Now that you have gotten to know my 3 backyard freebirds, let me explain what has happened this week.
The backyard parable begins………….. now
Our three new ladies arrive Monday afternoon. Very beautiful and healthy ladies. They were not freebirds, so our lifestyle is extremely new to them. I had made a chicken tractor (which is a mobile device to allow chickens to be moved from play to play) years ago and that was the temporary new home till the adjustment period was done. Madam A and I made a temporary rost-board for them with 2 cinder blocks and a short landscape timber. As myself and the kiddos hung out with them we made sure to stay close. My freebirds should show dominance. The new nameless ladies scratch and peck at the new bright green home with a great amount of chatter and excitement.
Wing clipped, I decide to let them roam for a little while. Let’s see how this plays out. And what I observed is what I observe while surveying my surroundings: the 3 new girls stayed together and the 3 freebirds stayed together. At a distance as well. For the next hour or so there was no introducing themselves to each other. As I watched them clump together and stand apart I thought of how we act, how our young people act. And I thought of her. Her story and the impact one probably made in her life that would mold her as a decent of Christ…
I was disappointed in my freebirds. I shouldn’t have been, but I was. They know what it is like to be brought into a new place. New territory, new rules, and to have to dwell with big dogs that by God’s creation, are supposed to hunt and retrieve a species as them but instead, those dogs take naps with them and share their dinner whether or not they really want to share.
Fluffy, she not one time looked at them. She didn’t try to approach them. If fact, she at one point, walked past them as if they weren’t even there.
“Come on, Miss T. Introduce yourself. Be a lady,” I said to T as she finally broke the whispering in the yard. She should have shown dominance. Fluffed up big and let the girls know she was the head chicken. It’s not to be mean and it would counter the entire story to say that is what we should do, but they are chickens. Instead, the older of the new girls charged Miss T and fluffed big and strong. Miss T retreated behind me for reassurance. One of the new girls noticed T’s gentleness but stayed where she was.
“Really?? You let the new bird dominant you?!?!” She muttered under her breathe something like “Who are they? What are they doing here? I tried and they were rude to me.” as she went back to report to the other 2 what she had encountered. Yeah, that sounds like us humans.
We put the new ladies in their temporary coop for the night, secured them for safety and went in for the night.
Tuesday and Wednesday went as what I expected. Segregation in the backyard. The new girls must not have been totally stressed out because they each laid an egg on their temporary coop ground.
Dooey, following me as she always does saw the new brown eggs laying on the ground. She began her chatter to me and I know what she would have said if she could talk human:“Eww!!! Their eggs are dirty!!! Don’t they know better?! How uncivilized!!! We free range all day long and we know better.How gross! I can’t wait to tell T and Fluff about this.”
“Dooey, they are new. They didn’t sleep with y’all in the coop. They don’t know the rules and how we live. They don’t know where the nesting boxes are. Be kind and compassionate: it will happen. ” I told her. Yes, I did talk to her. She listens. Honest.
As she ran off I knew what she was telling the other freebirds: “Sisters! You won’t believe what I just saw! Those girls! They lay their eggs on the ground! How embarrassing! And the gossip chatter among them increase for a short burst.
Thursday, Sir M and I decided to have a morning basket meeting with the chickens. I scrabbled about a dozen eggs and with his reader in one hand and a dollar tree water gun in the other, we made our way out to the coop. In our fold up lawn chairs, I hand fed the dogs, and all six chickens to force them to get close. I knew I need to nip this behavior between them all because the aggressive new girl even fluffed at Biscuit, who is about 90 pounds, making him retreat behind me. “Dude!!! Seriously?! YOU ARE A HUNTING DOG!!! You are bigger than her! What is wrong with you?!?!” as he nuzzled his gigantic gentle head behind my knees peeking at these new birds.
“I promise, y’all. I it won’t kill you to meet and greet. We will get past this. Like it or not: we are family and y’all will get along. Understood?” They continued eat but yet even the dogs grabbed a piece of warm egg from my hand and walked away to eat it.
