Home as Defined by Chickens

Reader Contribution by Melissa Caughey
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Like many of us, chicken have a strong sense of
home.  At night, they get in the habit of
returning to the safety of their coop after a long day of scratching and seeking
out delicious morsels.  As the daylight
turns to dusk, they call out for flock members who are late; distracted by a
bug, a snake, a tasty frog or a hidden nest of eggs.  Every night without fail, Tilly pops out of
the coop for one last head count.  Even
though her and Dolly don’t see eye to eye, she still checks to make sure that
everyone has turned in for the night.

They have sleeping arrangement preferences.  Somehow, they have to agree with who they get
to snuggle up with in the evening.  We’ve
had some pretty strange arrangements around here.  The chickens must find them comfortable!  I’ve long lost the battle of Silkies sleeping
in nesting boxes.  I think they must be a
brood that not only tends to be broody, but prefers to sleep on the ground.  Who am I to tell a chicken breed that has been
around since the days of Marco Polo and the 13th century, where they should

I can’t forget the pecking order as well.  In our own families, there is always someone
in control.  I like to think its the
parents.  In chicken families, the
pecking order helps to determine everyone’s position and role.  Tilly is the head hen.  She rules the roost. Oyster Cracker is our
resident love bug and greeter.  She is
very social and does not fear much. 
Sunshine is our guardian.  She
watches the skies all day long and is quick to sound the alarm when threats are
near.  Her deep voice is just perfect for
the job.  The Silkies take mothering very
seriously.  Their broody tendencies are
amazing. They all get along and seem to have their own little pecking order
within the larger order.  The pecking
order, establishes their family.

In every family, there are times when we get along.  There are times when we disagree and there
are times when we are apart.  There are
times when we wish that we weren’t in certain situations.  The best part, is that we know we always have
our families, through blood or friendship, that help us to persevere, survive,
believe in ourselves and most importantly fill our hearts with love.  The same goes for chickens.  They are very smart.  You can learn many life’s lessons from
pulling up a chair near the flock, sitting quietly and taking a glimpse into
the lives of chickens.

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