Compassionate Chickens

Content warning: an animal death, discussion of animal rights/the ethics of eating animals

This morning I was part of something heartbreaking but also beautiful. It was life-changing. Our chickens live in a shed, divided into two parts for the egg layers (who we call “Brownies”) and the meat-chickens (who we lovingly call “Fatties.”) There are about 50 Brownies and 17 Fatties. 

Now the Fatties are the sweetest animals in the world and I bonded with them instantly, despite myself. I knew this would happen. We decided we couldn’t have them as meat. They are the most ridiculously huge, lovable birds. Funny and sweethearts. I really, really love them. So much personality.

This morning when we went to let the chickens out, Joey found that the barrier between the two areas had been ripped apart. It appears to have been done by the Fatties, believe it or not. Our best theory is that they were trying to get to the rooster in order to mate. We really don’t know why they did it.

Anyway, one of them had a badly broken leg and was clearly in pain, and we both knew she had to be put down. Joey and I were very sad. We raised these chickens from the day they were born. We care for them everyday and they make us laugh and smile. We have a lot of love for them. I don’t think either of us was quite expecting it to feel like this. Joey had chickens in the past and wasn’t this attached. He was able to be kind but utilitarian about it. I knew I would be attached, as I am with all animals, but didn’t realize how much I would love these chickens, pretty much like I do my cats. 

I was a vegetarian for about 15 years, since I was old enough to really understand. I can’t say exactly why I stopped. Nothing changed for me. Meat was just around. My family was eating it. It looked good, I was too lazy to cook for myself….I just sort of fell back into eating it. I never would have thought that would happen. It’s a weird subject for me. I care about animal rights a great deal, and I think about this subject a great deal. I’ve had to stop myself, because it becomes too painful. I think very often about becoming a vegetarian again. 

I feel like my thoughts on all this are too complex to put into words right now. Yesterday I started a post on my identity and also abandoned it. I’m not going to abandon this one, though I do know getting into it all too deeply would be very upsetting for me. Suffice to say, I’ve given these things a lot of thought….And I don’t believe that the eating of animals is unethical in it of itself. I know there are problems with all the things we consume. Anyway. It’s a spiraling rabbit hole of thoughts and I’d rather not get into it. 

I am glad that my family will be eating this chicken. I’m glad she won’t go to waste. I’m not sure what I will do. A part of me, spiritually, wants to take part. I can see how that works for someone like Joey. I’ve found a lot of sense to his way of thinking, of respecting and loving the creature/nature. I told the chicken when she was in pain that she would be OK, no matter what happened. I also thanked her for her meat, and assured her she would continue on as energy in other beings. It just sort of…came out of my mouth, before I even knew what we were going to do with her body.

I’m really glad she was able to die well. I love my partner beyond words. He was worried I’d see him as a monster, but even if it had been just me, I knew she had to be put down. If it weren’t for him, I would have found a way to do it, in order to be okay with myself. It was what had to be done, and it was the kind thing to do. 

What I most want to emphasize in this post is the life changing experience of being witness to the other chickens. First, there were her close sisters. I didn’t know before that chickens are very social creatures. They bond with each other, and form smaller groups and pairs. This one chicken was obviously very bonded to the injured chicken. She sat down beside her and didn’t leave her side. She leaned gently against her and made soft, comforting noises. She welcomed me when I sat down with them, and let me gently stroke them both. She kept looking me in my eyes, with her orange gold ones, and she seemed so aware of everything. It was kind of eerie and very moving.

Another one came into the enclosed area to join them, and sat on her other side. The rest of the flock lined up nearby with some distance, on the other side of the enclosure, watching, quiet and respectful. It was barely sunrise. I was completely moved to tears.

Chickens are very compassionate creatures. People say they aren’t intelligent, but I can say for sure that in their own way, they are. And they have big (metaphorical) hearts. I feel so blessed to share my life with them.

I wanted to add pictures to this post but can’t figure out how to resize them. Anyway, please see them at my Instagram page:


Something I daydream about fairly often in a post-Covid world is my own cafe and shop. It would mostly be a place people could gather. Coffee might just be available by donation, and I would sell my art and other trinkets and whatnot. I would love setting u the place, indoors and out. I would pick out the perfect furniture, lighting, music, and rotation of art for the walls. There could be live performances and groups. I like thinking about this a lot.

I’m having a lovely morning. I did another ketamine treatment, which I find inclines me towards writing. Each time the feeling seems to linger a little longer. It’s really quite nice, because I felt for several years now that I had lost my taste for writing. It’s interesting. I’m more focused on the actual act of writing and typing. One is a craft. The other is a dance. A finger dance, lol.

I’ve had several cups of coffee but am not feeling jittery. Now I’m having black tea. I’ve been greatly enjoying tea lately. It snowed here, which has been lovely. It snowed yesterday and today. We are working on building a screened in porch for the winter using plastic wrap! It may or may not work. We shall see…

I’m really loving my bunnies lately. I was watching a documentary called The Octopus Teacher and it got me thinking a lot about human/animal relationships. I started being a little more firm with my rabbits a few months ago, because their coats were a mess and we weren’t getting anywhere with grooming. I’ve decided to go back to a gentler, perhaps more respectful interaction now that they are tolerating and even enjoying grooming.

