Life lessons of chickens
Updated: Feb 27
Life at the moment feels like school holidays in terms of time. Remember as a kid when you first started school holidays and you had weeks and weeks stretching ahead of you and it felt like the holidays were going to last forever? The you got to the middle bit when you realised that those first two weeks or so had gone pretty quickly and you were halfway through and you only had a few weeks remaining. Holidays no longer felt like they were going to last forever and you occasionally wished that the passing of the days would slow down. The last bit goes so quickly that all of a sudden it is the night before you go back to school and you are looking for your school shoes saying to yourself, “where the fuck did those holidays go?” I did not tend to say fuck a lot in my school-years but it is the only way I can think of as an adult to explain the horror that you feel as to how quickly those weeks flew.
At the moment I am in the middle phase. Realising that time is going quite quickly and wondering how I can get the days to move a little slower so I can fit more things in.
For someone who seemed to sell a lot of possession in the last two months I still seem to have a shitload of things left. So my days are occupied with work and after work ferrying little bits and pieces up to Mum and Phil’s whilst I try to pack the rest for storage. Another big thing that happened yesterday was that we said goodbye to our flock. I had met a lovely lady who helped me with two extra roosters last year and I knew she was the one for my winged family. When Erin had said to the roosters that she was going to take them home and give them a hot plate of barley, it warmed my little black heart with joy that anyone would think about a plate of hot barley. I can remember feeling Bossy and Regina’s beady little eyes staring at me as if they were saying, “well where the fuck is our hot plate of barley?” Rude little creatures.
So I knew that Erin was the one to take my flock off my hands and that they would be loved and looked after. And what is exciting is that when we return we can have some of their little babies that are born in the next year or so Bossy & Regina’s offspring will always live in our chook house. The kids seemed to cope remarkably well, it was just me who appeared to cope not so well as I walked around the chook house and put a lid on their feed and cleaned their water container. I loved Bossy, Regina and the flock. They were like a part of my little family and such an important part of our life in our Wood Street Cottage with the lemon tree which keeps on giving and the Magic Faraway Tree next door.
I very rarely sit still, it is something that my Mum often comments on, and I must admit that I do find it hard to stop. But in the last year, one place I would love to sit, was outside of my chook house watching the shenanigans of my flock. I would never have guessed it, but I learnt a lot from my chickens in the last three and a bit years.
Life lessons of chickens.
Not everybody makes it. Despite the best efforts not everybody will make it. In life there are killer frosts, untrained Kevins & Rosies, bathtubs that drown, arsehole fucking Quolls, death machines from the sky and big hooved sheep that can kill, crush, drown and maim.
Sometimes it seems that the nights are just too long and not everybody makes it. Something to remember next time some well-meaning person says, “every kids deserves a prize.” How will kids or adults for that matter every try to strive harder, or practice things over and over again, or work their butts off if they think that everybody deserves a prize. Not everybody makes it.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. I was guilty of this when it comes to chickens. There is a beautiful secret life of chickens. They are funny, loyal amazing little creatures who look after each other better than some people I know. Never judge a book by its cover.
Mums are amazing creatures. Regina was one of my smallest chooks but she was also one of the fiercest. Erin thought the scarring on her head (remember the scalping episode) may have been from a hawk as she had a chook that lost its head to a hawk. Can you imagine that? My little Regina fought off a hawk and managed to protect her children from it as well. No other chicken dared to go near the food until Regina had sorted out her chicks – she was a warrior. But I also saw her cut the apron strings for her chicks when it was time. I worry if I will ever be able to cut the apron strings from Rissie and Archie and I hope to god I have taught them well enough that they cut them on their own so I don’t have to do it. Mums are amazing creatures.
The school yard never leaves us. There will always be an element of characters from our school days. Bossy was the school stud, who pranced around thinking his muscles were bigger than everyone else. Admittedly he was a good looking boy but I often suspected he might have been a bit thick. There will always be a girl like Snow who flocks around the male stud and ignores the rest of the girls. There will always be followers and leaders. There will always be someone like Regina who beats to the sound of her own drum. The school yard never leaves us, but I think we need all these characters as well.
Girls will always fall for tossers are some stage. Regina was bound to fall for Bossy. I certainly don’t think he dragged her away for that dirty long weekend when they both went missing. I am sure she went with bells on and was a willing and compliant partner in their hedonistic time away. But she came back home, dumped him after the fun and went and focussed on her chickens. We all makes mistakes but we can all move on from them.
Never give up. I will never forget Regina with half her head seeming to hang off. But she never gave up. No matter how tough her life might have appeared she had focus which was her babies and she was going to let nothing get in her way. She taught me so much that little chook. It doesn’t matter how things might appear, or what people tell you, never, ever give up. It is amazing what we can overcome.
Nothing beats your tribe. I will never forget that last time when Kevin and Rosie got into the flock and terrorised them for god only knows how long. After I reprimanded the dogs for days, they surprisingly they never went near the chooks again, the flock stuck together. Not one of them were left alone, they huddled, they moved and they nurtured. This was a flock that were put together in bits and pieces and some of our flock just arrived unannounced and never left. They created a tribe. Find your tribe, because when your back is up against the wall, nothing beats your tribe.
I will miss my chooks. Lovely creatures. Thank you for the time, the love and the life lessons of chickens Bossy, Regina & Co.