The Chicken Whisperer

Adding chickens to the mix here at the Cross-Dubya seemed an easy decision given the increased price of eggs and poultry in the past year. Of course, nothing is ever as easy as it seems. With the help of friends, research, preparing to bring home chicks, and learning how best to care for them was simple. Bringing them home was when the real work began. Ensuring they had medicated chick starter to eat, stayed warm, and cleaning their water twenty-seven times per day fell upon our friend Mr. John. As the Ranch Foreman, he’s our Director of Operations, which means he does most of the work each day. Like most things, Mr. John takes it all in stride, as he’s always looking for something to stay busy with.

As they grew, we busily prepared a more secure, permanent home for them. With donated tin from our friends and a few two-by-fours, John and I set about building a chicken coop to house the sixteen new additions to the ranch. Add to that, a couple of guinea fowl to serve as our security system (they’re noisy, and bossy, little birds) and the dogs and barn cats didn’t know what to think. With no egg production yet, we’re still in the negative on the balance sheet; but if you factor in the entertainment value as we watch them figure out how to escape the backyard next, it’s been a most profitable venture.

Our good-natured ranch foreman takes it all in stride. He’s greeted each morning with the sounds of the cows and calves calling one another, donkeys braying, and chickens staring at him through his bedroom window. As the roosters are just finding their voice, they sound like sick seals. Those peaceful mornings are about to change. What’s been most fun for Ms. Diane and me has been watching Mr. John care for the birds. As always, he is compassionate towards the animals and provides the highest levels of care. Our entertainment comes when we watch them gather into formation and follow his commands. If one can train chickens with military precision, Mr. John has proven to be The Pied Piper of Poultry. It’s comical to watch them follow him wherever he goes and try to sneak into his room when they think he’s not looking.

Our greatest fun is when he orders them around and chases them away from where they don’t belong. Mr. John talks to them much the way you would small children. As with all the animals (and humans) at the Cross-Dubya, His kindness, goodness, and patience are on full display. When I watch him interact with all the livestock and animals in his care, the words of Colossians 3:12 often come to mind.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies,
kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;

Christianity is less about how you present yourself and more about how you care for others. #ChristianLiving #SpiritualFruit Share on X

It seems Mr. John and his feathered friends communicate quite well with one another. He watches over them, and they seem to listen and respond to his every direction. Watching him walk around with his “Goldie” in his arms as he’s stroking her feathers and you can’t help but sense his gentle spirit.

Last week, Ms. Diane presented Mr. John with a certificate, naming him “The Chicken Whisperer.” He chuckled at the cute logo she created to adorn his certificate and took it all in stride. I wondered if he realized we weren’t teasing him but attesting to what we see in him. While I suspect Mr. John has always been a good man, it’s been a true blessing to watch how God is growing His fruit of the Spirit in John’s life. The Holy Spirit is refining and enhancing that which God created John to have.

Two overlooked fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are goodness and gentleness. As with all the listed spiritual fruit, something noteworthy about them is that they are not only what we say, but how we act. Goodness and gentleness are best displayed through our actions. Their purpose, it seems, is to benefit others. What better testimony can there be to show God’s presence in your life than this?

When I think about the fruit of goodness, Psalm 37:3 comes to mind; “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” If you want to see goodness in action, watch someone to see the little things they do each day to help make someone else’s life easier. The verse I think of to describe gentleness is Philippians 4:5; “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”

This week, join me in considering how we show the fruit of the Spirit through our daily lives. Are you a “Chicken Whisperer” like Mr. John, or does your life resemble a megaphone? God can use both, I’m living proof of that truth.

God’s blessings,

50 thoughts on “The Chicken Whisperer”

  1. I smiled all the way through this post and chuckled a couple of times as well.
    As always, your application of God’s Word gives food for thought.
    Mr. John must be a special person. I’m so glad he’s there for you.
    God bless you all at the Cross Dubya!

    1. Mr. John brings lots of smiles and chuckles into my life too Ms. Connie. Am so glad you enjoyed the post ma’am. And yes, Mr. John has been a godsend for me and the Cross-Dubya. I am leaving the ranch and my family in great hands next week, and there’s an incredible peace that comes from that. God’s blessings to you and your family also ma’am.

  2. Connie smiled but I laughed out loud. My next door neighbors had 5 chickens (I say had because they gave them away) that gave them a real run for their money. Every one of them was an escape artist. Mr. John is indeed a chicken whisperer. My Mr. T is a bird whisperer. Wild birds do his bidding. They often fly into our house, and he captures them with a gentle hand and takes them back outside. He’s had hummingbirds sit on his hand, taking a rest. It amazes me.
    See you at the BRMCWC!

