Wings

Wings

If you follow my Facebook page, then you may have seen some photos and videos of a broody hen named Stella. We’ve raised chickens off and on for ten years now, and we’ve had many hens go broody, but they would start setting on a clutch of eggs only to abandon it halfway through. When hens get broody, they stop laying eggs, so in the interest of production that instinct has been bred out of them for the most part. Stella is the first to hatch out and care for a small brood of chicks, so it’s the first time I’ve had the treat of watching a mama hen’s instincts at work. So far she’s doing a great job and her chicks are doing very well. We’re still keeping them separated from the rest of the flock for the protection of the youngsters, so periodically I check on them and provide for their needs. I love watching the little chicks zip in and out from under mama, and listening to her reassuring clucks. It has caused me to contemplate the concept of “wings.”

Picture I took when I first discovered the newly hatched chicks.
For Sheltering
Newly hatched chicks are extremely susceptible to cold. A broody hen is very warm underneath, between 105 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit, so newly hatched chicks find the warmth they need beneath her wings. Were it to rain before their feathers had grown in, they would also be kept dry.
A chick peeks out from beneath Stella’s wing.

When I first discovered that some chicks had hatched, I went into the coop to check for any that might have fallen out of the raised nest box. Sure enough, I found a little white chick laying on the floor. I picked it up and it was cold and lifeless, yet I felt its heart beating. I held it in one of my hands while I went to get supplies for the new family. By the time I got back, it was starting to revive a little. After my husband helped me prepare a place and move them, I put the weak little chick up under its mother. When I returned a little later to check on them, it had revived and was getting around as well as the others.

Video of Stella and chicks

For Protecting
As soon as a hen gets broody, she becomes very defensive. When you get near her, she’ll fluff her feathers and growl. If you reach for her eggs, she’ll peck at you. That behavior continues once her chicks are hatched. Here is a video clip of that behavior:

Our hen, Stella, seemed to soften a little bit at that point, but she was still very protective of her chicks. If they had ventured away from her, she brought them back with a certain call, and they’d scurry back underneath her wings.

Stella keeping a watchful eye on me.
Our Heavenly Father

Many times in scripture, wings are used to describe God’s loving care of His people:

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7 New International Version)

“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psalm 57:1)

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4)

How reassuring it is to know that He watches over us and invites us to take shelter beneath His wings. Watching Stella with her babies has given me new appreciation for that analogy.

Motherhood
The term “wings” reminds me of myself, too, and my role as a mother. Even before my children were conceived, I was praying and preparing for them. As soon as they entered the world, my instincts kicked in. I remember well how protective I felt, and if I could have had a police escort, or perhaps an armored vehicle, when taking our babies home for the first time, I would have. When I took them out in public, I worried that someone might try to kidnap them, so I kept them very close, and if I had to look away from them, I kept a hand on them. That may sound paranoid, but we lived in a huge metropolitan area at the time. My children were (and still are) my treasures. Even now, with them full-grown, I always feel ready to protect them. I have to restrain myself sometimes and let them handle things theirselves, but inside, I still feel like Stella in these pictures. You can see that she’s watching me carefully.

Wings

For Flying
Our children are in the “fledgling” stage now. They’re trying their own wings and even as they fly further and further from the nest, they are always welcome back.

One spring, years ago, I heard a ruckus out front so I went to investigate. At the edge of our yard, by the woods, there were some Blue Jays in the trees. I’m at a loss at how to describe their calls, but they’re very loud and boisterous, much like an alarm. On the lawn I discovered a young Jay sitting in the grass, and the closer I got to it, the more frantic and loud the parents became. It was a fledgling that had tried its wings and had landed in the grass. From their perches, it’s parents were watching over it and encouraging it to try again. They were prepared to defend it from a cat, or me, if necessary.

That memory, which had been stored in the back of my mind, came to the forefront these recent years as first our son, and then our daughter, started trying their wings. My husband and I watch over them and encourage them from a distance. Sometimes their landings are rough and they get discouraged, so we try to boost their spirits and give them the courage to try again. With each attempt their wings become a little stronger. I’m still waiting to see where they will eventually carry them, and hope that it’s not too far away.

Wings
Mama Phoebe

Even as I write this, the front door is open, and from my chair where I’m writing I can see the bird feeders. I’m watching hummingbirds, blue jays, cardinals and others, flying to and fro. We have a large flood light mounted to the peak of our roof, and a mama Phoebe built a nest up there and is raising some chicks. When I’m in the front yard I can hear them up there clamoring for food, and I see mama flying to and from the nest, doing her best to fill those hungry mouths.


Empty Nests

Spring is when birds build their nests, raise their chicks and teach them how to fly. It’s also the season of graduations and marriages – young adults take wing and their parents join the ranks of empty nesters.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it.

Wings
Helpful Links
Mid-Life Blogger on Facebook
Related Reading


Comments

  1. Spring Lake Homestead

    It always surprises me a bit when I gain a new understanding of a saying such as “flew the coop” or “pecking order”…in the back of our minds, we know they come from somewhere, but give little thought to where they come from—wings being one of those analogies commonly used. And I can’t explain how many times I have come to know God better through my experiences as a mother, and even as a “farmer.” It is nearly impossible to understand the moves God makes sometimes unless you yourself are a parent, and again, it is nearly impossible to understand the analogies made in the Bible unless you farm or garden. Well said!

    1. Post
      Author
      mcurren527

      I’ve had the same experiences – “aha” moments while watching the chickens or other animals. There used to be a time when most people raised their own food, had their own chickens and other livestock, so the analogies that God used would have been easily understood. But that isn’t the case anymore. Still, knowing of something is different than experiencing it first-hand. I think that’s why I feel closer to God in the country, I’m surrounded by His creation and it continuously reminds me of Him.

  2. Cindy Richter

    Found you on Simple Homestead Blog Hop! So excited that I did. I’m a new blogger and will be an empty nester soon. I’m sooooo looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  3. Kathi

    Mama hens are sooo protective, and it’s a wonderful comparison to the Lord’s care of us. We strive to be like Him as we care for our own children, and the worry we experience about our own “chicks” makes me realize how much He cares for us too. I love your analogies in this post!

    1. Post
      Author
  4. Nikki G

    Hi Michelle! I am excited to make mid-life blogging friends. I do love the video of the chirping baby chicks. I miss the sounds of the farm. I grew up on a farm. And my grandfather/uncle down the road had even more animals than we did.
    Thanks so much for introducing yourself to me. And lets keep in touch.
    🙂 gwingal

    1. Post
      Author
      mcurren527

      I’d love to! I saw that we had some things in common so I just wanted to say hello. It’s always nice to meet another mid-life blogger.

  5. Janet Garman

    I enjoyed this post. Empty nest was one of the toughest seasons of motherhood and parenthood. I was never a hover mother and taught them to be self sufficient, cook, clean, etc. But the empty house was tougher than I expected! Things do work out and God gave me new paths to fill my days. I am loving this phase of life

    1. Post
      Author
  6. Pingback: Empty Nest ~ What's Next? ~ Mid-Life Blogger

  7. Pingback: Seasons of Parenting ~ Mid-Life Blogger

I'd love to hear what you have to say!