Chicken Watching....

My Easter Egger hen, and friends, foraging in the yard

My Easter Egger hen, and friends, foraging in the yard

Chicken watching... There is something magical about it. Like watching the ocean or the ever changing colors at sunset on canyon walls or clouds as they roll across the vast skies of prairie states. Perhaps it’s the movement in all of it that enthralls us. We are linked to nature’s rhythm at our deepest levels and chickens do it for us, just as oceans, canyon colors and prairie skies. So in the evening I sit down with a book and a glass of wine, intent on reading under the oak tree. I don’t get past the first page because there is so much activity that I start to watch chickens. It is mesmerizing, beyond belief. They chortle to each other, the roosters dance, and strut sideways trying to impress and entice, the hens run not wishing to be impressed. Lenore is chasing a bug, zigging and zagging. Grey Lady is fixing her feathers, there are two Easter Eggers, Gracie and Sally, facing head on preening each other’s beards.

The girls, preening

The girls, preening

Maxine, Laverne and Shirley, the three Faverolles, come and sit down to watch me and I admire their always gentle closeness. From inside the coop I can hear the loud cackling of an egg layer so proud of her seemingly supreme effort. Then a wild bird has the audacity to land on the edge of the feed dish and is promptly and zealously chased off by the Red Star, Elizabeth. There is so much pecking and scratching going on. Everywhere someone is in motion and the communication in chuckling, chirps, chipping, and chortling, if you listen closely, all has meaning. It amazes me, and causes me to question my sanity because I am beginning to understand exactly what they are saying. It is a society with its rules, habits, special friends, enemies, and systems for survival. They are so busy and so happy. Smart too. They know my truck and come running from the four corners as I drive home.

Buff Orpington pullet, perching

Buff Orpington pullet, perching

Sometimes when I hold a silkie-feathered, warm, fluffy bird in my arms I know I am blessed by the opportunity to experience such a peaceful, comforting moment in life. It is a special time for both of us and with two hearts beating so close together the loving exchange is all encompassing and I am compelled to pray and thank God for such wondrous creatures in my life. Who would have thought that a simple chicken would have had so much to offer. The egg is an awesome thing, but that is the least this marvelous creature has brought to my life.

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10 years ago

Very well written, Joyce.

I practice a form of Qi Gong for my back and I like to practice amongst my chickens because they are so calming.

10 years ago

You have expressed so eloquently what I can not begin to put into words.
Thank you Joyce.

(I've kept chickens since 1971and it never gets old.)

10 years ago

I love this! 'Tilly's Nest' has a very nicely written paragraph today that also expresses love for chickens. I have no idea what made me bring home six Silkie's in April? I think it's just for all the magical reasons I've been reading. I am spending a lot more time outside enjoying my yard and watching them. I guess someone knew that was just what I needed. I love holding them, the way they smell and cuddle up to my neck. I had no idea how special chickens really are.
Thank you for such a lovely article ;D

10 years ago

LOVED your post and your way with words. I feel the same way about my chickens!

Thanks for sharing.

10 years ago

My chickens know my truck too, and come running. I have a buff orpington named emmy that comes close and will snuggle with me

10 years ago

Beautifully expressed! I can sit in my potting shed with the screen windows open and hear the clucks, chirps, and whirls as I putter around or read a book. There is something very comforting about hearing and watching them.

10 years ago

You have described the whole bird watching experience so eloquently. There is a beautiful vulnerability and a steadfastness of character in these flightless fowls which I find moving. An afternoon spent chicken watching gives me peace of mind.

10 years ago

Very well written. My daughter just got a couple of hens, and I sent her this article.

10 years ago

Well written and articulated. I, too, sit with my chickens and watch their personalities come to fruition. When one of the hens chirps low and quick, they all stop what they are doing being very quiet. I love to watch them daily and invite our neighbors to share the experience. It is our coi pond.

10 years ago

Joyce, you have expresses beautifully, how I feel about my chickens and the joy I get from them. It is great to know there are others out there who understand, and I'm not crazy, as suggested by my city sister & niece suggest!

10 years ago

Every night after I get home from work I go and sit with my chickens and just watch them. I have a group thats about 9 weeks old that have a pen under a tree with lots of grass (away from my adult chickens) and they are so entertaining. I have a buff Old English Bantam Roo and a Bantam Sicilian Buttercup Roo that like to sit on my knees while I watch the chickens. They are so funny! I think my neighbors think I am crazy, lol. Its such a stress relief, if I have had a really rough day I go out to the chickens and start doing chores than I just sit and watch them for awhile (sometimes a couple hours). Other than running I find this to be the bst way for me to de stress. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, I am sure all of us here can relate.

9 years ago

I loved your post! Nice to see I'm not the only one who feels this way...I keep telling everyone that watching my chickens is like watching fish in an's totally relaxing and lowers your blood pressure!! I go into a trance-like state when I'm out watching my sweet girls!

9 years ago

Hi Joyce, Your writing resonates truth. Our journeys in life can be long and troublesome..... chicken watching enables stillness, tranquility and brings forth feelings of wholeness, laughter and warmth inside our beings. I know that I will never feel lonesome again so long as I have chickens....they truly pick us(hopefully not peck but pick- choose- us..hahahahahahaaha!).
The matriarch(hen) that came to our door each day had an untimely death. I fed her blueberries too! She loved noodles and strawberries too..My heart aches just thinking that I wasn't there to protect her when she died. She was friendly and innocent. Her name was Liesel. The hen box door was slammed on her by a child who didn't mean to hurt her. I learned to tell people that if they want to let our chickens out in the morning, they need to open the main coop door to let the excited chickens out first...then, check the hen boxes. I wish that I knew to make that rule but I am passing it along to other people ...just in Liesel's memory too.
Liesel became such a part of my life that I ended up adopting 10 chicks that were 3 days old. I have been raising them since April! Thank you for sharing your insightful and heartfelt stories.

9 years ago

Well said. I have chickens and bunnies and that's where I love to be and invite others to come watch them with me.

Kris kirschke
5 years ago

I know exactly what this beautiful story is about. I used to chickens outside but every morning, I would my favorite ones gone. Oneday I went mom and asked her if she would be ok, if I raised them in her trailer. She couldn't resist because she knew how much there mean to me.
I have a steel rod in my left leg and there are days when I can get really down but just go out talk to my chickens but when my leg got worse, that when mom decide to raise them in the house. They are my kids and I spoil them rotten, I buy them the best food. The babies are eating baby food and fresh produce and they love it.
Mom has seizures and they are really helpful for her to relax and enjoy.

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