Looking back at the end result of a great idea I saw online…

So at one point I mentioned about changing the coop from pine shavings to sand, “like I learned online”. This is going back a week plus ago, when for one reason or another I decided to do this project late in the evening. Wanting to get things set up before they went into the coop for the night, I hurriedly, in the heat, scooped the pine shavings out of their coop and filled it with sand, bucket by bucket, and once it was all squared away and their new space was completely ready for them, I stood back and admired it, it looked perfect to me. As I stood there dripping with sweat feeling pretty good about my work, I opened the pop hole door to watch my chickens march into the coop with what I expected to be, pure chicken joy over their new Zen place. While I stood back and waited for their clucks of gratefulness, it became clear that they were not responding the way I thought. They were supposed to love it, but my chickens not having access to the internet were unaware it was supposed to be a good thing!  They walked in and freaked out completely! They did what scared chickens do and they piled up in the corner literally stacked on top of one another, and refused to move. This is not a good thing when you are the bottom chicken and it’s 90+ degrees. My readings were running through my head, “…at 95 degrees chickens can die”, so I was sure they were 5 degrees from death! There was no calming them at this point they were frozen (but not the cold kind for sure) in pure chicken panic! There was nothing else to do then but to shelve my feelings of pride and reward that I was expecting to feel from their reaction to their new digs, and run like hell to bring back the wheelbarrow of pine shavings. After scooping all the sand out I rushed to replace it with their old pine shaved bedding, in hopes of unstacking the chicken tower. They eventually settled down and stayed clustered for a bit but not stacked, thank goodness. Later, I had time to think about what transpired. I decided they needed new bedding, I decided to do it all at once, I decided to put it in right before they went in the coop an in so doing, I decided I made numerous mistakes from all these decisions. I made a sudden change that felt, smelled, and looked different to the only place they know as home. Hmmm guess I am not always right;) Who knew chickens had such strong opinions, not me that’s for sure. We may attempt this again but I will do it gradually adding sand to their coop and instead leaving the coop door open all day so they can come in and out and get more used to it, rather then springing it on them right before they retire. I am not sure I would be happy if I was tired and ready for bed and someone decided for me that I would sleep better on a bed made out of something completely different. Observing behavior is  everything, even us smart humans with all our words, convey more of our message by our behavior and posture when saying it! My two previous careers of teaching and nursing are all about assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating. These four skills apply to everything. I use it with the dog, the cattle, the pigs, and guess I didn’t think that the chickens would have a strong opinion and here I assessed incorrectly!

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