Today I picked up a thing of worms for my chickens, mostly because I couldn't believe there were containers of worms on the shelf at the convenience store I had stopped at, and because I wanted to give my girls a treat.
I thought this would be pretty straightforward, I would set out the container of dirt and worms, they'd dig the worms out and eat them similar to the manner in which a pelican swallows a fish. Quick and painless.
Instead, I set out the container and they tried to run into the house behind me. I shooed them back out and directed them back to the container and they lined up and stared at me expectantly. I picked up a small stick and stirred around until I saw some worms and set it back down.
Chicka immediately snatched one up, Ha! I thought, They get it! She proceeded to shake her head back and forth frantically. The other chicks noticed she had something and began to shriek and chase her. She began to run, also shrieking, while thrashing her head and the worm back and forth while they attempted to snatch it. They corner her and start pecking and she tosses the worm aside and throws down into a full on chicken fight, a flurry of wings and shrieks. Within seconds they all forget about the whole ordeal and start pecking at chicken feed, as the worm crawls away behind them.
This has been repeated at least 30 times in the last hour, and the area is littered with tortured and dying worms. A few have been eaten, so it's not like they don't like them, they just keep forgetting.
I think next time we'll just skip the worms. That's no way to die and the chicks are just as happy with a piece of bread.