Feeding the Masses


Birds Are Like Dogs And Kids…

OK. So I’m not exactly feeding the masses – I’m just feeding a few birds that have decided, for some odd reason, not to leave for warmer climes just yet. It only feels as if I’m feeding the masses.

Here’s an observation recently. Some context first:  I started moving the food and water out to the dogs side of the fence in the morning – near the protection of the pine trees, so that the chickens are — well — protected. I noticed that lately, all the small brown birds are hanging out in this one pine tree, located close to the building and the food (makes perfect sense.)

When I am not physically around, these small birds go into the building and flap around, check out the inside of the coop, and eat whatever fine morsels are hidden among the wood shavings.  The chickens don’t like it much and they squawk about it when there are just too many little birds flying around in there. Then I need to go and wave them all out to bring peace back to the flock. And this happens several times a day when the doors remain open.

Back to the point here:  being the responsive animal caretaker that I am try to be, I put down an entirely separate feeder (same food as the chickens) and water just for the wild birds, near where they tend to hang out – along the fence, on the roof edge, and in the pine tree.  I do this to entice the birds to stay outside and eat from their own bowls. This is what I’ve been seeing every day:


That’s right. Nothing.  Nothing, but the bowls of food and water.  Now I do realize that this little observation may be confounded due to the shape and/or location of the bowls. So tomorrow, I’m going to switch around the locations and observe what happens. If I need to, I may go ahead and buy a few more shallow trays and another water pail.

But here is my theory and it explains what I have seen the dogs do and what I KNOW kids do…and that is they ALL tend to want, take, use what the “other” has. It doesn’t matter if a particular Thing is identical in every way, be it bones, toys, food, treats, seed, feed…all these little animals just tend to want, take, and use the other guys stuff first — and to the greatest degree possible. That’s what I think these little birds are doing.

And frankly, the chickens don’t like that either,  as they hurry back and decide what to do about the little seed urchins,  after noticing all the brown birds clamoring around their stuff…


After some clucking about, they commissioned Ruby Redhead to guard the food and water:


I don’t notice that chickens have this same “scarce resource” mentality. Chickens seem to act a bit more civilized, especially with each other (sharing food and taking turns) and although they do take dog food from the dog bowl, I have no reason to suspect  they view it as anything but theirs to take.

Notice they don’t even check out the “birds” food…


But as soon as the chickens leave their food source, look who comes back…the feed snatchers…


Update: Just like I said — chickens can be civilized…