Finding Hope in Feathers
My childhood was not that long ago.
It seems that the world has changed so much since I was a little girl. Todayâ€™s childhood is filled with many more electronics and distractions than mine.
I can see the lure of the screen and the way it has the ability to cause us to miss the world around us. Since I was little, Iâ€™ve always loved spending time in nature.
From wandering in the woods, exploring natural springs, catching frogs on hot summer days and building forts...
I can remember getting â€ślostâ€ť until sunset when Mom told us to be home for dinner.
I wanted something like that for my kids. Something to lure them outside. Something to spark their curiosity and I found just that in six little fluff balls.
Almost seven years ago, we decided to explore getting backyard chickens as pets.
I was first drawn to them, because they naturally put themselves to roost at night and their care was described as somewhere between a dog and a cat.
Plus, what could beat having a pet that laid the family breakfast everyday?Â
Suddenly the kids were no longer so connected to their devices.
They couldnâ€™t wait to get home from school and visit their flock and discover who laid an egg, to share treats and participate in their care.
My daughter even started to do her school reading out in the chicken coop!
Lessons about life began to permeate our family, the kids began to show more of an interest the yard, gardening and being outdoors.
They enjoyed exploring nature with the chickens as they free-ranged and they even provided comfort during a difficult bullying time for my son. The chickens changed our lives in so many unexpected ways.
I began to keep a journal.
Instead of a traditional paper journal, I formally started to keep a blog, where I could share my chicken experiences and from that it grew.
From the joys to the sad times of losing a flock member, I shared it all and I realized that many people were seeking the same things that I was for my family.
I also realized that they too adored their chickens as we did.
They have also shared lessons about friendship, acceptance, love and loss. I never would have imagined it if someone had told me all those years ago.
It was a complete leap of faith and I cannot imagine my life without those girls.
Melissa Caughey is the author of How to Speak Chicken and A Kidâ€™s Guide to Keeping Chickens. She is a backyard chicken keeper, beekeeper, and gardener who writes the award-winning blog Tillyâ€™s Nest.
Caughey writes for HGTV, DIY Network, and Grit, Chickens, Community Chickens, and Country Living magazines, and she presents on chicken keeping at events across the country. She lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
You can find out more about Melissa at her website www.tillysnest.com
Toni Benton - Toni has a lot of experience with keeping pets and pet enclsoures, with her very cheeky British shorthair cat named Charlie and a rescue cat Rosie who is now nearly 17. Toni's pets also includes Dwarf Lop rabbits and Australorp cross Chickens.