September 20, 2013

Fowl research

In the UK, six universities have each taken a share of $3.4 million in grants to study how humans interact with chickens.

Yes, chickens.

Yes, how humans interact with them.

Since 6000BC. 

That is, the study will look at human interactions with chooks over thousands of years.

This announcement has been bought to you by KFC. 

As you were. 


  1. Jim Clarke8:07 AM

    Sub-titled "Ovens through the ages"

  2. Can't wait to see the booooooooooooooook book book book book.

  3. I would have to assume any such book will contain recipes, to illustrate the inventive ways humans have cooked chooks over the eons.

  4. The research will also involve taking chook DNA samples.

    In Oz, of course, the DNA hasn't had any new stock for ... how long is it? ... 40 or 50 years? And with recent loss of French breed that was finally going to be introduced (although kept pure) we now seem destined to eat the same chook over and over, forever.

  5. Caz, I just remembered - I've been hearing some great duck stories from the Baron, who works on a campus that is blessed with quite a bit of avian life.

    The ducks are just starting to breed, which has triggered an interesting defensive behaviour in the drakes - rushing at passersby and hissing at them. Apparently they don't do this at any other time of the year, so it must be solely to convince the ducks that they are good at defending their progeny.

    A few weeks after telling me this story, the Baron came back observing that the ducklings on campus had now hatched, and she had observed one duck leading her new brood (very new - still had fuzz rather than feathers) over a path to a puddle, where they could learn to swim in, as it were, the kiddy's pool.

    The Baron (who is a keen-eyed observer of such activities, and has seen this happen in previous years) also informs me that, as more ducks have ducklings, they seem to be confused over who has what duckling, so that a duck that has a small flock of four or five ducklings may find their flock increase to ten, then twenty - by the end of the season, apparently, there'll be a few ducks with gigantic flocks and the rest will be free to do their own thing.

    For their part, La Trobe takes this avian life very seriously. Apparently they sent out an email to all staff a few weeks ago: "Ducks and moor hens have right of way on roads on campus.... please be aware and drive slowly".

    I told the Baron last week to come back with more duck stories but she's had few opportunities since then. And that's quite enough out of me...

  6. Tim - I'm loving that the ducks and noor hens have right of way on the roads.

    The mother ducks are smart, aren't they? Breed them, then sneakily hand then over to another unsuspecting mother duck to raise, while they get on with their leisure activities. What an excellent strategy, I wonder if they take turns each breading season, though - the mother who raised a squillion ducklings last time gets time out, or has learned from the last batch to ditch her ducklings quick smart, lest she be the one leading all of the babies, again.

  7. The 'right of way' for ducks and moor hens is endearing, isn't it.

    Having observed our chooks I've been able to see that they really do have strong social instincts - when our Daisy became broody, she would take it upon herself to roll other chooks' eggs under herself and take care of them. And they would expect her to do it, too - they'd peck her if she was out of the nest for too long!

  8. Seems that other animals don't need a mummy chat room or mummy blog to harangue other females about how to meet appropriate mothering expectations!