Beagles n’ Birds
I often say that my poultry behave like clockwork. Of course they don’t. The animal and plant kingdoms may act in predictable patterns, but those patterns are not dependent on anything as trivial as a clock. Except of course for those whose lives are closely dependent on modernized humans.
Today the dogs and I were up and out at 5:30 like usual. The dogs, being house dogs and dependent on me to walk them, are finely attuned to time. While they may just crack an eye if I head to the bathroom at 4 A.M., anything after 4:30 means they are tumbling out of their box, stretching and yawning and ready to GO! Usually the ducks hear us come out the door and start quacking to be let out. Not today. It was unusually dark due to fog and cloud cover. Even the wild birds were quiet and startled as we rushed by them in the woods. In the upper pasture there was no sign of deer coming out to feed. The ground is very dry and even with some fog the grass was hardly wet. The dogs found nothing to bring out there bark.
The birds’ patterns are highly dependent on light. The chickens go to roost first at dusk. The turkey will take his place on the shed roof a bit later, but still before dark. The ducks, like truant children on a warm summer night will not go into the coop before night has fallen. You can herd them around and around the coop all you want. They will appear to be complying until they veer away from the door at the last minute. It appears to me that most of their foraging happens at dawn and dusk. I think the damp air helps to bring out the bugs and worms they feed on.
The cat is an interesting combination. Our cat prefers to be outside in all kinds of weather. When he deigns to sleep in the house, he will ask to go out at any time that someone wanders the hallway. If that doesn’t work, he insists on being out just before most of the birds start to sing. I assume that is prime hunting time for him as well. In midwinter he will wait until the aroma of fresh brewed coffee starts to waft from the pre-set pot, but 9 months out of the year you will be awoken by piteous yowls or the persistent sound of items being knocked off of shelves.(and some people insist animals don’t think)
I am convinced that part of the problem of the human condition comes from being chained to a clock. Get up-get UP! It’s 5:30, doesn’t matter if it is light or dark, hot or cold, rainy or dry. The CLOCK says it is time. Produce, produce, produce…..at a rate set by the clock…..work harder, faster, don’t look at the clock until the clock says it is time.