Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Like a mother hen

Our descendants are going to ask, "What were you thinking, why didn't you act?" according to a talking head on Leonardo DiCaprio's movie "11th Hour" about climate change and impending environmental catastrophe. The trailer will give you a taste of the movie.

The trouble is that our society is built around cars, planes and things that go. It's overwhelming to start changing, and we must start to change, even and create a tipping point and make energy conservation COOL.

I've read that people will change their behavior for the sake of their children. This gives me some hope. Especially because mothers feel so protective about our little chicks. We will do anything to insure their survival.

Which brings me back to my chicken adventURE and self-education. My chicken guru, Gail Damerow , writes: “The loving keeper may coax out more eggs; the neglectful keeper will get fewer."

More love, more eggs. Just like motherhood. Givers gain.

I can calm the mounting overwhelm when I remember providing 24-hour care to four infants and successfully raising them to adulthood is harder than my chicken adventURE.

"Think about all of the diseases our children could get and didn't," my friend Denali reminded me. Chickens have a LONG list of potential maladies -- physical, dietary, predatory, social and psychological. They can easily get stressed out.

Keen observation [like I used to do for my babies] insures optimum chicken health, Gail writes. “You’ll readily spot problems in the making if you become fully familiar with these characteristics,” Gail writes. She really knows these birds.

Appearance – “Healthy chickens look perky and alert.”

Activities – “Healthy chickens peck, scratch, dust, preen or meander almost constantly.”

Sounds – “Well chickens ‘talk’ and ‘sing’ throughout the day.”

A loving caregiver observes the scent, weight, food consumption and excrement of their flock.

Attentive mothers do all that. And the stakes are lower. Much lower.

If my chickens die because of my incompetence, I will not go to prison for chicken endangerment. The only law I have to abide by is not being cruel. I can manage that.

[PHOTO: My friend Denali is hanging out her laundry on a circular moving clotheslines. The clothespins are in the lovely shoulder bag, recycled from a thrift store, of course.]

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