We've been feeding these 80 chickens in Namie-machi, in Fukushima, for a few months now. The owner has long evacuated, and when we first found them they were dehydrated and hungry, a few of them dead. Since then, we've been going back twice a week, on Wednesdays and weekends, to replenish their food and water supply. They've grown healthy and robust and have started laying a ton of eggs. They have a relatively large coop - I'd say at least 15X30 feet - with lots of space to peck and roost.
I've learned a couple of things about chickens that I didn't know before. First, how to hold one, taught to me by Sister Michael Marie, one of our volunteers. "Control the feet, control the bird," she says. You thread your middle three fingers between the feet, holding on tightly, and the bird will soon be calm and let you stroke its feathers.
Another: chickens are really friendly. After the first time we went, they would run to the door as we pulled up, strutting around our ankles and crowding the entrance, in anticipation of food and water. I haven't been pecked, and they let me pet them, coming close if I crouch down.
I was afraid that a roosting hen would peck me if I messed with her while she was laying, but they don't seem to mind at all if I gently pull the eggs out from under them. Did you know that chickens eat their own eggs? We pull the eggs out and put them among the feed and they peck them open and eat them up, getting protein and calcium. They even eat the shells.
Right now, one of our volunteers has sent an egg to a lab to be tested for radiation. So far, the iodine levels have been normal. We're waiting on the results for cesium. These chickens have been living almost unattended for four months in the 30km. zone of Fukushima. I'd like to dedicate these chickens to Andy, who sent me a donation, and Anastasia, who donated a microwave and mini fridge to us. Thanks guys!
The owner, whom we finally contacted, has said that he's willing to let the chickens go to adoption. Anyone want some chickens?