Let’s be honest: In the summer, when it’s hot and humid, it can sometimes discourage us from spending as much time with our flock as we normally would. However, the summer makes for a great opportunity to spend time with the birds. Spending time with our chickens is healthy for both them and us. In this article, I will be discussing the top ten reasons to spend at least ten extra minutes with your flock each and every day, no matter what the season.
1.) Additional Bonding Time
Who doesn’t enjoy having friendly birds who run to greet them, fall asleep on their lap and follow them around? And, what is the best way to bond with your flock? Spend time with them, of course! Talk to them, cuddle with them, hand feed them, sing to them and simply be within their presence. Chickens are creatures who enjoy routine and thrive by living in groups. If you spend time with them every day, they will soon recognize you as part of the “flock”.
If you bring a treat with you when you go to see your birds, they will quickly realize that only good things come from you and, thus, anxiously await your arrival. Chickens also are very vocal and talkative animals. Speaking while around them will familiarize them with your voice and, believe me, you won’t be alone in conversation…chickens never shut up!
2.) Provides Opportunity to Spot Illness and Injury
As you have most likely heard about most sicknesses, “the best way to treat it is to catch it early” is also true when it comes to chickens. Noticing and identifying illness or injury early will make a world of a difference in the long run. Spotting issues like this is hard to do when you don’t spend much time around your birds. Simply by spending about ten extra minutes with your flock each day, you will be able to observe and catch possible problems easily. Watch for limping, lethargy, coughing, wheezing, odd discolorations on the body, loss of feathers, droopy wings, off-chart droppings or eggs, off-color combs, and wattles, crusty faces, and otherwise unusual symptoms in each of your chickens.
3.) It Makes for a Fun Time with the Family
Children of all ages love chickens and, if the chickens are friendly to the family, will love the children right back. Teaching kids to be gentle with animals is important. Spending additional time with your kids and your flock is well worth it as well as fun for everyone.
You can also let the chickens out to free-range while you and your family share a meal together outdoors. The chickens will love to search around your feet for scraps. Additionally, your family will enjoy the clucking company of the birds.
4.) It Provides Opportunity to Spot Problems within the Coop
Spending additional time in your chicken quarters every day will not only allow you to catch signs of disease or injury within the birds but also provide a chance to observe the coop itself. Does something need repairing? Is the window cracked? Does the door still close properly? Does the grass in the chicken yard need to be mowed? Are there any worn spots in the coop? Are the feeder and waterer functioning correctly? Has the paint worn off the coop? Fixing any small issues early can save you from big problems later. That crack in the corner might turn into a hole that a predator can squeeze through and gain access to your chickens.
5.) It Provides More Insight into Chicken Behavior
Chickens are incredible creatures! Their behavior is fascinating. Some people say that you never need a TV when you have chickens around. While I do enjoy watching TV, that statement is true. Chickens provide endless and abounding entertainment. They are always doing something and always have something to cluck about. Even in their sleep chickens are interesting. They twitch, purr, and rearrange themselves. Learning about their everyday behavior is not only captivating but it’s also a great way to further your chicken wisdom. The more time you spend with your flock, the more knowledge you will gain about their habits and behavior.
6.) It Makes for a Great Chance to Capture Moments with Your Camera
Do you enjoy photography? Chickens make wonderful models. They dirt bathe, lay eggs, peck things, flap their wings, sunbathe, preen their feathers, attempt to fly, dig in the dirt and search for bugs which all make wonderful photo opportunities. Also, if you’re lucky, they’ll sometimes stand still and pose just for you. When you sit with your chickens, be sure to take your camera along to develop your photography skills as you capture precious moments with the flock. A word of caution: chickens love to investigate things and, if you’re not careful, they’ll peck and tug at your camera which could damage the lens.
7.) It’s Enjoyable and Relaxing
Spending time with the flock is a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. Take a book with you and lounge in the yard while the chickens forage around you. Take your food and sit near them to observe them. Swing in the hammock with your favorite bird on your lap. The possibilities of things to do with your birds are endless. Overall though, chickens themselves are entertaining, and watching them is quite relaxing as many chicken owners would agree.
8.) It Allows You Extra Time to Learn About Each Flock Member
Every chicken is different with its own, unique personality. Trust me, it is a blast discovering their personalities. But, you can only do that by being around them. At first glance, chickens look the same but, as chicken keepers, we know that this is far from accurate. One bird might be flighty and skittish, the other might be cuddly and affectionate while another might be curious and always on the go. Spending time with your chickens every day will give you a deeper insight into the attitude of each flock member, as well as give them a chance to get used to you as their caretaker. Believe it or not, chickens enjoy getting to know us too.
9.) It Provides You with an Escape
Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Jobs, sports, family activities, world on-goings, and daily schedules can all sometimes weigh us down. Escaping to the chicken coop for a period of time is occasionally needed. If you can’t seem to have time within your daily routine to spend extra time with your chickens, try getting up earlier. The refreshing, morning air along with your chickens’ first clucks of the day all makes for a relaxing way to start off the day. Also, remember that spending time with your flock doesn’t always mean just sitting with them. You can go about your daily chicken chores and still bond with your birds. Pet the hen in the nest box as you collect eggs, talk to your chickens as you tidy the henhouse, sing to them as you repair the outside of the run, etc.
10.) It Builds Memories
The most beneficial part about spending extra time with your chickens is the fact that you build memories together. Each flock you ever own should hold a special place in your heart but, if you never spend time with them, it will be hard to remember them. Chickens are social creatures that enjoy the company of their owners. We, like their owners, should also enjoy the company of our birds. Happily sitting with them on our lap, enjoying the thrill of them following us around the yard, having them eagerly eat out of our hands, and lazily sunbathe at our feet are all wonderful memories and experiences that chicken keepers love.