The Kalu Yala Blog

The Chicken Whisperer

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February 20, 2013

by Nicole Keklak
Posted In: Animal Science, Display on Agriculture

All during our first stint in the valley the chickens proved to be a bit of a problem. The hens laid eggs in people’s beds (which contrary to what you may think was not appreciated). They often got on the tables in the common area and just generally hung out where they weren’t really supposed to. The interns and the directors alike grew rather disgruntled with chickens who were now viewed as pests. I decided to take on the challenge of taming of these out of control birds.

It all came down to five chickens, one dilapidated coop, and me, the soon to be called Chicken Whisperer. First step to getting these unruly birds out of our common area was getting the coop into a more chicken friendly condition. The floor was all busted in, there were no roosts to speak of, nor were there any nest boxes. First step: remove the floor.

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Demolishing the floor was easy. I may have kicked a few mice and a giant toad out of their homes, but the jungle has plenty of suitable environments for them to live in. The next step was making a roost that the chickens would enjoy. Branches are in abundance in the jungle and work perfectly. In no time the chickens were roosting in their refurbished home.

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Nest boxes were the next task. This took a little more creativity but we got them up and running. Having the inside finished was a huge improvement. The chickens were happier and so were the people. Last step was getting a door that actually would keep them inside and putting new wire up on the windows… the windows was definitely the easy part. Myself and two other interns built a new door while it was still on the hinges. It was our only option since there were no screw drivers and we definitely don’t have power tools!

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With the coop functioning, I put their food and water in the coop and kept them closed in for a three days so they got used to the idea of the coop actually being home. The test was letting them out and it was a success when the hens went back to the coop nest boxes and laid their eggs. The hens seemed quite happy with their new nesting situation.

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