Friend: "How many chickens do you have now?"
Me: "Let's not worry about that..."
Afterall, how many chickens is too many chickens?
Amongst the homesteading community, there is a common, widely relatable fear of judgement that keeps coming to light.... A comment of concern was recently posted in one of the online chicken groups I follow:
"I am the first one in my family to ever own chickens and also the first in my husband's family also. I hear criticism on both sides. How do I explain that they're healthy eggs and the benefits behind all of the wonderful things? I know it shouldn't matter but it bothers me."
-Author left unnamed for their sanity :-)
Within a couple of hours, the comments began to explode. People could relate - they shared their stories, and how they dealt with the situation. I was awed because there have been moments where I have heard the same sound of concern in voices of others. I, too, had not realized how many other folks had wrangled with the same emotions, so I am grateful the issue bubbled up.
One of the most impressionable comments I read, noted that we are "JADEing" ourselves in regards to standing up for our homesteads. JADEing means:
J - Justify
A - Argue
D - Defend
E - Explain
I had never heard this before, but I found it so fitting!
You don't HAVE to explain yourself, or justify why you'd rather have freshly laid eggs. You don't NEED to argue that free range eggs, or pasture raised pigs, have more health benefits than those of the store-bought varieties. Defending your hobbies, health, and happiness is uncessecary.
Do what makes YOU happy. Everyone else doesn't have to understand. You can educate them, but ultimately you have to do what you want to do - you only get so many chances in life to do so!
On that same note, can we all be a little kinder to one another? So what if one person wants chickens and another one doesn't? No one is forcing them upon you! Can we just appreciate that someone wants chickens (or cows, or goats, or honey bees)? Imagine if no one did - where would all the eggs be then? Let's all just appreciate our differences for a change, okay? We all need a little balance and it takes all kinds to make the world go round, folks!
- End Rant -
So, the next time someone asks me how many chickens I have, I'm going to try to tell them proudly, and not let the chicken shaming cloud my better judgement.
Especially when the numbers are really outside of my control, due to chicken math....
What is chicken math you say? Well let me lay it down....
*This can also quickly escalate to pigs, horses, goats, cows, and any other agricultural critter deemed necessary.
In time, those around you may bear witness to the benefits of your homestead and may change their tune. Until that time, do what makes you happy, and change things up when you want to - variety is the spice of life, afterall.