Monday, March 31, 2014

Barnyard Management

[ed notes: Periodically, we will ask some of the critters on the farm if they would like to have anything in particular put on the farm blog.  Since the chickens are finally getting more opportunities to roam around outside, Harold the rooster wanted to remind everyone about the responsibilities he, as barnyard manager, must deal with.  After all, Harold needs to feel appreciated.  So - without further ado...]

Guest Writer: Barnyard Management
by Harold

As the chicken flock manager here at Genuine Faux Farm, I thought it would be useful to provide an insight into a job that is under appreciated by most - including, I think (ahem ahem) that odd guy with the red hat.

Management of the barnyard can be difficult and challenging, but there are some things the astute rooster can do in order to maintain order and control:

First, personal conditioning is critical. For example, a rooster should be certain to work on his lung capacity on a regular basis. Poor lung capacity can result in inadequate volume and duration of the crow. However, few understand that the real key to a good crow is a strong diaphragm muscle.  It is also important to have strong legs for striking the necessary authoritative poses.

The good barnyard manager must also maintain the perception that he is a good provider for the flock. I have found that keeping an eye on the humans is a good way to be forewarned of the appearance of food resources. Once I have determined that food is most likely going to appear, I do my best to distract the flock with an emergency drill. Once the drill is over, it is a simple matter to saunter over to the food and announce its discovery.

Another well known tactic to building a reputation as a no-nonsense barnyard manager is to periodically take on opponents bigger than you. The easiest target would be one of the big humans that come out to the barnyard.  But, a smart rooster must balance one's reputation with the flock with the good will of the humans.  Only use the technique of pretending aggression with the humans when your approval ratings within the flock require a boost.

I should stress that the selection of an opponent must be carefully undertaken.  The 'threat' should certainly appear real enough to impress the flock, but it is best if no real danger is likely. For example, I find it works well to employ a confederate at times.  If you can identify a hen or two that is a bit flighty, you could imply that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Once they are over the fence, wait until the humans come to collect her and put her back into the pasture.  At that point, you should make a big fuss.  This shows everyone how much you care about the well-being of your flock.

Finally, domicile identification each evening is important to maintain a safe and healthy flock. I have found that going back to the location we stayed the night before is an excellent approach. The good rooster must make certain that the entire flock is discouraged from aberrant domicile identification behavior. Proper use of crowing and posturing, combined with some pecking and flapping should do the trick.

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