Right about now, when I am so close to the end of my trip away from home, I always seem to become the most homesick. I find myself thinking of my family, my home and how it feels when we are all together. There is no place like it in the world.
Like many of us, chicken have a strong sense of home. At night, they get in the habit of returning to the safety of their coop after a long day of scratching and seeking out delicious morsels. As the daylight turns to dusk, they call out for flock members who are late; distracted by a bug, a snake, a tasty frog or a hidden nest of eggs. Every night without fail, Tilly pops out of the coop for one last head count. Even though her and Dolly don't see eye to eye, she still checks to make sure that everyone has turned in for the night.
They have sleeping arrangement preferences. Somehow, they have to agree with who they get to snuggle up with in the evening. We've had some pretty strange arrangements around here. The chickens must find them comfortable! I've long lost the battle of Silkies sleeping in nesting boxes. I think they must be a brood that not only tends to be broody, but prefers to sleep on the ground. Who am I to tell a chicken breed that has been around since the days of Marco Polo and the 13th century, where they should sleep?
I can't forget the pecking order as well. In our own families, there is always someone in control. I like to think its the parents. In chicken families, the pecking order helps to determine everyone's position and role. Tilly is the head hen. She rules the roost. Oyster Cracker is our resident love bug and greeter. She is very social and does not fear much. Sunshine is our guardian. She watches the skies all day long and is quick to sound the alarm when threats are near. Her deep voice is just perfect for the job. The Silkies take mothering very seriously. Their broody tendencies are amazing. They all get along and seem to have their own little pecking order within the larger order. The pecking order, establishes their family.
In every family, there are times when we get along. There are times when we disagree and there are times when we are apart. There are times when we wish that we weren't in certain situations. The best part, is that we know we always have our families, through blood or friendship, that help us to persevere, survive, believe in ourselves and most importantly fill our hearts with love. The same goes for chickens. They are very smart. You can learn many life's lessons from pulling up a chair near the flock, sitting quietly and taking a glimpse into the lives of chickens. I can't wait to return home to both of my families, human and feathered.
Photo Credit: Tilly's Nest