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silkie hen

My belated, beloved Silkie hen Llama. As my brother noted, “she looked like a little cotton ball.” But she was one tough little cotton ball.

“This is your option” is a phrase I overuse. It’s shorthand for look, I know you’re not thrilled, but here’s what’s happening, and you’re going to have to go with it.

Example: Chickens are ultimate food sorters. This is why their main food (or at least, my birds’ main food) is pellets. Pellets are all the same size, shape, color, flavor, and so on, making it harder for them to be picky. But I give them loads of extras, including plenty of kitchen scraps—strawberry hulls, corn cobs, just-past-its-prime spinach, that kind of thing—and straight-up treats (pineapples and blueberries are favorites).

If I bring them their pan (scraps come out in an old metal pie plate) and it’s got more than one kind of food on it (or just one, in some cases), they will immediately start throwing food out of the pan in their quest for the best stuff. They’re like shoppers at a sample sale who are sure there will be one ultra-must-have item in that giant cardboard box of markdowns, and everyone wants to get to it first.

Whatever item they’ve decided is the best on a given day gets eaten instantly. Sometimes there’s chasing as to avoid sharing, hens will run off with whatever they can get (my beloved Silkie hen, Llama, would literally grab an ear of corn and take off). Once they’ve finished whatever they’ve decided is the best, they want… more of the best. Even if it’s something that recently was the best—let’s say strawberries—if the next day they get strawberries and pineapple, they’ll eat all the pineapple and then immediately start growling and grousing.

At this point I tell them, “This is your option.” They like strawberries. Strawberries were the hot new thing yesterday! Yes, there’s no more pineapple, but strawberries are fine. Eventually they will give up sulking and eat the strawberries, but they’re going to be bratty for a while first (chickens and teens have much in common).

That was an overly long and pretty weird example, but it (maybe) makes my point: Sometimes you need to acknowledge the reality of your situation, and make of it what you can. (And maybe it’s something you like anyway! I mean is blogging really so bad? Blogging is the strawberries of publishing.)