Chickens (7 of 52)

This week was action week: I proposed to take photos of the chickens in action! I am proud to say that most of them did stick to the theme, but there was one that was a resting action (explained below). In trying to capture movement in their daily play, they can be quite unpredictable, making it difficult to take the right shot.

The Chickens

The chickens this week have started growing up. An example of this is the (resting action) photo of Dolores trying to perch and sleep at the same time. It was taken on Sunday 13/09/2020, but because it was after I had posted last week’s photos, I decided to make it part of this week’s shoot. It is a resting action because, although Dolores is “sleeping”, she is putting a lot of effort to not fall forward.

I have been taking them to the balcony every day, twice a day: at lunchtime and after work. These times of day, it is warm and they run no risk of catching a cold. They seem to be enjoying the freedom a lot, but at the expense of the balcony now smelling like bird/chicken poop. We will need to give it a good wash over the weekend.

Two nights this week they perched on the top of the pen. Their bums sticking out of the pen and me waking up to poop on the floor around the pen. I mean: why would they cooperate with me, right? But it is good that they are starting to have adult chicken behaviors. Even though I’m not a chicken, I encourage as much as I can whilst tying to minimize the impact on the cleanliness of my floor. When I turn off the lights, they make a lot of noise settling down to sleep. A couple of the nights I stayed with them until they calmed down and were ready to go to sleep.

Valentina is turning out to be a real bully. Valentina picks on both her sisters, even though Consuelo is older and bigger than she. She randomly and deliberately pecks on the feathers of her sisters.

It feels like Dolores is attached at the hip with Valentina. Every time they are not together, Dolores complains. Dolores is the snitch of the three. Probably because she is too lazy to try to fly out of the pen; so if any of her sisters climb to the top of the pen and fly out (generally Consuelo) Dolores starts chirping VERY loudly, getting everyone’s attention that Consuelo is no longer in the pen.

Consuelo, obviously, gets “punished“. So, when the chicks get to the top of the pen and I can’t give them attention, I talk to them saying: go back inside. They, being chickens and not speaking English, ignore my suggestion. So I delicately pick them up and put them in the pen. If they insist in getting out again, I get the water spay bottle. They immediately fly back in. In the case when Consuelo has been found outside the pen, I squirt at her until I can pick her up in an uncomfortable position (belly up) and then I put her back in the pen. She dislikes it a lot.

The last thing I must comment on the chickens is that Valentina and Dolores are already heavier than Consuelo. It seems that either they are not of the same breed, or that Consuelo has a recessive gene that makes her a more delicate chicken (more slender beak, thinner legs etc).

The Challenges

While in their pen, it is difficult to capture them doing something interesting, for a couple of reasons: first, the angle isn’t great to capture the actions appropriately; second, there isn’t much space for them to play.

As mentioned in the previous section, I have taken them out of the pen into the balcony and backyard to allow them more freedom to run and play. The balcony, in spite being opened and bright, still doesn’t have direct sunlight to allow the usage of faster shutter speeds to freeze the action. I was hopping to get action photos of the actions both frozen as well as blurry, indicating movement.

I also had to keep my distance from them, to allow them to be playful, which meant I had to use a telephoto lens (70-300 mm). That’s really not an issue, but does impose a few challenges: getting the right zoom to get the appropriate composition and reduce the hand-shake blurs from the photos. In some of the photos, I did crop in post-production (i.e. using Lightroom) to make sure there wasn’t a lot of empty space in the photos.

Photos

The next week I’m back at a ‘normal week’, without any specific photographic theme. I will probably continue this way for a couple of weeks before introducing a new theme to the photos.

To see the 52 Weeks of Chickens – 2nd Generation project, click here.

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