an interesting piece of advice, and certainly not one you would
expect to hear. But in many ways, if you were considering raising
chickens, it could be one of the most valuable.
of ours have had chickens running around their property for years.
They’ve even expanded beyond chickens into ducks and turkeys and
other assorted creatures. Fascinating and fun, but be careful
where you park your car if you head over to visit.
joke is that their house is a farm… and it is a significantly
older house that qualifies as a farmhouse… but my guess is all
of us know a person or two with chickens running around in the
yard, and many of them aren’t raising the birds on farms.
I’ve been around when the couple—alone or together—gets asked
about what it’s like having chickens around. And, it is not unusual
at all for the conversation to move along into questions and answers
about how someone might start raising chickens and what special
advice should be considered. And that’s where the title of this
article comes from, since it is a piece of advice I have heard
offered on several occasions:
thinking of adding chickens to their property: “What do I need
already raising chickens: “Get ready for death.”
words. Powerful impact.
stands a person asking for advice. Chances are good they’re expecting
some insider tips on fairly routine matters. They asked about
what might be nice to know, but likely received generic responses
that would apply to more specific questions:
are some of the best places to find chicken feed?
there better designs for coops and pens?
there a best breed for beginners?
know the drill. And you likely would come up with the same questions.
(Heck, chances are outstanding that no matter who they ask, those
are the subjects being covered. Search engine time…)
advice for starting to raise chickens? Answers range from cleanliness
to providing water, keeping expectations about egg production
realistic to establishing routines.
are the general bullet points that come up. But other than warning
about the dangers of predators, not all that much about death.
yes, predators are one of the major causes of death when it comes
to chickens. Fair enough. But people also raise them for food…
and that does not mean exclusively for eggs. Did you think about
that? And, when it comes to raising animals, people often don’t
think about how to handle the realities of life. Birds die.
thing about this prepare for death response is that I always have
a similar reaction to it. (It’s pretty close to: “Damn, that’s
some good advice. Direct, no nonsense, honest, chances are good
no one else is going to bother to pass this along and yet it might
be the most valuable of all advice.”) This swings me off onto
another path, thinking about guidance and lessons and more I get
from time to time, or watch shared with others, and a recognition
of just how lacking it can be.
word I would select in describing it is obvious.
like planning a trip to Orlando and having people tell you that
Disney World is there.
mean—duh—everyone understands that. If you’re going to Orlando,
you could say “Orlando” or “Disney” or “visiting the mouse” and
people will interchange all of those terms in their minds. Disney
and Orlando as terms are like Xerox and copier or Jacuzzi and
hot tub… used to mean exactly the same thing.
fact, I’d be willing to bet we could ask one hundred people, and
double-digits would tell us that Disney World and Orlando are
exactly the same thing. (Comfortably in the double-digits.)
you know that… depending on which edges of Disney property or
city limits you used as markers for your journey… Disney World
and the city of Orlando are more than fifteen miles apart?
is, obvious advice has a place. Obvious isn’t always on target.
nice to know where the best feed or most competitive prices on
supplies are for your flock.
it takes more than rattling off the names of the Space Mountain,
Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain to pass along quality
recommendations about spending time with The Mouse.
long ago decided when writing about my travels to give up on covering
it all. It doesn’t work. I can only share my experiences. I’m
not going to get on every ride, eat at every restaurant, or see
every attraction. It’s not happening. And the things that I might
believe are brilliant could very well be things that others think
are some of the stupidest ideas they’ve ever heard.
what can I do? Easy. Try to pass along the stuff that I found
surprising… the items I might not have been prepared to handle,
or would have been better equipped for had I known about them.
next time someone asks you for advice on something, pause for
a moment. Don’t tell them about houses in good school districts,
cars with good gas mileage, or a sweeping overview that Savannah
is a lovely town. Offer a bit more. Share your headaches. Share
what you consider to be musts and must-nots.
might be surprised to find out that you can actually help with
information that matters.