So last night I had an idea for today's Chickam. I checked the logistics with my husband, who agreed that we'd try it.
It's always good to give the chickens new and interesting things to stimulate them and keep them curious and happy, and if it involves food it's REALLY good...at least to a chicken.
So off I went to Wal-Mart, where I'd noticed the day before a large bin of pumpkins. A couple of the employees spotted me with a pumpkin in my cart and had stared at it like it was killing their soul while sighing, 'Pumpkins already?'
I agree, too early for Halloween. When I explained that it was a treat for my chickens, they'd kinda give me the polite smile/nod and back away from the crazy chicken lady. I did get to explain it more fully to the cashier ar least, who laughed.
I hauled my orange treasure home and today got busy carving. These ARE really cool, classic pumpkins, I'll give them that.
Carve out a big hole in the top, gut the gourd, then turn it around and cut a rectangular hole in the bottom, opposite the big hole.
The next step involved placed the webcam so that it's peeking into the pumpkin via the small rectangular hole. The cam is first wrapped in plastic to keep gobbets of pumpkin out of it. The cam is also anchored to a 2x4 to keep the chickens from knocking it over.
Add the prepared pumpkin...
Sora the white Leghorn provides the vital chicken supervision.
A lot of the chickens are molting, some quite drastically. Bug ran by and looked so bad that I had to chase her down and check her out to make sure it WAS just a molt.
Ready for this week's Chickam broadcast--live, from inside a pumpkin!
Rocks are added to brace the pumpkin and keep it from rolling away with poultry inside and convincing the chickens that humans are assholes out to prank them.
At first everyone is leery and steers clear, even though they have had pumpkins before and love them.
Sora is very food-driven, and is the first to approach and give it the one-eyed distrusting stare.
Sansa does too, although she prefers to crane her neck to look in while standing offsides a bit, ready to run away if the thing attacks her.
River joins in with the 'staring into the orange abyss' thing.
Baby joins in. Criminy, they are all as sober as judges and way too serious, no one has taken a peck yet. The staring thing is getting ridiculous. Time to break out the big guns.
I get the bag of live mealworms and start hucking out handfuls all around the outside of the pumpkin. Live mealworms being like Crack to chickens, caution is thrown to the winds and the entire flock comes running to get 'em some bugs.
I toss a handful into the pumpkin. Baby isn't shy, she dives in and eats them.
The others hang back until they realize that I'm not throwing out any more mealworms, then they finally join in and relax, and the pumpkin starts being eaten. The constant pecking sounds like rain on Chickam. Only about 4 of the standard-size hens could get their heads in there at once. In this shot you can really see the wholesale molting going on.
Finally they are satisfied that the pumpkin is food and a Good Thing, so we are able to go back inside and leave them to it. We recorded some of it, so we should have a video soon.
The view from Chickam was hilarious. Someone commented that it was like a weird James Bond movie opening.
photo by InveigleFrosty enjoyed it, anyway.