What a delightful spring morning in the Homestead backyard!
Patience the Cat is galloping across the yard at random intervals while Mr. Pickles watches him from the cover of a bush. The hens are pecking around, looking for bugs and overlooked bits of hen scratch. Every so often, Patience expresses his exuberance by leaping into the air like a gymnast, after a fly.
Roxanne Chicken is doing as the other chickens do, except that occasionally she wanders over to say hello to me.
Roxanne is the Garage Chicken. The other hens give her such a hard time that I bring her into the garage at night to sleep.
Roxanne, who is Chicken #6 of six, keeps an eye on me. We have a closer relationship than I do with the other birds and I believe this gives her confidence.
I’m learning a lot from Roxanne. I did not know chickens could anticipate or enjoy anything, but she has shown me that they can. She likes to play a game we call Chase the Chicken and she watches me closely to make sure we don’t miss a scheduled match!
Maybe I’m anthropomorphizing, but maybe I’m not. See what you think.
Every night we follow the same routine. I come outside at dusk, get a scoop of hen scratch and throw it in the coop. Chickens #1 – #5 go into the coop after the scratch and Roxanne waits patiently. I lock the door, give her a handful of scratch and finish the outside chores.
Lesson #1 – Chickens can play
Then it’s time for Chase the Chicken. Roxanne runs ahead of me, just out of reach, like a playful cat might do. After a minute, she stops and I scoop her up. If she’s feeling extra-playful, she jumps off my arm and we do it again.
Lesson #2 – Chickens can look forward to things
I did not expect this, but Roxanne seems to look forward to our nightly routine. She gets impatient. If I run a bit late, she ignores her handful of scratch and runs after me while I finish the chores.
Lesson #3 – Chickens anticipate the next part of the routine
One evening last week, I had to bring the laundry in. I tried to do this between putting the big birds in the coop and bringing Roxanne in, but Roxanne would have none of it. She followed me to the door, as if to say, “Hey! Monkey! You forgot me!”
I did not forget her, but try telling her that! I put the laundry down and the Chase the Chicken game commenced.
She teaches us one more lesson, in her simple and feathery way. You can have all kinds of friends. Some of your friends may not see the world the same way you do, but you can still be friends.
We all have something to offer, even those of us with tiny little chicken heads.
© 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead
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