Thursday, January 7, 2010


Someday I want to have a chicken coop in the backyard. I think chickens would be good pets: they stay outside, they are fun for kids, and they do something useful by providing delicious eggs.

I recently learned something interesting about chickens and now I can't stop thinking about it. Did you know that when a baby chick is hatching it is very important to leave it alone and not help? The time that a baby chick spends struggling to peck its way out of the egg is a critical for their development, as they engage and strengthen the muscles they will need in their new life outside the egg. To intervene in this process with the intention of "helping" them is, in actuality, to stunt their maturity and readiness for life as a baby chick.

Sometimes I feel like I am this hatching chick. As I peck furiously at the blinding world, I can make out figures -- silhouettes gathered around me. Are they really just standing there watching? Surely they could give me a hand and crack off a section of shell! Can't they see my desperate desire for emergence, for arrival, for apprehension of this hinted-at life beyond my knowledge?

But that is love, isn't it? To let the egg hatch in its time. To respect the process, the struggle, the unseen development and strengthening. And so I am loved: watched excitedly, cheered on enthusiastically -- loved, and not helped.


livingpalm said...

i've had this window open for like 24 hours trying to come up with a pithy comment to say again "i hear you" - i got nothing better but just that.
I hear you. Keep on chipping away, girl...

Laura said...

If you are serious about getting chickens, figure out how many eggs you want per day/week before you decide how many birds to get! - my in-laws went through the chicken acquiring process somewhat backwards and now we get about 15 eggs per day. Fresh eggs from free range chickens are awesome, but 15 a day is too many even for our extended family.