I’ve tried recruiting the chickens to manage the massive crop of wriggling larvae (think young flies) that have sprouted in our new chicken-bits-and-sheep-manure compost pile. (If ever there was a day to be glad to be on your side of the computer, rather than mine, perhaps this is one. If you’re squeamish, that is.) So I invited the chickens over – first by picking up and placing on the pile one of the young roosters. Their jobs, we’ve learned, is to alert the hens to scratched-up grub. A good rooster will locate some food and quietly summon the hens with a call that seems both a murmur and a coo. Chuck Norris the rooster, shown above, is a stellar, selfless food-distributor. The young rooster I placed on the heap initially – not quite ‘with it’ yet. He took off running back to the coop and was oblivious to the smorgasbord of protein being offered. To get these chickens to the heap took far more work than I would like – I lured them in with calls of ‘here, chicky-chicky’ and some grain, and then had to fend off the cats, who’ve learned that ‘here, chicky-chicky’ means there will be food thrown on the lawn for them to enjoy. I’m not sure how to correct that misunderstanding.