21 July

Constance Gets Groomed, Some Nice Fat Bugs. What Is Instinct, What is Smarts?

by Jon Katz

Nature has many amazing ways of taking care of itself. It’s not unusual to see a chicken hop up on the back of a donkey or a sheep and do some bug grooming and itch scratching. I’ve offered why the sheep let chickens hop up on their back while they run away if most other creatures, including people, get too close.

And how do the chickens know that they can hop up on these animals and have them lie perfectly still as if they are getting a pedicure.

The chicks seem to know it’s okay to do that, even welcome. Constance never moved during her ten-minute grooming; I saw one of the chicks get some nice fat bugs.

Animal instincts are a fascinating subject for me; we rarely know what instinct is and what it is feeling or judgment. I can’t help but smile when I see an image like this—the Peaceable Kingdom at work.

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