The month of September is the month of chores for the poultry at the Genuine Faux Farm. Some years, we have had as many as six different flocks to care for at one time. This year, we have five: two broiler flocks, two laying hen flocks and one rafter (or flock) of turkeys.
Each morning, every flock requires some food, some water and an exodus from their safe, night-time housing. And every morning, magic occurs. And, I am the magician.
The chickens all equate my arrival with the magical appearance of food and water for the day in their containers. But, of course, with these events happening every day of their lives, some of the "smarter" birds are beginning to figure out some of the intermediate steps to the magics I work.
A few have, for example, figured out that I bring their feed in five gallon buckets AND some of them are big enough to look in and sneak a bite or two before I can get it dumped into their feeders. When they were smaller the food just kind of appeared in their feeders as they stood there avidly watching until the emptiness became something edible.
The broilers and young hens STILL stare at an empty waterer until, magically, there is water available for drinking.
Essentially, they see the farmer. The farmer makes food and water appear when they approach a feeder/waterer. Their focus is on the result and only the result and very few look up to see that the farmer is pouring that food or water from a bucket.
With a wave of my hand and a tilt of the bucket, there is sustenance! Magic!
Poultry aren't particularly an appreciative crowd as far as my magical performances are concerned. Yes, they eat and they drink. And the hens produce eggs and the broilers grow. But, honestly, all they really care about is that the water appears and the food appears. The farmer is merely a harbinger.
So, if you were wondering if there was a bigger point in here somewhere, here it is.
How often are we, as humans, caught looking at our food, or our water, as if it appeared by magic - whenever we need it? You turn on the faucet and there's your water. You sit down at a table, and there's your food. No thought to anything that brought it to being there for our benefit.
It just - appeared. Like magic.
And that's a problem. Because when we treat it like it was magic, there is rarely thought for gratitude for the processes, people, and living beings that brought these things to us. It makes us feel that there are no consequences for our consumption or considerations for others.
Even magic requires someone's efforts and skills. Even magic has its limits. And even magic can fail you.
Just ask the chickens who looked on in disbelief when I walked up to a feeder and then walked way and the feeder did not fill - because the bucket I carried was empty.