Lessons from Norine, Cissie and Jessie

From left to right: Norine, Cissie and Jessie

Named after our grandmothers, Jessie, Cissie and Norine are our lovely hens. We did have a fourth chicken originally named Sybil but unfortunately she turned out to be Cyril and that’s another story.

Since they came to live with us in the middle of the year, the girls (as they are collectively known) have provided us with a great deal of pleasure and some delicious eggs. As I’ve watched them bimble about our garden, several aspects of their behaviour have caused me to stop and think. Here are some of the lessons our chickens have taught me:

Perseverance pays off

When food is at stake, Jessie never gives up. Whether it’s pecking through the hard skin of a squash to get at the soft flesh or refusing to let go of the worm until it stretches so much it then pops out of the ground like a champagne cork, Jessie will persevere until she gets the tasty snack she wants. There’s no rush, she just sticks at it.

Make the most of any opportunity

The girls have the run of our reasonably large garden. Once they are let out in the morning, they set off on an exploratory trek around their patch. They’ll follow us in the hope that we might give them a treat; they’ll go and scratch around on the patio to wheedle out the bugs in the grass between the paviours; if it’s a bit chilly, they’ll hop over the fence and enjoy the heat of our neighbour’s open compost heap. They never miss an opportunity.

Work can be fun

So what is ‘work’ for a chicken? I suppose it’s ensuring they have enough to eat and taking good care of themselves.

Taking care of themselves includes dust-bathing – the girls scrabble around in a dry patch of soil then basically roll around in it for a while before shaking themselves off and moving on to preening their feathers. They seem to luxuriate in this very social process, with all three of them scratching around together and preening each other. It’s clearly an important part of their ‘work’!

Whilst we give them a measure of feed each day, the chickens also have the run of the garden to seek out other sources of food. Running around after insects, leaping up to catch them and snaffling any fallen fruit they can lay their claws on may be work but it certainly looks like fun!

Rest is important

As the day draws to a close, the girls return to the run and as the light falls, they head into the henhouse. By the time we go up the garden to close the henhouse, they’ve found their favourite position on their roost and are snoozing away. When we open up the house in the morning, they’re raring to go and enjoy another day.

Those are just some of the lessons I’ve learnt from Norine, Cissie and Jessie which I’m trying to apply in my life.

Today’s pebble for you to consider:

Have you learnt anything from a surprising source?

Do let me know,


ps: as one of the lessons I’ve learnt from the girls is rest is important, I’m going to take a break from the computer and have myself a merry little Christmas! I’ll be back here again on 6 January.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas! M

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?


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