Some chicken coops are fancy, with chandeliers, painted murals and classical music piped in to relax hens laying eggs in the nesting boxes. Some coops are re-purposed from well-loved children’s play houses, old sheds, outhouses, rabbit hutches and the like. Some are simple with a dirt floor, four walls and just enough protection from the elements. Others fall somewhere in between, with a fresh coat of paint, a window or two and small coop door. No matter how different the coops, chickens always recognize their home when they are out gallivanting in the yard and like clockwork, return at dusk. As long as they have full bellies, fresh water, a place to scratch and a small patch of sunshine to lie in, they find happiness. Dust bathing, eating bugs and watching birds fly overhead become favorite past times. They cackle with family and enjoy sleeping under the same roof. I watch them bond together while raising a young clutch of chicks and allowing well-loved family members to grow old in a dignified fashion.
Chickens and new born babies have not a care in the world if they have their health, a loving family, nourishing food and fresh clean air. People say that chickens aren’t smart and most would say that new born babies are nothing more than cute little pudgy lumps of Freudian Id. However, I think they are quite brilliant. They know the first lesson in life, a lesson that so many of us lose sight of and forget as we get older and approach the time make a home of our own. Depending on our own personal budgets and preferences, we chose what we feel is necessary to be happy.
We seem to forget that home is more than a place. Home is a feeling. The most important thing a home can provide is a sense of safety, happiness, love and warmth. It is where life’s lessons are taught around the kitchen table. It is a place where you can always return. It is full of encouragement. It is a place where people believe in you. It is a place where your family, the flock, returns day after day and year after year to celebrate living.Chickens have a wonderful sense of home. Babies have a wonderful sense of home. Us grown-ups, I guess we need chickens and babies to remind us what truly makes a home a home.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest