Most of us find comfort in routines. We find ourselves almost on auto-pilot as we go through our daily rituals, whatever they may be. Routines are predictable and bring a gentle calmness to our day. Animals, like people, find comfort in routine. In the morning, all of the animals know approximately what time I show up with hay and water in hand. If I am late arriving, they stand at their fence line or cages waiting and watching, as if to hurry me along. The longer they stand, the more they pace and call out as if scolding me for ruining their morning routine.
|Three Hens…One Nest|
Hens, in particular, have their morning ritual of finding the perfect place to sit to lay their eggs. They do not need to wait for me before they can begin their routine. Several hens have learned how to escape the chicken coop. This opens up a whole new realm of egg laying nooks in the barn, and simply adds to my daily chores. I must hunt for the new nesting locations. For several weeks now, several hens have enjoyed using a little corner in the main part of the barn for their nest. We partition it off with a panel during lambing season. The lambs enjoy piling into the corner to get away from their moms and take a peaceful nap without worry of getting under foot of a large ewe.
|“My beautiful egg has arrived!”|
This morning I arrived a little early to the barn and watched three hens as they vied for the corner nest. Eventually, all three hens sat nearly on top of one another. As one laid her egg, another hen would quickly tuck the egg under her own wing to keep it warm while she continued sitting. Then, the hen who had just laid the egg jumped to the railing announcing the arrival of her beautiful egg. I imagine this little scenario has become their morning routine. By the time I had completed all the other chores, three wonderful eggs lay in the hay. One hen lingered on the railing, another on the nest, and the third ventured off in search of something to eat.
|Leisel Looks for Her Treat|
Leisel, our German angora bunny, has gotten accustomed to her own little routine. In the morning, I pull a table over to Leisel’s cage so that she can hop out onto it. She seems to enjoy hopping around while I go about feeding the bunnies and cleaning cages. She waits for me to put her little “treat” of sunflower seeds and oats out for her to eat. She lets me pet her as she sniffs around and eats. One morning my daughter did the morning chores. She was unaware of Leisel’s little ceremony with the table. My daughter came back in the house saying what a bad mood she had been in, proving the point that even the bunnies depend upon predictability of morning routines to bring peace to their day.