We have a fairly substantial apple tree in the yard, so autumn is all about raking leaves and cleaning up apples. This year I've had a lot of "help" from the hens. (I’d also like to give a shout-out to the squirrel or whatever rodent it is that is eating up a good number of the fallen apples.)
Turns out the chickens' gangly, taloned feet are ideally suited to raking leaves. Unfortunately, their tiny, food-obsessed brains are not ideally suited to raking leaves into neat piles.
So, here's how it goes. I rake the leaves into small piles, like this.
The chickens, who treat me as sort of the big chicken on campus, see me raking and think it's a pretty good idea. I'm always coming up with the best treats (bowls of rice, stale cereal, seeds, mushy blueberries, etc.), so in their minds, wherever I'm scratching around must be the best place to find the good stuff. Shortly after I finish raking a pile together, the hens go at it, like this.
I think I know how my parents must have felt every fall when we would "help" them rake the leaves into giant piles, only to fly into them at top speed and redistribute them throughout the yard. But hey, I guess we were cute and funny, and so are the hens.