•Can we really learn lessons from chickens? I mean, they’re pretty stupid, right? They don’t even know not to poop in their own water. But hanging out with my birds yesterday, I observed some behaviors that help make them a successful species. They thrive everywhere, and they can teach us a couple of tricks.
Chickens do things that are easy.
Sounds like a no-brainer, but I bet if you looked at all of the things you do every day, you will see how hard you make things sometimes. My birds go for easy first. A little bit about how birds eat: they don’t have teeth and they don’t have hands. The easiest thing is to eat out of my hand, tearing off bite sized chunks. If they bite off a piece that they can’t easily swallow, they will drop it on the ground and try again.
A real life example from my own experience is how I began drinking more water. It is a fact that the easier you make good habits, the more likely you are to stick to them. It’s just human nature to do the easy thing. I put my water jug and a glass at my desk and now drinking water is effortless. Almost. I still don’t like the way it tastes, but at least it’s easy.
Another example is my garden. It’s not much of a garden, admittedly, but we do grow a few tomatoes every year and that is ok for right now. I am a busy person who has lots of stuff to do, and I also have a list of dream projects a mile long, one being a vegetable garden. Unfortunately, I habitually forget to water my garden and then it dies and I am sad. But I never forget to water my pets, so I put my garden where I fill the chicken waterer and bam, plants get watered. So easy.
Chickens are efficient. They start with eating the easiest food first, from my hand, then they quickly eat up the bite sized pieces that fall on the ground, avoiding the ones that are too large. They will also peck food right out of their flock mates’ beaks. Very efficient.
My gardening system is also efficient. I am doing two tasks at once. Normally multitasking is very inefficient because in most cases, you really can’t do more than one thing at a time and do them very well. But for my garden/pet watering, it is perfect.
Another example of efficiency is batch processing tasks. If I am going to make a bracelet, I might as well make 5 bracelets. It takes a tiny bit longer per step, but the total time spent is way less than making 5 bracelets, one at a time.
Chickens are NOT effective. They fail on this third “E”, for reasons that are unclear to me. If a chicken wants to eat a piece of food that is too big to swallow, its only option is to peck at it and shake its head around until a bite sized chunk tears off. I find this very frustrating. Why don’t they just stand on the food in question and tear bits off? I haven’t been able to train my birds to do this, so I just watch and wonder. Even my dogs know to step on their food dish to hold it into place, making it easy and effective.
My garden is effective because I never forget to water my plants and therefore they grow. Imagine that! I think I am going to ramp the garden up a little bit this year and actually put in a raised bed using this “3E” system. Because results.
If you are experiencing productivity issues, maybe run your process through this “Triple E” check. Maybe you can make a couple tweaks to improve ease, efficiency & effectiveness of your process. If you have any tips you’d like to share, please post in the comments below!!