Have you ever looked at an animal and thought, "There is something very wrong with you"?
I am the proud papa of eight Bantam chicks and after caring for them these last five weeks, I have come to the conclusion that there is something seriously wrong with these birds. They're neurotic. They've got great coloring and mad skills when it comes to catching bugs, but they are a nervous bunch. Even after all this time, they freak out when I reach in to give them fresh food or water. They'll come over and look at me if I talk to them, but I put my hand in the brooder and it's an explosion of feathers.
Unfortunately, any hope of them calming down seems futile at this point as their neurosis seems to be getting worse as they get bigger. This is frustrating, but the salesman warned me that this would happen.
So why did I get them if I knew they could be neurotic? For one simple reason: TICKS!
The snow is barely gone and already my son has come back to the house with a tick on him. I'm not sure why the bugs are so bad out here, but they are some persistent little parasites. And with Lyme disease being a real concern, I really wanted to do something that didn't involve dumping chemicals in the same area that my son plays in.
Sure, I could have purchased bigger birds for their meat or picked a breed of chicken that produces large bountiful eggs, but that wasn't really my goal. I wanted a free range bird that will follow its innate desire to rid the world of bugs. And given how these Bantams are already snatching flies out of the air, I have no doubt that they will make a dent in the tick population ... provided they don't have heart attacks first!
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