Harold offered sit without a lure today. I didn't go out yesterday so went out early this morning to see them. They were overjoyed. I sat down in the coop and just sat there, and waited.
Harold was perplexed. There was no arm to go under. There was no bar to go under. In the past he has even used my legs, but although my legs were stretched out, they weren't raised enough for him to go under. He decided maybe he could after all, and sat down in front of my legs to see if he could squeeze under.
Wait a minute! Harold thinks. I didn't go under anything at all! He experiments. He lowers his head. He drops his wings so low they touch the ground. He sticks his butt up in the air and waves it. Nothing.
He sits down to try and go under my leg again. Click!
Hmmm. He stretches up to look at me hard. He keeps his long neck up and his eye fixed on my face, and slowly lowers his legs. Click!
Harold gets it! The thing I've been looking for all this time is to bend his legs! Click! Click! Click!
20 minutes later, crop bulging, Harold decides to take a break on my legs and preen himself. He is a very smart boy and oh boy does he know it.
Here he is just coming up from a sit!
And him being the proudest boy on my legs. I'm going to try and go out there a second time today and reinforce his new found ability to sit. I suspect it's going to be another week or two before that sit is fully finished, but I'm very proud he got this part down.
It was a very long day for us here. My daughter has worked around the house doing what ever job anyone would give her to earn her own pet fish. Today she took her money to the pet store, and bought a fish tank, a betta fish, and all the things to make a very happy fish. It's name is Pompoms. She is very happy with it.
We spent most of the day fish shopping, setting it up, etc. Pompoms is very lucky to have an owner that carefully researched its needs before purchasing. It even has a betta-safe filter and a little heater so he doesn't get too cold.
I was so tired from all the fish shopping, but decided to go out there without the camera and just work on sit more. Harold was so proud to show me he knew what I wanted. He would strut, sit, strut, sit, strut, stand on my arm a minute, and then sit some more!
Right as we were finishing up, Harold suddenly got up and rushed the fence. He hit it hard! He fluffed up his feathers, he pounded his wings! In the back field, behind his chicken wire fence, a chain link fence, and some blackberry bushes I saw something small and wild hasten away. I'm guessing it was some sort of predator Harold was trying to defend the girls from.
He came right back and was super proud of himself. I'll bring the dogs around his pen later to scare off anything that might be thinking chicken is a mighty fine snack. Harold is only the size of a pigeon, so even though I'm sure he would defend his girls bravely, my money isn't on him in a fight.
Today, Harold asked himself a question. What if, instead of earning the corn through doing squats, he---say---stole the corn instead?
He's tried to put his head in my cup before, and I've just covered it with my hand. No work, no corn. Today he was very persistent though, to the point where I netted off the girls because they were not getting rewarded for their sits. I couldn't give them any without Harold trying to sneak his face in the cup!
I tried pushing him off. He didn't mind. He just hopped right back up. Finally, I set the corn up in the coop box.
Poor Harold. He thought he'd found Easy Street, but now there was no corn cup to stuff his face in. He was reduced to doing sits. Next time, I'll put the corn in my magnetically shutting treat bag instead.
He did work for those corns, and he's doing a lot better. Now I can show him a corn between my fingers and bring it down to the ground and he sits. He still doesn't have it on a verbal cue, but I imagine it is even harder for a chicken to understand human language than it is for a dog.
After he was finished, I left him and the girls a couple pots of oat grass for enrichment.
I may give him the day off tomorrow. I wonder if perhaps doing dozens of squats is making his legs sore, thus causing him to think about alternatives.
Harold did not like having two days off. He summoned and summoned yesterday, but only got food, water and some snacks. He was wildly glad to see me each time I came and took care of him. He was wildly disappointed when I left without our usual time together.
Whether he was sore, mentally tired, I don't know, but I do know he was sitting as well as the girls today for training. No funny business, no trying to get into my (magnetically sealed now) training pouch. He was all about those sits. He did so well, I started putting a verbal command to it.