On Faith and Feathered Friends

Saturday morning, my husband Rick and I were on the front porch drinking coffee and talking–porch partying, as we call it. His roosters crowed and all sorts of questions bubbled to the surface.

Rick raises chickens in the backyard.

“Do you really enjoy your chickens?”

He gave me a slightly perturbed look like, How could I not?

“I mean, isn’t it a lot of work? Why do you do it?”‘

“It’s fun. Chickens have different personalities, when you get to know them.”

Sounds like they’re real people–with names and feelings.

“When did you start raising chickens? I don’t remember.”

“Oh, golly. I guess when Thomas was nine.” (Our son Thomas is 24.)

“How many do we have now?”

“Thirteen. I have had 65 at one time.”

I had no idea.

Mostly I’ve ignored them. 

“How many eggs do we get every week?” I never counted. Just sorta took them for granted.

“About a dozen.”

“So, you do it for the eggs?”

“Nope.”

I wasn’t satisfied with his half-answers. There had to a reason.

Did he have an emotional connection with his feathered friends? 

Later that morning, I asked about one of his hens. A few months ago, a fox or a possum attacked her. She survived with a broken wing. I remembered how much he cared about her.

“Come take a look,” he said. “She’s doing fine.”

“Is her wing okay?”

“Good as new. She’s an Araucana and lays colored eggs.”

“She’s beautiful and so are her eggs. What helped her heal?”

“Lots of rest. I separated her from the others. I spent time with her at night after work.”

My heart grew incredibly tender–toward my husband who loves chickens. Click to Tweet. 

“Your hen actually wanted to be with you?”

“Sure she did. It calmed her down. Helped her rest.”

“Do your feathered friends ever teach you anything about life?”

“Of course. We all experience hard times. Cold winters. Rainy seasons. Long hot summers.”

“And broken wings.” I stroked her colored feathers.

“But we don’t give up.”

“You’re a sweet girl. I’m so glad you survived.”

The next morning when the roosters crowed, I smiled. “I know why you do it. You love them.”

He took a long sip of coffee. “Something like that.”

…I have called you friends…John 15:15 (ESV)

What about you? Was there a time when you experienced God’s TLC through a friend–either a person or an animal?

Or a time when you felt compelled to show love? 

Do you understand Rick’s unfailing love for his birds?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

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)

Love,

Julie