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Roosting (not roasting) chickens

Jarno_Peschier@saybolt.nl wrote:
> That's right. In the park next to my parents house there are
> numerous chickens running loose and very often in the evening
> they retire for the night into the trees, so you see groups
> of chickens sleeping in trees. Not something you expect of
> chickens, really. Also during the day quite regularly you can see
> a chicken up a large tree too, sometimes even at two or three
> meters above the ground. And they definately fly up there; they
> don't climb up the trees.

I've read journals from the pioneering days of Victoria, Australia (1830s) that
mentioned the behaviour of their chickens. In the absence of the usual
infrastructure (ie. chicken coops) and in an almost completely wild environment
with numerous predators, the chickens tended to roost high in trees during the
night. Apparently they encouraged hatchlings to scrample their way into trees
for the night quite soon after hatching (within a few days).

I wonder whether any small theropods took shelter in trees as juveniles (just as
young cheetahs spend more time in trees than their mothers do)? Could the first
flight characteristics have been juvenile traits retained into adulthood? Do
juvenile small theropods have different forelimb propotions to their adult forms
(perhaps indicating a scansorial phase while young)? Certainly Hoatzin loose
their climbing equipment as they get older.

        Dann Pigdon
        GIS Archaeologist
        Melbourne, Australia

        Australian Dinosaurs: