Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens
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Back when I was brand new to chicken keeping, my flock was the most entertaining and inspiring thing I’d ever invested in. I devoted way more time than I should probably admit to watching them, discussing them, researching them, sitting with them, talking to them, and planning how I could increase their numbers.

The excitement of a new chicken owner is totally insane.

I Used To Sit With My Chickens: Why I Don't Anymore...And Why I Still Should - A Farmish Kind of Life

But six or so years later, they’re just chickens. I don’t mean that to be crass or uncaring. I just mean they’re part of everything else in our life, lumped into one hectic, ridiculously chaotic mass. The ingredients for our life are now labeled Everything We Have To Do. Directions? Toss in blender. Puree. Dump into bowl. Smear on calendar.

You know what? It’s been a long time since I just went out and sat in the yard with my chickens.

I used to sit with chickens and feel the grass tickling the underside of my cross-legged lap, watching the chickens get braver and closer until they’d take the treat I’d brought with me from my fingers. They’d sit next to me and make happy noises. We’d sprawl out in the sun. I’d look at the sky and contemplate life and ponder, with an exhale of deep contentment, how awesome my newfound simple life was.

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens - A Farmish Kind of Life

Six years later, I’m the proud owner of a big red barn, more chickens than I can count, pigs that run around their pasture like dogs, and gardens sprawling over more square footage than my house. This simple life? This life where we would get away from it all? Where somehow because the daily to-do list was “fulfilling”, we’d melt away into peaceful oblivion? It’s still busy. We still meet ourselves coming and going, it’s just that the things we’re doing in the middle look different. Life, whether simple or not, fills with the required tasks of said life. It gets busy. Busy becomes normal. Normal becomes unappreciated.

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens - A Farmish Kind of Life

We do this with everything, though. Babies. Husbands. Houses. Puppies. Jobs. What starts off as a magical adventure becomes an everyday part of life that we rush by. We’re comfortable with the fact that life happens and continues and goes on—rinse and repeat until the end of our time.

All this time, my chickens keep pecking around the yard. I give them food and water and hope they come in at night. I grab the eggs they give me like it’s nothing—those same eggs that as a new chicken owner, I checked for a gazillion times a day, because the whole concept that I could walk out to the chicken coop and collect a miraculous oval of awesome for my breakfast completely floored me.

I Used To Sit With My Chickens: Why I Don't Anymore...And Why I Still Should - A Farmish Kind of Life
Our first egg, 2010

Now it’s just normal. It’s everyday stuff. Things happen and we don’t see them happen. I mean, we see them happen, we know they’re happening, but we don’t look. We don’t see. We don’t care.

Wait. We don’t care?

That’s what I’m saying. Do we care? And if we do, how would anyone else know?

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens - A Farmish Kind of Life

And I know that life changes. I get that what we spend our time on morphs into familiarity. I understand that life looks different as we move through its time and space. We grow up, we get older. Things are less of a big deal.

But it’s been a long time since I sat with my chickens.

This is the part they don’t tell you—that the things we love and obsess over will someday become just another part of the process of getting through the day. And while comfort and familiarity are good, they often skew our perspective. We generally know more the longer that we do something, but are we actually wiser? Sure, we get better at it, but do we appreciate the improvement? It’s like the realization that we speed through pages of type when we used to stop for every single word, sounding them out and feeling their shape in our mouth before they tumbled over our lips. Is magic as magical if it happens every day?

I used to sit with my chickens.

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens - A Farmish Kind of Life

The barn stands there, stoic and majestic, whether I take time to sit with the chickens or just toss food to them and run to the next thing. I wonder what she thinks. The hayloft windows, like two eyes set on a red wooden face, have been witness to everything—my transformation from inspired farm girl ready to take on the world to a gal with a farm who is just as busy and confused and worn out and stuck between knowing and not knowing and failure and success as every other person on this earth.

Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens - A Farmish Kind of Life

Chickens are simple. They want sun, a dust bath, bugs, and clean water. Humans are infinitely more complicated. We want everything. We joke about chickens having pea sized brains, but I sometimes wonder if our bigger brains just cause us bigger problems. You’d think a part of creation with such a large brain would be better at appreciating the blessings of every day. The egg the chicken lays. The seed that busts through the ground. The sunrise that happens every. single. day.