    1. 😀 I’m glad Ms. Ane. I’d love to meet your Mr. T one day as he sounds like someone I would enjoy chatting with and learning from. It never ceases to amaze me to see how different people react around animals. Mr. John, for example, is slow and easy, relaxed, and soft-spoken. The animals seem to take their cue from his emotions and they generally respond in kind. Conversely, Mr. John seems to be able to read them and when he senses that one is in distress, sick, or needs help, he reacts accordingly. It’s a real blessing to have him here to help care for the Cross-Dubya. See you soon ma’am. Am so looking forward to meeting you and seeing if the dramatic flair that I’ve long suspected is as real as I imagine.

    1. Aww shucks; thanks my friend. It’s when we’re not afraid to share God’s love with one another and all of His creation, that we can really shine His light into the lives of those around us as it spills over into the world. God’s blessings sir.

    1. I think perhaps the one person I’m looking most forward to meeting for the first time, is you my encouraging friend. What a blessing you’ve been to me in this writing journey, and I can’t wait to buy you that cuppa I’ve owed you for these past four years. Thank you and God’s blessings and mercies as you and Mr. Brian travel ma’am.

  3. What a great visual you paint of those chickens and Mr. John. “The Pied Piper of Poultry” had me rolling on the floor. What joy you and Miss Diane find on that ranch of yours!

    Thanks for the entertainment and godly message.

    1. Glad you found the humor in my post Ms. Candyce. 🙂 More pleased that you found godly advice that we can all use more of in our lives. And yes ma’am, for all its challenges (more for some than others), we do indeed find great joy here. Thank you ma’am.

  4. Another wonderful, uplifting post my friend. I would have to say I do a little of both – whispering and using a megaphone at times – but I pray God is pleased and uses it all for our good and His glory.

    1. I’m with you Ms. Ann. While I do my best to speak softly and exhibit gentleness, I recognize that God gave me a mouth and a command presence for a reason. I’ve been known to use what Ms. Diane refers to as my “Military Voice” at times as I take control and bark out commands to get things back on track. Not always a trait I exhibit well I’m afraid. Like you, I pray God can use all of what we offer in His name. I have to remind myself that He made me to be the way He wanted me to be, so there must be some purpose for it. Sometimes, I think it’s only to teach me to not be that way but become who He wants to transform me to be. What a powerful testimony that will become when He’s finished. God’s blessings ma’am.

  5. I loved this post! Mr. John sounds like a man we all want and need to meet! “Goodness and gentleness are best displayed through our actions. Their purpose, it seems, is to benefit others.” I so appreciate that you share your ranch fun, but more so, that through your ranch you bring the best lessons for us all to learn how to live like Jesus! Blessings!

    1. How very true Ms. Joanne. I’m certain that when you meet him in heaven, if not before, he’s going to smile shyly, lower his head in an “aww shucks” moment and greet you with kindness and grace. If I’ve learned nothing about Mr. John in this past year or so, it’s that he is a “good man” and one who is worthy of our time and energy to get to know.

    1. I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing Ms. Dottie. God wants us to smile often my friend. Thank you so much for visiting the Cross-Dubya this week ma’am. Always love your visits.

  6. It is amazing what we can learn from God’s creation whether plants or animals. Mr. John sounds like a true blessing to your ranch. Prayers to all of you for continued growth and safety and that the fruit of the Spirit can be displayed in all of us.

  7. “Chicken Whisperer”?? Wow, J.D., Mrs. Diane deserves a special omelet for creativity like that, and you get one for the way you connected Mr. John’s care for the chickens with a couple of sorely needed attributes of God’s Holy Spirit. We don’t need more reminders of how selfish, arrogant, narcissistic, angry, and abrasive the culture around us has come to be. The thing that was most intriguing to me, in addition to your characteristic skill in describing Mr. John’s behavior and attitude, was the way the chickens responded to his kind and gentle handling of them. I thought, “Wow, even a chicken wants to be closer when they get a caress instead of a boot kicking them out of the way.”
    Because I’m the husband, I got to take something back to Costco the other day. Apparently the fine print on the back of the marriage license designated that the wife gets to buy stuff and the husband gets to take it back, especially in cases when the receipt has long since disappeared. Anyhow, the store was incredibly crowded and the line at the return counter was long. When it was my turn, I expected a “Let’s just get this disagreeable thing done.” kind of attitude. But the young woman tasked with helping me was the opposite of all that. She was smiling, friendly, and unexpectedly pleasant. It was like she was thoroughly enjoying helping me get this mundane, potentially irritating job done. Afterward, I told her that she had made the world feel so much better for those few minutes. It cost her nothing, but the value it added was priceless. I thought about how much better the world is that your chickens live in because of Mr. John’s treatment of them. And now, that same encouraging and uplifting atmosphere has made it all the way to Middle Tennessee and to all those other places where the “Chicken Whisperer” story has gone. What a blessing you have once again delivered, Brother. We don’t have chickens, but if we did, I’d run out and hug one.