Did I have to squirt the aggressive new girl? Yes I did. Did it hurt her? NO IT DID NOT. Do you discipline your children? or animals? She will learn one way or another that behavior is unacceptable in this family.
Sometimes, changes will hurt. But it is a must. Comfort zones are an excuse for unacceptable behavior and laziness.
Thursday morning, most of the girls take a turn going into the coop to use the nesting box. One new girl laid her egg on the ground again and Dooey wasn’t happy. Again. We are making progress. Tonight is the night. Everyone, whether they like it or not, will get to know each other.
Thursday evening, after dinner we went out to put all six to bed. In the same coop. Armed with a few water guns, we went out to complete our mission. After the freebirds claimed their spot on the roost, Madam A scooped up the new girls one by one and placed them in the runner that is attached to the coop. Slowly each jumped on the ladder and we slowly pulled the door closed to push them in and opened it again to get another one in. And another. The aggressor was the hardest to get on the board. She did not want to jump. Did she get wet? Yes, she did. Finally, she saw one of her sisters had squated down on the roster board as to say this was very comfortable and she surrendered and perched. We closed the door and went in for the evening.
This morning, I haven’t observed any wounds or fighting. They will get through this.
Joshua 6:25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
My favorite story in the Bible is the story of Rahab. Not only my favorite story, but she is hands down my biblical hero. Her story is in the written word is very short, mostly found in Joshua 2 and 6. Her name is spoken in just a few chapters spread out from the Old Testament to New Testament, but her impact was huge. Gotta read carefully: You will miss it if your not pay attention. A harlot who becomes a princess, the mother of Boaz, is the great great grandmother to King David which puts her in the direct blood line to the King of Kings: Jesus Christ. A harlot in the Chapter of Champions. A harlot. The woman who professed by a statement of faith that the God of Israel was the only true God, was saved by faith.
Joshua 2:11b … for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
It’s the story that isn’t written that makes me think of cliques and how we as women can destroy or uplift each other. It honestly, breaks my heart every time this lesson in life is laid on my heart.
When the rumble cleared, the dust and debris began to settle, there stood a family of sinners who will become children of Israel. There stood a dirty woman, in the present and of the body. Her occupation was less than lady-like and to the women of Israel she didn’t look, smell, or act like a lady. She wasn’t one of them. She was completely flithy inside and out. Those women, they had a choice to make. Do they march past her as if she wasn’t there? Do they mock her and chatter about her quirks behind her back? Or, do they softly attempt to take her under their wings and mold the woman who would be a decent in the ultimate royal family?
They probably heard the story from the spies about her. How she knew all about the Israelite people and how God had lead them and the battles won, kingdoms conquered and destroyed. How she hide them and stared a soldier in the face and lied to him to save them. How she lowered them out the window so they could retreat to safety and then return to Joshua. She was no sissy. She was tough and rough around the edges. She had little fear because for at least 10-14 days she and her the fate of her family laid in the promise of the scarlet chord that hung in her window. They knew that this strange woman would dwell among them forever.
That new lady in lady’s study, the new kid in school, your new neighbor, or the new teen in youth group: how will you treat them? Will you chatter behind their backs? Ignore them and isolate yourself to stay in your comfort zone? Or will you love on them and make them feel welcome even if they reject you? Could that young lady who doesn’t dress or act like your standards be your biggest allied and closest friend? Could your influence help mold a future princess? Could your kindness be the gentle touch a lost soul needs to seek salvation in Jesus? Could your friendship keep a wayward teen out of the hands of Satan and in the arms of Jesus because she has a save place to dwell in fellowship with you and others that is not in the world? Could you be that friend to help a weary Mama out?
But by faith….. what will you do?
Hebrew 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
There are women that probably endured this challenge in the bible. The next name that comes to mind is Ruth.
Spoiler alert: she becomes Rahab’s daughter-in-law.