Seven lessons on healthy living from backyard chickens

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A few weeks ago, I hinted at the idea of getting backyard chickens to have fresh eggs. Well, it has happened! And, today our backyard chickens have been with us for one week. What a week it has been. I have learned so much from those three little chickens. My interactions with them have introduced to me new ways to be creative, examples of purposeful living, and I have gained a new perspective on healthy living. Today, you are going to read about seven lessons about healthy living from backyard chickens.

Healthy Living Lesson #1: Chickens go to bed at the same time every night – no questions asked.

My dad built a playpen for the chickens so that they could be out in the open yard (where we don’t have a fence). My spouse and I were staying outside later than usual, chatting and enjoying the weather. At 8:15 sharp, the chickens stopped exploring and began looking for a place to roost for the night. They started to fly out of the pen (a big task…obviously this was a priority) in order to find an area to go to sleep. We’ve noticed that they are in their coop, in bed (on their own) between 8:15 and 8:45 each night. We know the key to healthy living is to get enough sleep. Having a bedtime routine helps that happen.

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Healthy Living Lesson #2: Chickens wake up at the same time every morning – no questions asked (even on the weekends).

The chickens are ready to leave the coop at sunrise each morning (between 6:15 and 6:30 AM). They call out when they are ready to leave the coop. It’s kept me honest on waking up early and not hitting the snooze button each morning. A big key to healthy living is having a good morning by waking up early and being purposeful about that time – just like the chickens.

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Healthy Living Lesson #3: Chickens eat healthfully, and only as much as they need.

Chickens stop eating when they are full. They have their regular feed, but I supplement their food with fresh fruits and veggies – we call these their “treats.” The chickens love their treats. This week, I gave them fresh tomatoes from the garden. Even if they like the treat, they will stop when they are no longer hungry. It’s important to have a good food philosophy to choose healthful things to eat. When you eat treats, it’s important to eat them in moderation.

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Healthy Living Lesson #4: Chickens love to play.

Chickens make it a point to play. They enjoy chasing bugs, discovering a new plant, and hopping up on branches to enjoy their environment. It’s so important to remind ourselves to play to live a happy life. One way you can play is to do yoga, enjoy exercise, or simply relax.

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Healthy Living Lesson #5: Chickens have strong relationships with one another.

Chickens are social birds, and develop close-knit relationships with one another. After being together for just one week, chickens call to one another when are “accidentally” separated. Living healthy means having a strong network of support – from family or friends.

Healthy Living Lesson #6: Chickens have a cleaning schedule.

At 7:00 each night, my chickens spend 15 – 30 minutes preening their feathers. Regardless of the distractions, they take care of their own needs. When 7:00 hits, they stop what they were doing (no matter how fun or new or interesting) and focus on preening. Cleaning is important for your wellbeing, and it’s important to prioritize it even when distractions happen.

Healthy Living Lesson #7: Chickens are curious and creative.

Exploring their environment is something that chickens do all the time. Tonight, all three chickens were introduced to the veggie garden. Playing for the first time in the vegetable garden, they explored, scratched around, and chased after bugs. It reminds us to live healthy by getting outside, exploring a new place, and prioritizing creativity. Staying curious, and observing the world with fresh eyes is so important to a healthy life.

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What can your pets teach us about healthy living? Let us know in the comments!

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