Why can’t our giant brains grasp this? Why do we constantly have to be reminded to stop and look and feel and see and love?

And so today, I shut down my computer, I turn off my phone, and I put away my work. I grab the heel from a loaf of bread.  I walk outside and I find a spot of grass and I sit.

Because it is good to sit with chickens.

Do you homeschool? So do we! Check out my book — The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.

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23 thoughts on “Why You Should Sit With Your Chickens”

  • Reminds me of the line from the Berenstain Bears Book – “Down on the Farm” – Brother Bear asks Farmer Ben, “Is farming hard, or is it fun?” And Farmer Ben responds, “Well yes, it is hard, but we love it son. I guess you might say, farming’s hard fun!”

  • I guess it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, if you are not present in the moment you are missing out. We all have things on our mental to-do list but crossing things off that list is so much more enjoyable when we take a few minutes to focus on what we are doing. With that being shared, I’m headed out to watch my new Momma Hen teach her babies how to scratch in the dirt.

  • Yes, it’s good to sit with chickens. I really like your comment “We joke about chickens having pea sized brains, but I sometimes wonder if our bigger brains just cause us bigger problems.” My chickens are therapy birds 🙂

  • I am scrambling every minute of every day to get every thing done. Today, I’m cutting down my Must Be Done Now list, and I’m going to sit with my ducks and chicken. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Im new with the chickens I’ve had them since they were chicks but I just love them they are so nosey they follow me everywhere , I get a huge smile when I pull up in the driveway and they run towards my car, my husband just laughs,, or I’m downstairs in the basement on the laptop working in their pecking at my window trying to look in to see what I’m doing my dogs love them everybody to come over just loves them and laugh I’m not sure about the pizza guy they chase him back to his car

  • Love it, just love it! This is too true. I do like to think that all the rush and go makes the few times we can stop and feel the world around us all the more special and desirable.

  • Beautifully written, I’m currently in the new chicken owner phase where I watch them day in and day out and collect their eggs several times a day and thank them. You are right though, it’s so easy to forget the excitement that once was there and how often we allow things to just become routine. This reading is so much more than chickens… thank you.

  • What a fine, wise post. I wholeheartedly agree ! I sat with my chickens and ducks today. They are still just as wonderful as when I first started raising them. Thank you for your lovely heart!

  • I ran across this post today….made me tear up because this is SOOOOO my story! I love my chickens and I’m going to get in the grass and just let my chickens cluck around telling me how sorry I am that I haven’t done this in so long. Very well written!

  • This article is so accurate to describe today’s world of rushing around, and not noticing the moments that bring joy in your life! It truly is the little things….this story can make a huge difference in the world to so many! Please make sure they get the opportunity to read it somewhere else, too!
    You have superb writing talent!
    I fell in love with chickens ten years ago! I named them, and they would run to me when I came outside! They truly are smart, and bring a lot of joy!
    Thank you for sharing this!

  • I’ve had my girls for just about a year now I sit and I even read aloud on a folding chair in their coop . Very curious creatures my girls are it’s quite amusing when all 7 of them try to get on my lap at one time . Thank you for your post , I can truly relate.

  • I loved this. I try to spend as much time with my chickens (I call them “My babies”)as I can. It’s therapeutic. I’ve had 5 surgeries this year, and spending time with my babies helps me forget my health for a while. Thanks so much for posting this

  • I enjoyed your ruminations. You sound like a very in tune person actually. We all wander but we don’t all refocus and return. You did! Congratulations! I sit with my chickens and feel so blessed. They are so beautiful to me and each has his or her own personality, likes and dislikes. They seem to appreciate me in their own way. Can’t say as much for many humans I know.

  • Love this gushing from the heart! I have had my girls for a year now but unfortunately lost one yesterday to I don’t know what. They free range and Ruby never made it home. But they have given me and my 4 year old granddaughter so much joy. When she helps me gather the eggs she thanks the girls by name like she knows which one laid which egg. I really do enjoy them and would recommend them to anyone.

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