    1. Amen Mr. Ron. My Ms. Diane has all the creativity in this house. And yes, all the animals respond to Mr. John in the same way because he consistently shows that same care, compassion, and gentleness to them. In Mr. John’s eyes, caring for the Cross-Dubya and all its inhabitants (to include me and “Ms. D” as he affectionately calls her) is his blessing. And you’re right sir, when kindness, gentleness, and goodness, which are most certainly sorely lacking in this world today, are seen, we recognize how different and “out of place” it seems. I too am the “Official Returner of All Things” here, and am often blown away to find actual customer service these days. When it’s delivered with kindness, I am overwhelmed and walk away praising God for His presence in the exchange. I so enjoyed your comments and your visit to last evening, and I hope you’ll return soon. Always a blessing to sit and listen to your wisdom and heart for God my friend. Blessings to you and yours.

  8. Seeing Mr. John as the “Chicken Whisperer” brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye, J. D. People who take the time to be gentle and loving toward the “least of these” always plucks my heart strings. His story also brought back fond memories of my Uncle Harris, who kept a farm with horses and chickens. He had that special gift of being able to communicate with his animals without saying a word. That phenomena is something I will always remember and cherish about him.
    Blessings to you, Diane and Mr. John!

    1. Sounds like I will truly enjoy meeting your Uncle Harris one day Ms. Martha. Be sure to introduce us please. Mr. John is a wonderful blessing and what an honor it is to pour into him as he teaches me more than I do him, I think.

  9. Love this post! Even though I’m sure it’s hard work, you make life on the farm sound so enjoyable!

    Blessings to you, Miss Diane, and Mr. John!

    Edwina, bonafide City Girl

    1. Thank you Ms. Edwina. My wife Diane is quick to remind me that she too is/was a “city girl”, but she’s taken to this country life pretty well. Well, except for that part about “real shopping” being inconvenient. 🙂 She’s found Amazon though, and trust me, they are happy she has. Thank you for your always encouraging comments ma’am. You exhibit lots of kindness and grace yourself.

  10. When I was little, our next door neighbor let us feed her chickens–and they came and pecked at my feet. I’ve always been a little afraid of chickens since. 🙂 That fear might have been prevented with a little explanation and preparation beforehand. It sounds like Mr. John would have been the kind of person to do the best for his young human visitor as well as his feathery charges.

    I hope the chicken experiment goes well! There’s nothing like truly fresh eggs.

    1. Am sorry to hear that Ms. Barbara, but we know that fears from childhood can be overcome. You ever get to Texas, Mr. John and I will be happy to show you all around the Cross-Dubya and you’ll be friends with all the animals real soon too. God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. As always, J.D., I had a few good chuckles mixed in with the spiritual truth you draw from the Dross-Dubya. The Pied Piper of Poultry may be my favorite line. I especially like what you said about goodness. You need to watch over time, and that fruit will be revealed–or not. Thanks for another great post.

    1. So glad I could bring a smile this week Ms. Annie. As I was reading your book, “From Ignorance to Bliss”, I saw many of those same traits being exhibited by both you and your fabulous daughter ma’am. Thank you so much for all your encouragement.

  12. One year when our kids were young we got them a baby duck and a baby chicken. We learned so much from them. The duckling followed my son like he was her mother. I can just picture your brood following Mr. John. Lovely story of gentleness.

    1. Thank you Ms. Debbie. It’s funny to see them peering through his window each morning when he awakens and to watch them pecking on his door in the afternoon for another snack of mealworms. LOL Glad you enjoyed the post ma’am.

  13. Mr. John is truly a gem! Animals know if people are kind and loving, and these chickens attest to that. People are the same, and my daughter Meg has the gift of kindness, goodness, and gentleness. She first learned it as a teacher who took care of three special ed students at lunch and recess everyday. Now she puts her skills to work here at home, helping me care for her grandmother who has dementia. Whenever my mother sees Meg coming, she grins ear-to-ear and reaches out to her to get a hug and a kiss. She always claims she loves that girl who takes care of her, even when she forgets Meg is her granddaughter. I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful daughter, much like your Mr. John. Blessings, dear brother!

