She came bounding out of the aviary, stood for a moment to take in the scenery then stretched her neck and shoulders shaking off the day. Rosey’s had a long, frustrating week. The two roos are trying to work out their hierarchy, the smallest birds are now growing into pre-pubescent kids complete with mood swings and her best friend Henny has been mailing it in.
She sprawled in front of me, head one way, wings another, feet stretched out. We know the drill now. (did I mention that in the process of putting their aviary together one of the chickens learned to replicate the drill sound and now it’s her special noise which makes Rosey’s feathers stand on end?) I scratched her around her chest and wings with one hand and rubbed her foot with the other. It’s an act of coordination Rosey appreciates after a long day at the coop.
It’s not easy being the supervising chicken. I can leave my job on nights and weekends but she’s 24/7 and sometimes she needs a spa minute to wind down. Rosey is a week older than everyone else, several inches taller, is the only one to develop a comb except the precocious and so handsome Happy, the roo. It’s a lot of work watching out for six other souls. But, if she doesn’t do it who will?
Chicken life is no walk in the park. There is a near constant transformation in progress and even when it seems the work of adjusting to one change is done they begin another. If Rosey does not act as their sensei to guide them through the emotional hardships of a rapidly changing body, of establishment of hierarchy which we as humans know is exhausting and the deep waters of living in a close flock which never lacks drama, then they would be left to try to navigate without guidance. It can be done but it’s much more difficult than having the cool feather of a natural leader to reassure you.
But the sensei needs a coach too. Rosey needs someone to help her relax, watch the flock for a few minutes and give her a break to free range a little “me time”. This is the thing with being the bigger chicken, you can take on so much that you just go nuts one day and find yourself staring at chicken wire for hours with nothing left to give.
Rosey being a natural laid leader understands she must seek out support and relaxation to be effective. This time we spend at the end of our days just clucking softly, singing a few tunes or listening to music and me giving her a massage straightens and renews us both. We come away balanced and ready to get back to the task of our various responsibilities.
I’m proud to be Rosey’s relaxation coach and supporter. Every guide needs a guide, every light needs a spark and we need each other. How lucky can we get?