Monday, March 23, 2015

Do Not Count Your Chickens Before They Are Free Range

We have chickens.  We had five and now we have four.  One of them was a bad bird, a real mean S.O.B.

When we picked out our little chicks we gave each of them names and then as they grew up, they each were given personalities.  Inky was by far the kindest and smartest, so patient to be squeezed just a little too tight by a two year old.  Bonnie and Dottie are the little old ladies of the group, the conversations I envision are quite caddy.  Diva(n) is nervous and the biggest, a stick to herself kind of gal who likes to preen.  Laughingly their names match their ridiculous made-up personalities.
Everybody loves a baby chick
Now that you have some background, I will tell you about our fifth chicken, Chicken Little (so named by SH1).  Chicken Little, later nick-named "Red" was always a personality struggle.  He liked to herd the other chickens and was always pushing them out in front of the bus so to speak (the bus being the damp hands of a two year old SH3 desperate for chicken affection).
SH3's favorite place to be
My husband (BH1) came to me with this chicken drama, so we made the move to the great outdoor coup to see if a bit more space and time was what the ladies needed to settle in.  Things went from bad to worse and Red started pulling feathers and making chickens bleed with merciless pecks for no reason.  My chicken ladies started acting like Red was the abusive partner, making sure she was in front of them and they always had her in their sights, segregating away from her in a group.  Poor sweet Inky took the brunt of Red's attacks; her feathers being pulled out and protecting her friends from the same fate.

Red was placed in solitary confinement, a fate not fair to a social animal and so after countless hours of reading on the futility of chicken rehabilitation, the decision was sadly made to dispose of Red.  Her death was quick and painless and not viewed by any SHs.  Red was dead.   I was nervous about what I would find when I got home from work.  Were the SHs going to be okay with this news?  Would I be expected to eat it?  I sure hope he doesn't expect me to eat it!

I was mainly worried how my sweet SH2, by far the most introverted and introspective of her sibling crew, would take the news.  BH1's education on the circle of life and expectations of being a member of our family clearly shone through when she calmly explained to me, "She was a mean chicken; Daddy said he had to kill her to stop hurting the other chickens."  Not hurting others.  She was right.  We don't hurt others.  A lesson that weighs heavily on this tender hearted SH2.  I wonder if she thought the punishment fit the crime.  
SH2 holding her favorite Inky
The chickens roam freely under the watchful eye of my husband for a few hours in the morning.  The dogs have recently viewed there movements with interested reservation.  I am loading SH1 into the car and BH1 alerts me to the fact that our Great Dane has just eaten a chicken and he was not sure if it was still alive.  He then jumps in the car to take SH1 to school.  I rush in the house to find a Great Dane and Mastiff with their heads hanging low in shame.  Bonnie and Dottie were over by the chicken coup clucking in hushed tones about the events that had just transpired.  My small human ladies were pressed against the sliding glass window nervously watching.  I saw a small commotion in the hedge and found Diva(n) and Inky huddled in terror.  Inky's chest was wet with dog drool.  I picked her up and let the small humans outside to help me calm them down.  We spoke softly to Inky and after a bit I set her down and watched her limp away, no longer scared.  New rule:  The dogs are not allowed outside when the chickens are roaming. 

We don't hurt living beings, but I couldn't help but be slightly troubled by the double standard we had created.  Red lost his life because he hurt the other chickens, the Great Dane did not.  You could say the dog was doing what was instinctual, but then again so was the chicken--he lived in the same home and had the same upbringing as the other four, no one made him a bad bird, he simply was.  How do you resolve this when the "natural order" of things breaks down?  Thankfully the kids didn't ask me any of those questions.  In the Bible, Solomon asked for wisdom above all things and his words weighed on my heart, 
Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?                                                        I Kings 3:9 

We still have four chickens, three small humans and two dogs.  SH2 came over to me with a serious look on her face and told me, "Mom, I am not eating those chickens."  I sighed and scooped her up to whisper in her ear, "Me neither, baby, me neither."  

Please God give me a mind to govern this your great people.

If you love what you are reading here and want to keep up with all the small humans updates please like my Facebook page, follow me on Google+, or even follow me on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment