Archive for August 2017

Don’t let all the squawking disrupt your peace of mind

In raising chickens, I house my flock in “chicken tractors” or mobile chicken coups.

Each chicken tractor of 75 birds has three 5-foot feeders, and the chickens can feed on both sides of each feeder. That’s 30 feet of feeders—more than enough for all of them to eat at their leisure.

But they sit at one feeder, and they fight with each other. Then one chicken will squawk because it got pushed out of the way. As soon as that chicken squawks, a chicken from the other side of the feeder that was eating by itself, unmolested, will perk up.

What does this chicken do? It immediately runs over to where it heard the noise and fights its way in, which provokes more fighting and squawking.

I’m amazed that these birds will fight at the same feeder when there’s plenty of food at the other feeders.

It makes me think of how many times I make life more difficult than it needs to be. I hear white noise, and I go running over there. Somebody has a new device, a new calendar, a new five steps to productivity, or three steps to the greatest relationship ever.

Rather than pay attention to what’s important, I’m easily distracted.

How many times do I miss the boat because I’m following somebody else who claims to have the latest and greatest thing that goes “bang”?

That’s all that many things are—attention-getters. It doesn’t benefit me. I would be better off to enjoy peace and quiet.

But, no… I have an idea, and I pick a fight on Facebook so that we can never talk again.

What did the chicken do when it crossed the farm?

I enjoy raising chickens, and they teach me life lessons.

My 300 chickens are Cornish Rocks. They’re not what you think of as Cornish chickens—the cute little Cornish Game Hens.

What I grow, Cornish Rock Chickens, are today’s typical commercial breed. They’ve been bred to grow amazingly fast.

They convert feed better than any other chicken on the market. Most chickens you eat in the store are about six or seven weeks old—that’s how fast these chickens grow.

Cornish Rocks love to eat. It’s amazing how much they love to eat.

My latest life lesson came about through using “chicken tractors.” A chicken tractor is a mobile chicken coup that holds 75 birds and allows me to move my flock from one spot to another spot on my land.

The chickens can eat all the grass and weeds they want, which amounts to about 15 percent of their diet. Chicken manure is 40 percent nitrogen. What does everybody want to put on their yard? Nitrogen.

The chickens are getting grass, which is what they want, and I’m getting fertilizer, which is what I want. What’s more, they’re doing weed control because the grass comes back faster than the weeds.

This approach creates a symbiosis based on the balance of nature. I’m leveraging what the chickens want to do for my benefit. I want beautiful dark green grass, and I’m not using commercial fertilizers to get it.

This is a healthier approach than traditional agricultural practices. The first thing that most farmers do is cut down all the trees and flatten out all the mountains because they don’t like that topography.

I show up and ask, “How can I have the chickens be happy and still give me what I want?”

Nature loves the balance of the chickens eating green stuff and me getting fertilizer.

In my life, how many times do I fight natural balance? I stretch against it, and I attempt the very thing that I abhor—cutting down all the trees and flattening out all the mountains.

What if I looked for balance at every turn? If I looked for balance in my relationship with my wife, my children, my employees, my friends, my church, and my food?

My love of strawberry cake is a case in point. A piece of strawberry cake every now and then is OK and even in balance. Eating a strawberry cake in its entirety is a bad idea. I’ve proven that to be true on several occasions.