Walking to a kinder world
“These birds, they have seen the worst of humanity; now it’s time for them to feel the best,” were the words that ushered our team into the shed that imprisoned hundreds upon hundreds of sweet little Silkie chickens.
Walking past the cages already emptied, our footsteps halted by those that were not. And our work began. Caged to satisfy a human desire for the purported health benefits of the Silkie chicken’s black flesh and bones, the hapless birds had languished.
Alas, there were no health benefits for them.
A sweet little white rooster, with the reddest of combs, was in this number. Although once just a statistic, he is no more.
For he is now Chaplin.
So named because of the wobbly gait that had overtaken his normal one due to his poor state of health and that wretched wire floor. A floor designed for convenience and not comfort, that would repeatedly ensnare those long-overgrown toenails of his.
Exacerbating his woes was a total lack of exercise, mental stimulation and poor nutrition. All travesties that had been visited upon every one of those little feathered wonders in their human-induced predicament of despair.
And for Chaplin. The smallest bird in the cage he shared with his buddies, it was clear that not an equal share of the meagre rations had been his.
If his stilted gait was what first drew us to him, it was his quirky nature that was the second.
With an initial reluctance to eat, we thought the wee lad had given up on life. And honestly, who could not forgive him, or any of his companions, for doing so? For each day as the sun came up, her rays sneaking in, it was a cruel torment of a promise that was never meant to be fulfilled.
And a world they were never meant to feel.
But now they have. They most certainly have.
At first blush it appeared Chaplin was experiencing dire neurological symptoms that were going to stand in his way. Yet each day has seen him grow stronger and steadier, so fuelled by his appetite for food and the pursuit of that good life we promised.
All of which has kicked any notion of our concern to the kerb.
Watching the little fellow walk assuredly today, he paints vivid the transformative powers of kindness. And in doing so distils us with the wisdom that following this compass is what will walk us to a kinder world for all.
After a night so long it almost forgot to end, we caught some sleep, grabbed a snack and headed on our well-worn track to the barn.
There was no doubt that Berlin’s world was crumbling the day he and his three buddies were surrendered into our care.
With a haunting sadness in their eyes, Gracelyn and Elvira entered our world. And we theirs, as they searched their newfound digs for somewhere to land their gaze.
Lost in a world far, far bigger than himself was little Bahama. But then kindness found him.
Little Kokomo may have been down on his luck the day he was born, finding himself way down in a pile of mirky mud.
Words could not convey our shock when we went to our carpark to collect the little lamb we would soon name Bermuda, who was surrendered into our care after having been found the day before.
More than likely destined for backyard slaughter, the young Cedric ran for his life. And did so for several days in the off-leash dog park to which he had retreated.
Friend or freezer? Without even meeting the colourful chap we have named Tom Cruise, we knew the only role he should ever fill was the first.
At just one day old, teeny tiny Trapper John was diminutive in size yet formidable in impact, and everybody was talking about him.