Five Life Lessons Learned from Keeping Backyard Chickens

Posted by Daphne Cybele
backyard chickens
Photo: Daphne Cybele

What can you learn about life from keeping chickens?

Keeping backyard chickens can change your perspective on life and teach valuable life lessons.

Have you ever sat down and thought about the ways your chickens have changed your outlook and improved your life skills?  Here's what we came up with:

1. We All Need a Good Cackle

Yes, we all need a good cackle. Cackle is really just another word for laugh, and it's also a noise that chickens make.

rooster flap
Photo: Daphne Cybele

A good cackle and a sense of humor make life a whole lot more enjoyable, and I'm sure you would agree that everyone needs to have a little (or a lot of) fun. Whether that's watching "chicken television" out at the coop, gardening, cooking, or solving mathematical equations, make sure you find time to do what pleases you and gives you joy.

If you find someone who makes you laugh, that person is usually (always?) a keeper. So laugh, enjoy, and shake your tail feather, because we all need some fun and a good cackle.

Do you find yourself in need of a good chicken cackle? Check out Chicken People on CMT.

READ MORE"Chicken People" Is a New Documentary All About Poultry Shows

2. Ruffle It Up and Shake It Off

Everyone has their bad days, and maybe a dust-up now and then. Roll with it, and then shake it off like a chicken having a good dirt bath.

Alternatively, if you're always spotless and tidy, maybe you need a good wallow? Maybe you landed in the muck by accident and the only way out is through. It's all about balance.

No matter the situation, good or bad, learn from it what you can, have fun if possible (see Life Lesson #1 above), and once it's over ruffle those feathers up and shake it off. Onwards and upwards.

chicken dust bath
Flickr user Karen Jackson

3. Have a (Flexible) Plan Ahead of Time

With chickens, you really need to plan ahead as a responsible flock owner. One of the first things a new chicken owner learns is that baby chicks grow incredibly fast, and if you don't already own a coop, you need one ASAP.

A month may seem like an infinite amount of time to line up or build a chicken coop when you first get baby chicks, but time REALLY flies by when baby chicks are in residence in your home or garage if you don't yet have a coop.

Week three is when those cute chicks get a little stinky and suddenly life with chickens gets very... real. Real, uh, aromatic, unless you planned ahead for proper brooder cleaning and a good coop.

READ MORE7 Reasons to Let a Broody Hen Hatch Eggs

Life Lessons from Backyard Chickens
Photo: Daphne Cybele

With chickens, of course, it's best to plan ahead on a coop, and to plan for bio-security, for how to protect your chickens from predators, plan for how to protect your garden from your free-ranging flock, and plan for how you will treat ill chickens.

If you don't plan ahead a little bit, you're probably going to have a harder time when push comes to shove, or you'll have to follow a plan made by someone else, and that's probably not going to be any fun at all (remember the first life lesson).

4. Sharing Is Not Always Caring

Yes, sharing is caring, but what about sharing germs? Some exposure to germs is good for immunity, but let's use some common sense shall we?

chickens in coop
Yes, sharing is caring, but what about sharing germs?  Some exposure to germs is good for immunity, but let's use some common sense shall we?Photo: Daphne Cybele

One, wash your hands, two, don't kiss chickens, and three, no chickens in the house (!).  Common sense about safe chicken handling and washing your hands hopefully transfers to a skill known as general common sense (a valuable life skill!).

READ MORECDC Warns Chicken Owners to Avoid Kissing Their Pets

5. Aim for a Measure of Grace

What do we mean by grace? Being a responsible flock owner means providing for your chickens well.

Treat your flock with care, with the proper feed, clean water in clean containers daily, safe housing, the ability to free-range when possible, and professional veterinary care when needed.

Barnevelder chicken
Photo: Daphne Cybele

Caring with a measure of grace is good animal husbandry. Good animal care goes beyond a minimum of required care. Your chickens will thank you with good health, excellent eggs, and the satisfaction of having raised your flock well.

WATCH NOW: How to Have the Best Tasting Eggs from Your Backyard Chickens

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The life skill in aiming for a measure of grace? Life is better when you exceed minimal expectations and when you reach for just a little bit more and a little bit better. Learn and improve as you go, and keep on learning and reaching and doing.

So there are the five life lessons you might learn by keeping chickens...  Remember to laugh and cackle, do the best you can, plan ahead, use common sense, and aim for a measure of grace.

What other life lessons have you learned from your chickens? Let us know in  the comments below!

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Five Life Lessons Learned from Keeping Backyard Chickens