In an earlier blog, we learned about why the Zoo has a free-range chicken flock. Now, it’s time to meet these lovely ladies and gentlemen!
Silver Bullet is the bossiest and smartest member of our flock, and very enthusiastic about food. She sounds like a goose when she is really letting us know she wants to eat! She gets so excited about eating bugs and worms that she wants to jump on your arm to get them. The bird keepers have even tried some enrichment for Silver Bullet – they placed some bugs hidden in a toy puzzle ball. The other chickens were stumped, but Silver Bullet figured it out and got her snack!
A less extroverted member of the flock is Polly Rose, who tends to hang out in what we call “Pheasant Run” which is by the big bird bank in the Birds of the World area. She has a penchant for jumping right up on the prep table and helping herself to food while keepers are trying to make food for all the birds!
Tootsie is one of the oldest chickens. She’s called Tootsie because she has extra toes! She’s very loud.
Another older hen is Big Mama – she’s about 8 years old, and she’s big and brown. She’s a bit slower than the rest, so if she’s crossing the path, it may take a bit more time for her to do so.
Mary Jane is the only black hen we have, and she’s the softest member of the flock, because her breed is called Silky. She is named after candy just like Tootsie and several other hens…see if you can pick out which ones!
Twizzler is aptly named because she has one curly toe on each foot, similar to the twisty candy of the same name.
The roosters, the two men of the flock, are named Long John (his color happens to be Silver – ha!), and Tobe (short for Toblerone) he is the smaller of the two (about half the size of Long John). These guys rule the roost for sure.
The Zoo’s flock is also very well-trained: they get fed out of a red plastic Folgers coffee can, and when the bird keepers bang on it, they know to come running. This is how they know to show up for their chicken chat, too – did you know you can meet our chickens every Tuesday at 2:30?
Thanks to Kasey, one of our awesome bird keepers, for the great information!