We have about 32 assorted birds on applewood farm at the moment.
We also have a casual restaurant that generates a generous amount of food waste.
Turns out, birds LOVE restaurant food.
Chickens love it; ducks love it; guinea fowl love it.
I’m sure geese would love it too, but we’ll never know because geese are jerks and they’re not allowed here.
It takes us about two days to fill a five-gallon bucket of food scraps so, every other day, the birds get their usual feed supplemented with everything from vegetable peelings and stems to leftover bread and french fries.
As long as there are no alliums (birds HATE onions, garlic, etc.) or citrus (also much-despised), the flock is noticeably uplifted on Bucket Days.
And, as long as the bounty is well-distributed all over the coop run, the birds seem to do an excellent job of sharing the goods. Everyone who wants some, gets some.
Except for Olga.
Olga lived for the past year in the rafters of the garage barn, along with the vast majority of the rest of the chickens. When something started killing all of our birds last spring, we modified the old goat run into a coop and moved all the remaining birds in.
Everyone stays there happily. That’s where the food is. That’s where the water is.
Olga, however, won’t be fenced in. She, apparently, needs to be free.
So she escaped the confines (and the warmth and the food) for a life on the road. Living on her own, she forages for bird seed that falls out of the feeder and, we imagine, is wicked thirsty most of the time. Typically, we find her lingering around the outside of the enclosure she rejected, most likely looking for a way back in. God help us, however, if WE try to put her back in. She will raise the dead with her squawking and screaming and the neighbors will call to make sure someone isn’t being murdered.
Some nights, after everyone has settled in and Olga is back on her garage barn roost, we’ll grab her and carry her back to the coop. Invariably, though, she just finds a way out. We’ll keep doing it because we want her to be safe and cared for, but she’ll likely just keep escaping because that’s what she wants.
Everyone else will continue to enjoy the thrice-weekly goodies which, to this day, she has yet to taste.