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Clucks, Cackles and Chatter

A day in the life of Shamba keeper and wildlife enthusiast Jeremy includes more feathers than you would expect
Above: A day's harvest from the Shamba — crowned by a big basket of eggs

‘In the morning, a man walks with his whole body. In the evening, only with his legs'  —Turkana saying
 
It’s 06h00 in the Mara. An early riser, I briskly do my morning routine double-quick, grab my Swarovski binoculars and head to Angama’s Shamba. My goal is to keep the cheeky baboons at bay and ward off the ever-destructive battalions of speckled mousebirds trying to devour my veggies.

My long legs quickly get me there — albeit making a brief stop to confirm the twitters, chirps, songs and whistles from my feathered buddies. My love for birds is like a duck to water. I keenly do thorough rounds around the garden, double-checking the chicken coop and occasionally sauntering towards the deck to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. It’s magical how it generously sprays golden light past the floating balloons to illuminate everything it touches.

Jeremy arriving to work at his favourite time of day

Wait — long and complex warbles of sweet and harsh ‘chits’ and ‘tinks’ greet my ears. I focus my binos up the gigantic tree on the deck. A slim bird with whitish underparts, and a striking pale blue wash across the breast. Holy smokes! It’s an African blue flycatcher! The previous day’s guests were mesmerised as she trotted from branch to branch, fanning her tail, fully aware of her beauty.

As the day unfolds, Ian (our project manager and trainer) joins us for a landscaping demonstration. As he expertly marks the new pathways at the Garden of Remembrance, I spot a moran (‘warrior’) standing at the entrance with his trademark pose. Over his shoulder, a dozen colorful chickens were carefully tied up. We’ve all been awaiting their arrival.

The view of the Mara from Jeremy's 'green office'

Yesterday, Ian saw to it that we increased the birdlife in our chicken coop, as they are instrumental in delighting our guests. How therapeutic it is to watch them feed on the bolted lettuces and kohlrabi leaves, fascinating to see the young guests do a chicken run, and healthy for our guests as Chef Evans has a high preference for our fresh eggs.

Chicken enthusiasts across the blogosphere will agree that caring for a flock doesn’t just offer the benefit of freshly laid eggs, but the discovery of the many charms of chickens. They can be quite talkative, and not all their clucks and chirps sound the same. If you’ve ever wondered ‘What does a chicken say?’ you certainly will find out helping you better care for them: low murmuring shows the birds feel content and safe, while high-pitched calling and shrieks serve as a warning that a predator is attacking from above, such as a hawk.

Glen now rules the roost

We just received a new rooster; Glen is his name. His crowing is a wake-up alarm — time to hunt for worms and bugs and also announce his territory. If he finds a chubby worm, he tells the hens by making sounds like ‘tuk, tuk, tuk’. He carefully guards them, only eating the leftovers. ‘Gog! Gog!, Gog!’ goes the mating dance. Quick darts and sprints here and there as he attempts to court a hen. Then a little run, usually circling the hen while making the sound.

It’s almost noon. Preparations are in high gear for a Maasai blessing here followed by a drink stop later in the evening. ‘Cackle! Cackle!’ The ‘egg sound’ fills the air. Jennifer (the golden-colored hen) just laid an egg. She is joined in celebration by the others. We hope to soon hear the “Tuk, tuk, tuk” sounds of young chicks — while keeping a careful eye out for the soaring harrier hawks.

Maasai warriors prepare for a special blessing ceremony
When jumping becomes levitating

It's now 19h10. I finally wrap up the day by helping the utility team clean up and I head straight for the canteen. I quickly gobble my supper and rush to make a video call to my family. As my daughter turns a week old today, I pray that she spreads her wings high up someday and colours the world with her own beautiful feathers.

Filed under: Inside Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Shamba , Angama Team , Birding , Shamba

About: Jeremy Lorinyo

Jeremy applied to Angama as a Shamba keeper because he loves nature and has some of the greenest fingers we've ever seen. An aspiring guide, the only thing he misses about Nairobi is his beautiful wife and two daughters.

Browse all articles by Jeremy Lorinyo Meet the angama team

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Join the Conversation (2 comments)

Comments (2):

Matt

20 November 2022

I loved this story. More, please! 😃

    Charlotte Ross Stewart

    21 November 2022

    It's one of my favourites too! Jeremy assures us he has many stories to tell - stay tuned.

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