“Come take a look.” [Pioro]
The president himself, Pioro-san, led the way to the Saionji Company’s storehouse. The employee in charge opened the seemingly heavy door to reveal a dimly lit room. We passed through the gap between the goods piled up to reach a giant metal cage, inside of which were around 30 chickens.
Yes, the ‘that’ that Pioro-san was referring to earlier was none other than these chickens and their eggs.
Eggs are so packed with nutritional value that it’s often said that they alone are almost sufficient to meet all of one’s nutritional needs. They are also an important source of protein. When I think about how to procure food for those long trips away from town or when I’m somewhere like the Great Shurus Forest where it’s difficult to procure food, the thought of having my own brood of chickens to provide me a steady supply of eggs takes a huge load off my back.
Raising chickens doesn’t require as much space as other livestock, and they’re also relatively easier to raise. They’re convenient too since I can just raise them in their cage.
There’s just one thing bothering me.
I had been informed beforehand that the chickens they managed to procure were a little big. And these are certainly ‘big’, but… Aren’t they a little too big? I mean every one of them is as big as me. That’s basically the size of a human elementary school student.
“These chickens are a little… different from what I had in mind.” [Ryouma]
“Actually, I was also planning on getting normal ones, but…” [Pioro]
Oh, well that’s a relief. At least these chickens aren’t the ‘normal chickens’ of this world.
“These chickens are known as ‘Clever Chickens’. As you can see, they’re bird-type monsters and are basically giant chickens. Their eggs are no different from normal chickens, but they can lay several eggs in a day regardless of gender. That’s why they produce more eggs than normal chickens. If you can raise these critters inside your Dimension Home, you’ll be able to eat eggs whenever you please.” [Pioro]
“That’s great to hear, but surely it has some downsides too. That is compared to normal chickens.” [Ryouma]
There was something fishy about the way Pioro-san was talking and the attitude of that employee earlier was evidently strange.
Then again, I doubt Pioro-san really planned on hiding it.
Pioro-san matter-of-factly spoke of the downsides of the Clever Chickens.
“First of all, these chickens are stronger than normal. If you look at their feet, you’ll notice that their muscles are highly developed and their claws are sharp. Every clever chicken is a D Rank monster. But that rank goes up to a C when they’re in a brood, so only someone strong enough can raise them; otherwise, it’s too dangerous.
I don’t believe that would be a problem for you, however. After all, you are plenty strong, aren’t you, Ryouma? Besides, these critters have an inclination to flock together. You should have good compatibility with them. And if you can come to an understanding with them through the familiar contract, they might just end up easier to raise than your normal chickens.” [Pioro]
“I see. That certainly doesn’t sound too bad.” [Ryouma]
“Alright. The next problem is the food. Their staple food include grains and bugs. But when needed they can hunt and eat other creatures too. There’s no need to fuss about their food too much. It’s just that you have to prepare three times as much food as usual.” [Pioro]
“Are food raised with wood magic or with the use of the scavenger slime fertilizer acceptable?” [Ryouma]
“So long as the food is not poisoned, it should be fine. Broods living in the wild eat even goblins, after all. It should also be safe to feed them the meat of the monsters that attack you in the great forest.” [Pioro]
Alright. In that case, there should be no problems.
I was thinking of raising that special slime food that the madam recommended to me too anyway.
That being said, it doesn’t seem as if those are the only problems with these chickens.
“As for the biggest problem. It just so happens that these guys are smart in a rather half-baked manner.” [Pioro]
Wild clever chickens mix unfertilized eggs as decoys with their fertilized eggs. And when attacked, they work together with their brood to fight off threats and protect their nest. When they judge that they can’t win or that the losses they would incur would be too great, they will abandon their nest, taking with them only the fertilized eggs.
Apparently, they understand the value of their flesh and their eggs to their predators.
Their intelligence becomes even more striking when they are domesticated, as they are able to understand that what humans want are their unfertilized eggs.
Clever chickens born under the care of humans are even able to understand human speech to some extent, and when they’re not happy with their treatment – the quality of their food or their bedding – they’ll protest by boycotting the production of eggs.
They know they can be killed, but they also know that it would be a great loss to their human owners.
“…Am I expected to negotiate with chickens?” [Ryouma]
“It’s not really a negotiation. It’s more like if they’re unhappy, they’ll make your life miserable.” [Pioro]