow for the first time this morning. He doesn't seem interested in the video though.
Roo's got somethin' to say too. (And so does goofy Derek in the background!)
I wonder why roosters crow. Though some claim to know why, do we really know? I think it has something to do with flock cohesion as well as a show of strength and vitality. Roosters, in general, do not crow all day long. I notice them crowing in the morning, at noon, in early afternoon and again in the early evening. I keep looking for an event that sets it off but nothing seems apparent. Even roosters that don't have to compete with others within a flock will still crow, so it must have some significance for the entire flock. What do you think?
Another interesting behavior roosters exhibit is the "tough guy" posturing. They strut right up next to each other, close enough to brush feathers with their opponent. They raise their outer wing and stand straight and tall trying to look as big as possible. If the other bird yields, all is well. If not, they're bound to spar. Achilles does this sideways "tough guy" dance to me regularly, but I'm onto him. I know that this can be the beginning of aggression if I don't keep him in check. If he gets too close or too uppity, I raise my hand above him and he stops with a submissive look on his face. If I can do so without causing a commotion, I'll reach out and pick him up, cradling him like a football. He settles right in and lets me stroke his back and scratch under his chin. He doesn't mind much if I fiddle with his comb either. I keep my eye on him when I'm around him and I've warned the boys to do the same. Roosters don't know they're birds. In their minds, they're bulls!