A cure for my anxiety?
We have chickens.
I’m not sure if I wanted them. My wife did. My youngest son did. But I’m not sure if I did.
It seemed like a stress. More living things to look after. But I do like eggs. And I do like a good obsession. And I do like to build stuff. And chickens need stuff built… A brooder, a coop, a run, fences, feeders, waterers...
No one managed to warn me how silly chickens are. They are really daft.
Sometimes they are too stupid to even figure out how to get out of an open door.
I throw 8 cherry tomatoes on the ground. Then watch the first to get one in its beak (Wee Magret), run away with all the other chickens in hot pursuit. The flock focuses on depriving the early bird whilst ignoring completely the 7 tomatoes lying on the ground.
I didn’t realize how affectionate chickens can be. And how individual they would be.
Ok, so there is some tricky stuff. Like when we’ve noticed a hawk notice them. Or when Peggy jumped the wire protecting my grapefruit tree and got stuck. Or noticing that they were pecking the insulation around the aircon pipe…not such organic eggs anymore! Or the squabbles to establish the literal pecking order.
And there’s the fact that we hatched them from eggs… so it was outside our control that some of them will be anatomically incompatible with egg-laying (cockerels). We are currently accepting “Big Magret” as trans. FYI: Like people, we love all chickens, no matter who they love or how they choose to identify themselves.
Initially, I used to sit with them in the afternoon and it was my cure for the crazy Covid-world we live in. Now I sit with them less. Like teenagers, our chickens are a bit grubby and my garden has quite the harvest, so if I’m in the garden I’m doing stuff.
But still, I know they are there, and that makes me smile. Especially when I think about how stupid they are. I know that might seem a bit harsh, but I can see the joy in their ‘stupid’ life. It seems a happier world to visit. It’s Covid-free, constant food, space to wander, bugs to forage for, clean straw to scratch and the sleep on, and a nice big coop, and a safe run to hang in during the morning…and the dog doesn’t even chase them. Much.