It's spring at the moment, and as the season warms many people are getting chickens for the first time. They're keen enough to do the required legwork before bringing them home, but the truth is that most of them are going to be surprised at how much they love having them.
Not only are these birds physically lovely, with their fabulous feathers and colourful combs, but they are fascinating, moving from activity to activity, and often get passionate about what they're doing. They are intent on scratching up litter to find treats, grooming their gorgeous feathers and jostling for space on the perch. They are rapturous as they dust bathe. And because it is written in the ancestral chicken rule book that these birds are bound to follow, their behaviours are done in unison with their pals. Chickens are intensely social creatures.
I was once given a book called Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens. I understood it, straight away. A few minutes spent with your chickens is so soothing and grounding. That's when you realise that despite this plastic-coated, screen-filled world of convenience we live in, we are still thoroughly part of nature, and we need it.
That is the true gift of chickens. Plus the eggs of course.