I will sometimes hold them longer than they want, but let them go shortly after. And I let them decide when they want to leave their kennels. I don’t grab them in their sacred space….I just have patience.

This has made me feel much less anxious about the relationships. I now know that it is important to get an angora at a young age to accustom them to touch and grooming. Some of the ones I see in my angora group on facebook absolutely love the attention. They will lay on their backs to be brushed! Maybe we will get there someday. I want to start carding the wool soon and using it.

I’m finding working with animals greatly rewarding. The chickens and ducks are also a delight. It’s my morning and evening routine to let them in and out with Joey. We also, of course, and to make sure all their needs are met. Sometimes I don’t feel like doing it, but they always make me smile and laugh and it’s a good feeling to care for them. Hopefully we will get some eggs soon!

The cats are also well. Not much to say there. They enjoy the fireplace and the new couch. Pretty much just being their same old selves.

I wrote a poem while doing my treatment, and I’d like to share it.

Snow Falls On Cedars

Snow falls on cedars

Look how beautiful the world

Now covered in white.

Jazz in my ear drums

A window to the outside

A cup of coffee on the sill.

Friends are far away

Positive vibes, still honest.

Sharing our pictures

Sharing how we’ve been.

Quality in old photos

Memories of old times

Remembering us

Remembering how it was.

Snow falls on cedars

I wonder, where the time goes

My world is now gold.

My life is in nature

My life is on Life’s terms

Snow falls on cedars

& I must quiet the music

Before I forget this thought.:

You cannot feel bliss forever. That’s just not the way it works. Come to terms with your moody heart, small joys, and even sorrows. Learn the art of contentment, and you will finally be free.

A Rainy Morning and a Bright Future (a blog entry with a bonus poem about chickens)

This morning’s view on the farm through the rain.

It’s a rainy morning here on the farm. I’m inside sitting on the new couch with Snowflake, the cat, listening to ChilledCow YouTube radio. I’m drinking my third or fourth cup of coffee with milk and sugar, but feeling very peaceful. I had a wonderful morning

Last night was hard. It would feel somewhat nice to detail why, here, but I won’t because of the personal nature that involves others. I’ll just say, last night I worked myself up into a state of great despair and feelings of abandonment. It’s so strange to talk about these times when I feel so sound of mind right now. Anyway. This morning I did my ketamine treatment and sat outside with Joey, watching the rain over the pond. I felt very close, and loved. It was incredibly special.

Depending on who you are, Joey would be a difficult person to be in a relationship with. Namely, if you are jealous and the type who compares themselves to others. I am unfortunately this type of person at my worst. I was feeling insecure this morning that I don’t have such a clear vision. But then I started to think about working together instead. Joey is quite remarkable. I won’t detail that now, because it would take a lot of time. But suffice to say, he makes remarkable things happen. One of his ideas for the future is a retreat. I’ve been thinking a lot about this dream this morning.

My first at home ketamine treatment I came to the realization that all identities aside, I am an artist. This art takes several forms, and it is also just in how I live my life. It is who I am. This journey, I realized that I also want to heal people. It is a part of healing myself. What I loved about my experience as a published author was hearing from people that my words helped them. A lot of people, expressed or implied that my words got them through very dark times. I know what those dark times can look like. Two of my books deal with suicide; three deal with self-destruction.

I am still healing from complex traumas. I am learning all about healing methods, even those for which I have skepticism. Through my own epic journey of trying to heal, I have become a student of so many different fields. Psychedelics. Crystals. Yoga. Meditation. EMDR. DBT. CBT. PTSD recovery methods. Aromatherapy. Art therapy. Western psychiatric medicines, like SSRIs and the like. Many different psychological and spiritual schools of thought. Self-inquiry, self-healing, self-therapy, when there is nowhere else to turn. Writing as a way to empower yourself and find your voice. Nature as a healer. Healing powers of bodies of water. The healing power of animals. And more recently, I’m following an interest in acupuncture, acupressure, herbal remedies, mushroom healing properties, chakras, and Reiki. Somehow I became something of a hippy, haven’t I?

I have accumulated so much firsthand knowledge on the subject of healing. I know that it’s my calling in life to be an artist and a healer. I can clearly see myself doing this in this beautiful space that we have found ourselves in. I’m so grateful. I feel the future is bright.

And now, my poem.


Ridiculous things, all so feathery

Fluffed up each morning at dawn and at night

Cooing and clucking oh so pleasantly

And they think they are capable of flight!

Independent women, each on her own

Plump beyond all imagination

Yet they make friends and are never alone

They fill me with up with complete elation

To think they were tiny chicks in a box

Is as hilarious as it is absurd

Now fully grown, their rotundity shocks

The most glorious of the barnyard bird!