A lesson from chickens

This morning was a busy one.  First I dropped my 10yo daughter off at my friend’s house.  My daughter is trading housework for assistance in improving her swimming form– she adores swimming– and this week she even got to try out Laura’s fun new pool.

After dropping her off I continued on with my 7 year old and one of my 14 year old sons for a trip to the bank and then on to the doctor.  While we waited, my 14 year old read, my 7 year old did math, and I started a new scarf.  After that it was on to one more errand.  Our chicken flock has been steadily dwindling until finally we had only one Araucana rooster and 3 hens–a Buff, a Silky, and an Araucana.  Yesterday I happened to see an ad in the paper for chickens.  The owner was selling 3 month old Rhode Island Reds for $4 each.

We arranged to meet today to take a look at them at the end of our erranding.  The people selling the chickens had lots of chickens in several different runs.  The Rhode Islands looked small for being three months old– they probably won’t lay til spring– but they were lively and healthy looking.  So we scrabbled around the pen a bit and picked a dozen likely-looking little hens.  We chose ten Rhode Island Reds, and two slightly older Buff Orpingtons.  Then we toted them home in a dog kennel.

At home we released them into our dusty chicken house with the four older occupants lurking just outside the door.  The new little hens were instantly pecking and peeping and scuffing around contentedly.  No drama, no terror.  They just set to work, looking to see what goodies could be found in our cobwebby chicken house.

I can’t quite explain why chickens are fun to watch, but I think part of their charm might be the way they always just seem busily happy.  They make you feel like you’ve offered them goodness, and they appreciate it all.

There’s a lot to be said for that approach to life, I decided today.  Unexpected stuff happens.  Days don’t always end how you expected when you woke up in the morning.  Sometimes you take a ride in a dog kennel to a whole new messy world and  get to start all over.  But if it’s going to happen anyway, why not peck around and look for the good bits?

Granted, being human is more complicated than being a chicken, but I have a hunch we’d all be happier if we got busy and spent some time pecking around looking for the good bits in life.

Other good bits in my day:  lovely fall weather, an hour in the afternoon sun spent cleaning garden beds with the kids, zucchini bread and chocolate chip cookies made by my daughters, quiet time this evening with my husband after the kids were off to bed.

What about you?  What were some of the good bits in your day?  Do share.


  1. I can’t agree more – we love everything about our chickens from collecting colored eggs to watching them slurp noodles!

  2. Yesterday I was in a super grumpy mood, but despite that we baked 2 loaves of homemade bread(a favorite of mine), watched a kid-friendly cheeseball Christmas movie, and had some great snuggles with each of our 4 kids. Also my husband took on all of the post-dinner parenting duties so that I could lay on my couch doing nothing because a lot of my grumpiness was exhaustion related. 2.5 hours laying down was a huge help!

  3. Going to take a lot to dampen my mood these days. My 16 month old grandson finally home Saturday after three weeks in hospital. Critical for two and half of those. Has a long road ahead of him and so do my son and daughter-in-law but with God’s help and tons of prayers, we hope for a full recovery.
    With so many adult children and now grandchildren there are many issues that could stress a parent. And now with ‘Sandy’, we are not going to complain once this winter about our weather–resolution for the entire winter. No complaining about anything–think of friends in Rhode Island and in New York and we have warm house and food on the table. Only four days but so far so good.
    I spent the day making mini breads for neighbors for Christmas (all neighbors get bread and homemade potholder every year), baked dozen or so apples with stuffing using pottery-made-baked apple item purchased from local potter (you take out core putting apple onto stem of item then put mixture of brown sugar, six chocolate chips, and cinnamon inside apple with pat of butter on top) and took inventory of Christmas presents I have to find out I am done with gifts for this year; and spent an hour reading. Very worthwhile day.


  1. […] chicken house, which had a VERY tiny outdoor area. It was adequate for half a dozen chickens. But last fall I bought a bunch of new baby chicks, and now that they’re full size, it was way too crowded. With the weather getting a little […]