Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chickens 101

We got chickens.
I've wanted chickens for close to a decade. And then out of the blue my friend sent me a text and said... "I've got 9 laying hens for you if you want them".
And after we stressed for a few days about where the chickens would sleep (the camper seemed like an idea although not an exceptional one, but the only thing we had available).
So Jason, being the builder of all things, started dreaming up ideas for this coop.
Within 24 hours he started building a house for our chickens.
After some late nights and stressful moments of trying to get the Residence Inn ready he produced a pretty sweet looking coop.
Making the Mrs. happy.

Since their arrival we have been watching their peculiar ways.
I've never been around chickens before and they fascinate me tremendously!
Like the fact that the first night they all slept under the stars while their new Straw filled  home sat empty because they were too afraid to go up inside. (it was late and we were tired so we just let them stay in the pen. ((Stupid Chickens))
Or the fact that there is a bully in the bunch who makes all the chickens do what she says or she pecks them until they bleed. And the word "Henpecked" all of a sudden made more sense.

Today the Coop builder and I were talking about how this cluster of hens is so much like other social groups.  For Starters,
1. People that are in confined spaces for any length of time can start peckin' at each other. Maybe because they're the group bully or maybe they are just bored and need something to do. Perhaps they see the person beside them as an easy target, So they pick at the weaker one until at times they wound them and draw blood.
2. Competition exists among hens just like humans. It's called the "pecking order". Who goes up the ramp first. Who gets the best roosting spot. Who gets to eat first.. At times 2 fight for the position with the show of  flapping of feathers and squawking until one has declared herself the winner. Without fail there are always  2 left outside the coop alone wondering around. Poor Agnes and Gerty!
3. Chickens are really fearful. That's all I need to say about that.
4. We have been told that the happier chickens are the more eggs they produce. Which again is not unlike us. We produce best when we are in jobs and ministries and homes where there is peace, love  joy and encouragement. (Along with plenty of food):)

Who knew We could find so many parallels between us and chickens?

It's a little more than sobering that far too often we, like chickens, spend time being negative and picking on each other, sometimes until the person beside us is bleeding, yet we keep peckin', peckin', peckin'. How about we  give it a rest.
While it's easy for us to remember that we are on a journey that isn't complete, let's not forget that the one traveling beside us is on his own journey and may need encouragement more than an ongoing peck on the neck.

Or maybe we like to be the bully hen who lets the other hens know we are the most important one, pushing others out of our way in our zeal to climb our way to the top. Making sure we are taken care of with no thought of others around us.
How about we intentionally begin to look to the weak ones. The children, the Elderly, the ones with no voice. The loner who stands in the corner and needs a smile or a hand to lift them. The stranger who needs a friend.

Perhaps we are filled with fear, even when we don't need to be. We think everyone is out to hurt us or we run away from anyone we fear could wrong us, because we've already decided in our mind they can not be trusted and will eventually hurt us.
Maybe we could reach out when we feel like pulling away. Giving love instead of hiding. A spirit of adventure and Whimsy that makes life full of flavor and excitement seems like a better way to live out our days than one that is tied up with imaging the "what if's" and "I cant's.

Chickens seem pretty dumb.

I don't want to be like the chicken.
Afraid. Mean Spirited. Small brained. Cowardly. Squawky. Smelly. Peckin'.

I bet you don't either.
I think I'm going to stick to just liking them for their eggs and maybe try to be a little more intentional about not following their bad habits and chicken behavior.

And now you have my  chickenology for today.

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