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Keeping Chickens Newsletter

January 2014 Vol. 2

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January 2014
Vol. 2

The Hen and Her Ancient Tribe
Peyton Boswell

 

The poultryman who has a genuine love for his birds may find it hard to believe that a hen is a full sister to an alligator and first cousin to a snake; that she has in fact descended - or shall we say ascended? - from a reptile.

But many believe this to be true, nevertheless, and the hen carries with her, both physically and mentally, many hints of this apparent relationship.

The scales of her legs are a survival of the time when she lived in the water and the slime, and her extreme fondness for fish (try throwing one to your flock) is a survival of the time when she almost lived on that dainty - an appetite that has persisted in spite of the fact that for millions of years she has existed on dry land and subsisted on insects and herbs.

The hen is much lower in the animal scale than any other creature which man domesticates. Her brain is of so low an order that she is almost entirely devoid of the reasoning powers which one finds in the horse, the dog or the cat. She does no seem to think at all, all her conscious actions being based on instinct. This being true, it is only natural that the instincts of the domestic fowl should be most highly developed. A correct understanding of these instincts and the reasons for them is necessary in the successful brooding and management of poultry. Therefore it is wise for every poultryman to make a careful and sympathetic study of the instinct of his flock - the things that it naturally likes or dislikes. He will find this first hand knowledge useful in many ways. One can learn algebra out of books, but to learn the poultry business it is necessary to work with poultry.

It fills one with the awe of eternity to let the imagination go back over the millions of years in which the hen has developed from the time when she was a reptile, eating fish and wading ashore to devour herbs, to her present state of honor in poultry shows and backyards around the world, or as winner of a prize at an egg laying contest.

All life, many biologists have said, had its origin - billions and billions of years ago - in the warm slime along the seashore. The first living organisms, mere individual cells, or protozoa, used to live from moon to moon along this slender line where


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Keeping Chickens Newsletter - Published January 2014 by www.Self-Sufficient-Life.com