By the time chickens came into my life in a meaningful way, I was already well into adulthood, having experienced some of its big changes and trials. I had gotten married and left my fast-paced life in Los Angeles. I had lost my father to pancreatic cancer. I had my first baby. I thought that I understood the ups and downs of life, but I still had a lot to learn. Of course, one of my greatest teachers has been my chickens.
My first flock of baby chicks was so exciting! I remember going to the farm store to pick out four, and coming home with ten (#chickenmath, amIright?). Two of them were tiny Rhode Island Red bantams. They stole my heart immediately.
I don’t know how many times I checked on those baby chicks throughout that first day, but it was a LOT. I remember speaking at length to a store employee regarding what the chances were of any of them dying. I spoke to other chicken people about the chances of any of them dying. I researched how to keep them alive under any possible circumstance. I knew one thing for sure, I didn’t want any of them to die! That first night, both bantam Rhode Island Reds passed away. I was devastated.
I don’t know if you know this or not, but I’m no farm girl. We had lots of animals, but when they died, the harsh reality of it was always kept from me. I don’t blame my parents one bit for this; in fact, I’m pretty guilty of it myself when it comes to my own children. But by the time my first two baby chicks died, the only thing I really understood about death is that you should resist it at all costs. That’s how I felt when my dad died, that we had all fought and fought until we “lost”.
But what would life and death be like if we chose to look at it through our chickens? The mother hen has lots of chicks, because within her instinct is a knowledge that some will likely die. Every spring, if given the choice, she will have another batch. Some might die, but Spring will always come again. Maybe looking at life and death like a season would make the transition easier. It’s not a line with a beginning and end. It’s a circle, a cycle. The experience doesn’t die, it just changes.
I think when I go, I’d like to fly right over the rainbow bridge, gentle and soft into whatever’s beyond it. Just like my two baby chicks.
This week’s video is about two of the most common baby chick issues and how to treat them naturally. I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out!
What valuable thing about life have you learned from chickens? Let me know in the comments!