Thursday, June 07, 2012

Chicken watching

The baby Silver Laced Wyandottes now look like chickens,
I've been fascinated by my inclination to "Chicken Watch" lately. When I go feed the chickies in the morning and evening, I'll just stand outside their tractor door after feeding and watch them for 10 minutes. No thinking, no story lines, no plans - just watching. It's relaxing, but it's not something I do consciously, I just find myself doing it.
Now, I appreciate chickens for what they do on the farm. They eat bugs, they eat kitchen scraps, they loosen topsoil and they lay eggs when they get old enough. But (and I know it is my own shortcoming here), I've never named them or thought of them as much more than useful, functional and sometimes pretty.
I know many people do, in fact, a good friend became a vegetarian about a decade ago after coming to our farm and helping us move chickens to a new chicken house one night. The hens had been roosting in the horse barn and we built them their own home. They are easier to catch at night, so we were out in the dark, gathering the hens and tucking them into our arms to quietly carry them into the new chicken house. She said that after she carried them and felt their beating little hearts, she could not eat meat any more. Now one of her dreams is to retire to a bit of land and build a chicken castle.
I just want chickens to eat bugs, kitchen scraps and give me some eggs - and, apparently now, provide some mindless meditation focus.

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