Posted on Nov 20, 2015
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
When we first brought Jasmine home, I was with her for the first 4 weeks and she went with me wherever I went. She slept in bed with me, rode in the car with me, brought my daughter to dance class, and ran all my errands with me. She sat in my lap while I worked and followed me all around the house. She was never alone; we bonded and fell in love.
For the next 4 weeks Jasmine was with me most of the time, but every now and then I would have a babysitter come be with her if I went somewhere that I could not take her. She had the same care giver who she really liked and she got to play in the garden and explore the house.
For the next 4 weeks after that I started getting her used to the barnyard. She started making friends by spending a few hours in the barnyard with a volunteer keeping her safe. I taught my volunteers to follow her around and let her explore. When the other birds came to meet her I asked them to crouch down so that Jasmine could run underneath them or hide behind them if she needed to, just like she would if she had a chicken mom. They also could point at the ground at a small flower or seed and she would come running to them. The other chickens chased her off at first but soon accepted her as past of the family. The turkeys were obsessed with her and followed her around everywhere watching her every move. Eventually they accepted her as well.
Now that Jasmine is 12 weeks old she is starting to spend all day in the barnyard with a volunteer supervising her. She runs around with feathers in her beak, chases bugs, lays in the sun, rolls in the sand, and sloshes around in the pigs pool. She likes to jump up on the backs of the goats where its warm and soft, and the goats don't mind at all. She absolutely loves to be in the barnyard and has become quite confident and independent. When it's cold or she feels tired Jasmine jumps into the laps of my volunteers, crawls into their coats and takes a nap.
In the evenings Jasmine still comes into the house to cuddle and sleep. She has a big dinner, we watch TV and snuggle, and then at around 7 she goes to sleep. She sleeps in our bedroom and we have an extensive bedtime ritual. First, I hold her as she preens herself and stretches. Then, she quiets down and sits in my hands, puts her head and neck down on my shoulder and I pet her and tell her that I love her. She gets more and more sleepy until she closes her eyes and makes her sleepy sound. Its a very specific sound that she only makes right before she falls asleep. It sounds like a dove cooing. Finally, I put her down for the night and she sleeps soundly until morning.
Raising a chicken has been a wonderful adventure and getting to know, a blessing. I love being her mommy!
Written by Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn