“The chicken does not exist only in order to produce another egg. He may also exist to amuse himself, to praise God, and even to suggest ideas to a French dramatist.” ― G.K. Chesterton
John Steinbeck, in his book East of Eden, described one of his female characters as being “humorless as a chicken.” I do not know what kind of chickens Mr. Steinbeck had observed, but in our estimation, chickens are some of the funniest creatures God created on this earth! Oftentimes, as we watch our hens in the evening, waiting for them to go into their coop (Yes, they put themselves to bed when it gets dark! Wouldn’t it be great if our children did that?!) either the MAN or I will turn to the other and exclaim, “Chickens are better than television!” If you have never seen a chicken run, just close your eyes for a moment and think of the Velociraptors featured in Jurassic Park, only smaller, with no teeth and feathers.
It made you smile, didn’t it?
Let me introduce you to our chickens. They are beautiful, buff colored, Orpington chickens which are both good layer and (whispering now) meat chickens. Although, I don’t think these girls have to worry. They are more like hens with benefits. Not only do they provide us with a steady (okay, almost steady) supply of eggs, they are very beneficial to our garden by digging in the dirt, eating bugs and well, pooping.
A lot of pooping.
Seriously, we have some of the most beautiful, vibrant colored Morning Glories I have ever seen growing on the fence along their garden/pen enclosure. If you ask the MAN the secret to our lush vines and beautiful blooms, he simply says, “Chicken poop.” I think I will have to agree.
Believe or not, each chicken has it’s own very unique personality. Our broody, mother hen is Fried (pictured on the left). She is the darkest chicken, with a small, pale cockscomb. She is an opportunistic eater that will steal a worm right out from under another chicken after they have done all the work of unearthing it. She has been on the receiving end of some angry pecks as the disgruntled hen let’s Fried know of her displeasure. In this flock, the early bird doesn’t always get the worm! Then there is Alfredo. She is Fried’s eating buddy. Although, with a friend like Fried, she might want to rethink that relationship. Alfredo is the hen perched upon the top of the feeder in the picture on the right. It looks as if Fried has been teaching her well. Perhaps instead of saying “cluck-cluck” they should say “oink-oink!”
Drumstick is third in the pecking order. She was named by our wonderful pastor who loves to come visit our micro-farm. He told us if he comes to dinner and we are having chicken, he doesn’t want to know who he is eating. Then he told us a story about when he was a boy and his parents bought a cow and named it Hamburger.
Their first mistake. They named their cow…
…did I mention we named our chickens?
After they raised it for a few years, his parents had it slaughtered and none of the kids would eat it! They ended up having to give all the meat away. City-slickers! I am not being disrespectful. Pastor Doug is a self proclaimed city slicker, but he has a true shepherds heart. Anyway, his chicken, Drumstick, has a big floppy cockscomb and is no slouch when it comes to defending her turf. She has chased the BOY out of the garden area just for looking at her funny.
Lastly is our best layer and by far the most spoiled of our chickens, Parmesan. Or should I say, Princess Parmesan. She is lowest in the pecking order, but is by far our prettiest, fluffiest hen. The BOY remarked one day that if we had a rooster, he would surely pick Parmesan because she is the prettiest girl. But, Parmesan is not just good-looking, she is a great layer. She lays an egg like clockwork every morning around 10 am. Her eggs are the largest and often have double, even triple yolks! The picture on the right is a sneak peek at her in action. But, don’t let that sweet face fool you, she is also our craziest chicken. Woe to the bird that dares to enter our yard when she is on duty! Perhaps we should call her “Warrior Princess Parmesan!”
Okay. I can’t write a whole post just about chickens.
Well, I could.
But, I won’t.
One of the things I have always loved about being in the country, or simply gardening, working outdoors and raising animals, is all of the ways that I am constantly reminded of God and what is written in His Word.
They praise God.
Didn’t you read the quote at the top?
Okay. Now that you are back. I assume you went back and read the quote. Obviously, Chesterton does need a little lesson on the birds and the bees, the “he” chicken does not lay eggs. Just sayin’.
The other day, after I had finished my morning chores, I was leaning on the gate to the garden area and watching our chickens scratching and digging in the dirt. They do this funny little chicken dance that looks like a cross between the Moonwalk and the Electric Slide. Scratch, scratch, backwards slide. Their eyes keenly search the freshly razed dirt for bugs and worms. Sometimes they peck at things we can’t even see.
The MAN and I are constantly amazed at the things that they dig up (besides huge ankle twisting holes!): old pull tops from cans, plastic beads, marbles, tons of broken glass, nails, screws and (shudder!) bones. We have been saving the more unusual items and want to attach a small curio shelf to the back of the garage to display these little treasures. Seriously, archeologists are wasting their time with all of those picks, shovels and brushes. All they need is a few chickens.
Okay, that was a little bit of a bunny trail, down a rabbit hole or chicken hole…
So, as I watched our hens diligently searching for food, I thought to myself, “That’s exactly how it should be when we read God’s Word.” We should be so hungry for the Word that we dig deep, carefully examining each verse, devouring every last crumb of our daily bread which is food for our souls.
Then there are the treasures. I am not talking about those curiosities our chickens dig up, but the rare and precious jewels of wisdom and knowledge which are described in Proverbs as being a garland to grace your head or adornment for your neck. That’s a necklace we should wear everyday. It flatters the face of every child of God and sparkles in the light of Christ.
Did you dig for treasure today? Are you wearing your necklace? I hope you are.
But, you might want to be careful wearing it around the chickens. It just might catch their eye. 😉
Love ya, MJ
PS In case you didn’t get enough, here are some more chicken pictures and what-not:
This is what it looks like when Parmesan has to lay an egg: “It’s coming!”
Who needs a magazine when we have our very own Birds and Blooms?!
Chicken football: she punts…and misses.
Our pretty Princess Parmesan.