    1. Yes ma’am, they most certainly do recognize our true character ma’am. I’ve not yet met you and your family, but I sure look forward to that opportunity when God presents it. Your mama reminds me of my dad in so many ways. To see them smile as we approach or we call out their name. Oh, how that touches my heartstrings. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

  14. Mr. John sounds like a treasure and I know you’re feeling the blessing of having him as part of the Cross-Dubya family. But you, sir, are the role model and mentor for those traits you describe as Mr. John’s “fruits” and we’ve all benefitted from your example. It seems the Cross-Dubya family members all are a blessing to each other and that is as it should be. Thank you for this message to brighten our day.

    1. Thank you for your kindness and blessing Ms. Katherine. I’ve often called you the “Queen of Kindness” and again you demonstrate why. And you’re so right ma’am. That’s exactly what we are created to do ma’am, be a blessing to one another. If we all did a little more of that, what a difference the world would be. Blessings precious sister.

  15. Loved this post! Thankful for the example of Mr. John, and I think Chicken Whisperer sounds like an honor! Thanks J.D. for showing us Col. 3:12 through this delightful post.

  16. Yvonne Morgan

    Another great post my friend. One of our children just bought a new house with land. The neighbors have chickens that come to visit. So recently, I’ve learned more about them. But I’m certainly no chicken whisperer.

    I do hope my spiritual fruits are visible so the Lord can shine through me. Blessings my friend

    1. I’m right there with you Ms. Yvonne. I pray that others see Christ through the fruits of the Spirit He has blessed my life with. Enjoy those chickens ma’am. Hope, for your sake, the neighbors aren’t too close in case they too bring guinea fowl home. Alarm systems with feathers and feet! LOL Pray the kids enjoy their new home.

  17. I “cracked up” when I read Ms. Diane’s sweet label for Mr. John. What a wonderful example he is for each of us! Thank you for the encouragement today, J.D.

    Blessings to each of you,

    1. Thank you Ms. Tammy. Yes, I love the way Ms. Diane’s creative mind works. She’s a blessing and a half. Mr. John is indeed a great example of what God can do with a life surrendered to Him my friend. One day, I’ll gladly share his story.

  18. J.D., this is such a fun and great blog post. I love everything including “The Chicken Whisperer” and how bossy the new chickens are, and of course how the roosters sound like sick seals. lol. Too cute and funny! Mr. John sounds like a real trooper.

    Agree 100% with you on goodness and gentleness often being overlooked fruit of the Spirit. How sad, since they are both such important qualities for the committed followers of Jesus. And I think they help the other fruit operate at their best.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. I’m always amazed at how one spiritual fruit supports others. I think by design. Life here on the Cross-Dubya certainly has its share of moments. Some, like our chickens make us laugh and enjoy their antics. Others, like coyote attacks, injuring, and problem births can be overwhelming. We are so glad that Christ keeps us centered, bringing us always to Him in good times and troubling. God’s blessings my gentle and kind friend.

  19. The chicken whisperer–I love it! Thanks for these insights on the need to show gentleness and goodness in our lives. I know I need that !

    1. Appreciate that Ms. Kathy. I think we all need a reminder to share the gentleness and goodness that God expresses for us. Let us each learn better to allow Him to express it through us. God’s blessings ma’am.

  20. Well, I’m not at all surprised with all the chickens homeowners are now raising. Why wouldn’t the Cross Dubya join the club? Sounds like Mr. John has risen to the task quite well. Can’t wait for eggs to start being laid. That was one of my favorite tasks when I visited a dude ranch though I felt a little guilty for grabbing a mama’s babies. Caring for God’s creatures are your specialty. I say the more creatures, the better when at the Cross Dubya.

    1. Thanks Ms. Karen. I was just in the workshop and when I came out Mr. John’s chicken, “Goldie”, came up to me begging to be picked up. Mr. John is off today and he often carries her around with him. I did the same for a few moments and then placed her back into the backyard with all her chicken friends. The roosters have started chasing the girls, so it’s an interesting time. Eggs won’t be too much longer. We’re preparing the nesting boxes next week.

    1. J.D. WIninger

      Then my job here is complete. Smiles are always the best reward. Glad you enjoyed Ms. LuAnn. Thank you!

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