Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.
Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

My Life as a Momma Hen: Bedtime Ritual

Jasmine has been an absolute delight to have in the house, aside from the poop. She has gotten so big but still follows us around and cuddles when we watch TV. With all three of my children, I had a very special bedtime ritual I used to do with them when they were small. I would tuck them into bed, ask them about their day, ask what their intentions were for the next day, and then sing to them while they fell asleep. Similarly, I have a bedtime ritual for Jasmine.

I take Jasmine upstairs for bed at about 7:00 P.M. Our barnyard chickens go to bed with the sun, but because Jasmine is living in our house with artificial lighting until she is old enough to be in the barnyard, she goes to bed and wakes up a little later. When we are in my bedroom with the lights off, I hold her while she preens and grooms herself. She likes to groom her wing feathers, her chest, even her toes. When she is completely done preening she lies down in my hands or on my arm. I stroke her neck and back and she extends her neck as far as it will go and lays her head down on my shoulder. I pet her while she makes soft sounds and I tell her that I love her. Her “peep peeps” eventually slow until her eyes close, her body relaxes, and just as she drifts off to sleep she makes one last purring sound. She only makes this particular sound at bedtime just before she falls asleep and at no other time.

Once Jasmine is asleep, I very quietly and gently put her into the crate for the night which is on my bedside table right next to my bed so I can hear and see her while we sleep. Because I have dogs, I feel it is imperative for her to sleep in a crate so no one can get her during the night and she is absolutely safe and sound.

It has been challenging at times to have a baby chicken in my house: it is messy, she poops a lot, and I have to clean it up. Also, I have had to change my plans several times because I did not have a baby sitter and could not take her with me. However, getting to know how amazingly intelligent and affectionate she is has been such an honor and a privilege. She literally behaves like a feathered dog! Her language is so diverse and rich and I have learned it so I can completely understand her and her needs. I love her so much and I cherish this time together!
If you haven’t already, come visit her and see how amazing she is!

Written by Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn

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