Taking care of a flock is a job that is repetitious and takes interest. Those of us that do sometimes just grumble through the chores and move on throughout the day. Later you gather the eggs and lock the fowl up for the night. That's it.
Honestly, I do that. What makes it harder is when the rooster wakes up and gets crowing. His crowing is loud, especially to a person who just woke up. The snow is blowing in through the vents. Oh, you're out of feed again! The chickens are just another side-job to hurry up and get done. You're dealing with frozen waterers and soft-shelled eggs and skinny hens. It sure can wear on a poultry-lover's view of owning birds!
Lately things have slowed down for me. One morning while watching my girls and rooster, I realized that this was an experience that built a person up. The joy and benefits from having a flock greatly outnumber the costs and time and labor put into them. Watching them mill around outside, interacting with things around them, you realize that they're there own. Chickens are enjoyable to watch scratch about the ground; ducks are very gracefully built; geese are very protective; you all know the rest.
You all know the ups and downs of having a flock. I bet all of you appreciate them every day too. But today, I just want to recognize my flock and everything that comes with them.
I may be getting carried away with all of this, but it's very true. I have a couple special hens in my coop. One is a three-year-old Barred Rock named Aw-Ee. When I'm in a mood for joking around, she's the one to go to. She makes me laugh and even when I'm mad at people and can't risk going to another person, I tell it to her and she starts going off with her goofy, obnoxious chicken sounds. Another girl, a year-old Turken, named Popsicle, she's my lil buddy. I hatched her out and she comes to me just to hang out. Unlike Aw-Ee, she's content to hang by me silently. And sometimes that's good. It's good to have someone to vent to who won't (and can't) tell anyone else. (But it might eat them the rest of their lives knowing some of our human dilemnas) Just think of that guy from work, taking that job promotion! Let your guys and gals know what you feel.
Not so much on the emotional side, they help us in physical ways. Some give eggs, some give meat, some both. I've heard of some people raising birds for feathers for their craft company! All the creative things we could do with birds! They clean up scraps and gardens/yards. One of my friends had their ducks clean up a grub infestation, though they tore up their yard. It's all beneficial. Including their manure.
Another thing is their looks. Taking them to the fair and getting ribbons... that's all part of the package. Even if your birds are home-bound, the beauty of watching them pick and scratch and interact with each other, it's an overwhelming feeling.
The bad things are impossible to ignore, though. Because, face it, it's reality. Those problems won't go away! Like feed is a little on the high side, and eggs, well, we all know about that. So when you sell eggs, you're not gaining much. Same thing with meat prices. But like my father says, if your heart is into it, just having the animals is well worth it. If you have the animals for your joy, then awesome! Even for the ones who depend on market prices, take joy in loving and caring for your flock! That's what God put 'em on earth for.
So today, let your flock know that you feel more for them than just "Here's your feed and water for the week; and don't skimp on the eggs!" Do a little something extra and smile at the thought of them! They're not just animals; you can really bond with them. From now on today, I'll smile when the rooster's singing to all of us and when a leghorn bites my hand while picking the eggs! It's all natural and beautiful. That's the way a flock-family works.