Raising Chickens and Collecting Thoughts

My husband Rick has a lot of hobbies–one is raising chickens.

One of my hobbies is asking questions.

Last week, our son’s girlfriend found a box of  abandoned baby chicks on the side of the road. She trains dogs and takes care of horses and cows, but she doesn’t know much about raising chickens. She gave them to Rick.

 Some of his chickens….

I peeked inside the box. Four baby chicks.  “What kind are they?”

“White Leghorns,” Rick said.

“How old?”

“Six weeks or so.”

“Males or females?”

He checked them over. “Three hens and a rooster.”

“I’m curious. What are the rules for raising chickens?”

“Don’t eat ’em.” He smirked.

“Be serious. I really want to know. How do you do it?”

He smoothed the chick’s feathers. “You talk to ’em. Get to know ’em.”

“What do you say to a chicken?”

“Same thing you’d say to a person. ‘Hey, there. How ya doing?’ That sort of thing.”

“Hang on. This is interesting.” I ran inside for a pen and paper. “What else?”

“Does your mind ever stop?” he said.

“Rarely. Keep talking.”

“You feed ’em.”

“What do they eat?”

“Anything, but I feed  mine laying mash and scratch.”

“They’re your friends, aren’t they?”

“Something like that. You gotta protect ’em. Keep predators away.”

“When you lose one, does it make you sad?”

A pause formed.

“Sure. I care about ’em. If you spend time with ’em, they’ll eat out of your hand.”

“What if they’re older and not babies?”

“Age doesn’t matter. They know who their provider is.”

Kneeling beside my husband and his chickens, I got a new perspective on how much my Father loves me.

“…as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings…” Luke 13:34 (NLT)




  1. kay shostak says:

    Did you know author Flannery O’Connor raised all varieties of chickens on her farm, Andalusia, in Milledgeville, Ga? We moved before I got chance to check out her farm and homeplace there. Our daughter is in school there and we passed it several times. I believe her chickens are mentioned in some of her short stories. I didn’t really care for her fiction, but some of her non-fiction (she was a very strong Catholic) was really good and very thought provoking. Of course, your hubby knows how introspective one must become to be able to talk to chickens. Sounds like a road trip you both could get in to!

    • No, Kay, I had no idea! Thanks so much for telling me. Yep, my husband would love any sort of a chicken viewing road trip.

      xoxo and thanks for commenting, my friend.

  2. very nice! We know who our provider is….love your hobby too!!

  3. Anna Haney says:

    Such a sweet story. When we were in Kauai, Hawaii, where chickens run everywhere, I started talking to a chicken that had started to roost in the waiting area near the Fern Grotto. Our tour guide had told us how Elvis had made a movie there. So I start talking to the chicken, mainly to keep me calm since birds kind of scare me. As the chicken moves closer, I ask it, “did you ever meet Elvis?” and the chicken opens his mouth really wide as if to say “Elvis ate my brother!” It was funny!

    • I can’t wait to tell my husband that I have a friend who understands! You talk to chickens too! Love your story! Thanks for sharing it and for reading.

    • Jennie Ivey says:

      The Kauai chickens were one of my favorite things about visiting Hawaii. But as one who “kept” chickens many years ago, I can attest that there are many things about them that are decidedly uncharming. That’s all I’m gonna say.

      • Hey, Jennie. I’m smiling, my friend. I know what you mean. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Oh my gosh…smiling all the way through until I got to the provider part. Now there are tears. I love this exchange J. Maybe it has something to do w/ know Ricky and his tender heart , one that he wouldn’t want everyone to see 🙂
    He doesn’t scare me any more. 😉
    Thank you for this my friend xo

  5. Robin, guess what? He reads my blogs before I post them. So he knew he could no longer pretend to be macho after this one. 🙂 And he reads the comments too! He’s sorta quiet about his tender heart, but he’s married to a writer.

    Thanks so much for always, always encouraging me.

  6. Loved this blog! Thanks for the great reminder!

  7. Thanks DiAnn! Thinking about you this week. Have fun~xoxo

  8. Brenda Osborne says:

    What a coincidence………this morning I was at Barnes and Noble at The Avenue and I browsed through a book of beautiful chicken and rooster photographs ! I may go back and buy the book. It was very
    interesting. Your husband sounds very caring and compassionate toward his chickens much like you said Our Heavenly Father loves us. Thank you for posting. I really enjoyed it~

    • Thanks so much, Brenda! Actually, I think roosters and chickens are gorgeous! We have a few “picture books” of them. Your comments mean so much to me. Thank you, thank you!

  9. I love to watch chickens. Some like Rick’s, are really beautiful birds. There’s a mini farm near me and the guy raises chickens. I love to drive by and watch them all scratching around the yard. It’s open to the road, but they never wander into traffic. I wonder if the farmer told them it’s dangerous? Hey, you never know.

    Whenever we go to the county fair, I always go see the chickens. Does Rick enter his?

    • Ane, he loves to go to chicken shows. I”m not kidding. He even sits outside in his lounge chair and watches them. So glad you do too! He’s never entered any in the county fair, but it’s a good idea.

      Love to you, my friend. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  10. What a cool man this Rick is. What a great and compassionate husband and father he must be. The lowliest of chickens are sheltered in his hands. What a wonderful thing to write about, Julie. Thank you for sharing.

    • B.J. Your words made me tear up—the lowliest of chickens are sheltered in his hands. Oh. Wow.

      Thank you. Much love!

  11. Such a sweet post! We have chickens and we love it. I let them out to graze and when I forget to put them away, my husband has to go out with a flashlight, climb into the trees and bring them down so the raccoons don’t get them. He cares, even though he warns them we’ll be eating fried chicken soon if they don’t knock it off 🙂

  12. Yay! You get the whole chicken thing, Joanne! What a sweet man your husband must be. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting. xoxo

  13. Jo says:

    Well, what do you know! You find “Chickennites” everywhere! Tehehe. It’s kind of an inside joke at my Bible College. We are the little chicks and God is the Eternal Chicken! Love it!


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