Friday, April 2, 2010
Chicken Camp, Day 1 & 2
Let me start off by saying I LOVE CHICKEN CAMP! This is the first Camp in a series of 4 and while I was a little figured there would be some stuff I knew, I also came to fill in some 'holes' and to learn even more. That's exactly what's happening.
We started off by receiving our chickens. We each have 2 chickens with different characteristics. For example, I have one white chicken who is a speedy-bird and my brown bird is a bit more of a thinker. I'm thrilled with both birds, but am especially intrigued with my brown thinker bird (who is pictured above). I love animals that work to the beat of a different drummer!
Our first exercise was to get our bird to peck at the white dot in the middle of our black target. White bird quickly and easily did it (I believe this bird has been to a prior camp) and then my brown bird (who is very young) was the last in our class to peck the target.
Today I felt we were very, very close as her head was now about 2 inches from the target and for the heck of it, we decided to try a different technique. We decided to try putting a piece of food on the spot we wanted her to peck to encourage the wanted behavior and give us something more precise to try. The result was that my chicken got mad! She knew I'd changed the rules and wasn't so thrilled with that and actually nipped me in frustration
. We tried putting food on the table to see if she'd go for that. Yeah, that resulted in a second nip! Terry Ryan quickly swooped in and took my brown girl and several times offered up a new chicken. She even made me try a new one and I was bored because this trial chicken was way too much like my other chicken. I mean who wants to birds of the same temperament?
So I told Terry I really wanted my bird back because I loved a good challenge. Low and behold, the next working session, my brown girl pecked like maniac. I felt so accomplished for having worked through it with that tough bird! She is my favorite!
My white chicken will go on to discrimination training tomorrow while my brown bird has been given a non-becking task. I had to train her to go in a circle and wouldn't you know, that bird was so in tune to me and is doing amazing circles with little effort. I guess pecking just isn't her thing...
Well, I'm off to bed and looking forward to Day 3 of Chicken Camp!!!