We returned from vacation, a couple of weeks ago, to discover seven new additions to our barnyard fowl.
The baby chicks are so cute, running around! Mama Hen, who was previously quite calm-natured, has suddenly become super-protective.
And the father, Sammy the Game Cock…oh my! We thought he was protective before…now he is in hyper-vigilance mode! He sometimes starts pecking at my fingers when I reach to unlock the gate.
Sherri and I discussed whether we should put the chicks up at night, to keep them safe from owls. I was convinced that between Mama Hen and Sammy, the hatchlings would be about as safe as anything could keep them, in this world.
Each evening, at dusk, Sammy goes inside the little A-frame building and starts his special calming cluck. Moments later, Mama Hen starts moving toward the entrance, clucking to the chicks to follow. They all huddle together in the back of the A-frame, chicks safely beneath Mama Hen’s wings, and Sammy guarding the entrance.
So far, all the chicks have survived every night. Not a single chick has been lost to a night owl.
And yet…we are down to five chicks! Two chicks have gone missing, but not at night. Which can only mean they were lost during daylight hours.
It’s possible that a hawk or snake may have snatched them. Possible, but doubtful. Between Sammy, Mama Hen, our goose, and the goat, our barnyard is an intimidating place to enter during the day. Even I often carry a rake into the barnyard to keep over-protective animals at a distance. I have trouble imagining a wild animal risking all that hyper-protection during daylight hours.
We have, however, seen chicks outside the fence on a few occasions. Although well fenced in, there are a few areas, in tight corners, or near the gate, where a small enough chick, with enough determination, can squeeze under.
The world outside that fence is quite different from the world within. Sammy and Mama Hen cannot protect a chick outside the fence. Our dogs, who would love a chicken snack, are kept outside the barnyard by the fence. We also see racoons, opossums, foxes, bobcats, and other predators around. The world outside the fence is not a safe place for a young chick!
So, why have some of the chicks worked so hard to find a way past the boundary of the fence? What is it that compels them to view the fence, not as a protective barrier to keep danger out, but as a limiting barrier to prevent going where they please?
In a couple more weeks, the chicks will be too big to squeeze under any spots in the fence, and in time they will learn to understand the fence keeps danger out.
Perhaps part of maturing is learning to understand the purpose of boundaries.
…sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:7, b)
For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. (Psalm 63:7)