My sister and I set out today just to go to a festival. It was too loud and too much greasy food, so we ended up not staying long. Instead, we decided to go to the farmer’s market. We got there as a lot of vendors were packing up. We were just happy to be around the hustle and bustle but the vendors all had a long, hot day.
Down one of the aisles there were cages of chickens. I made a quip to one of the neighboring vendors that I was going to get a chicken for a pet. They were very amused by this and were animated by the thought of it. They were even amused that Simha, my dog, had no reaction to the chickens; whatsoever.
When I went over to look at the chickens, one was on his side. There was only straw in their water dish. They looked parched. One cage didn’t even have a water dish. I went over to tell the vendor and she acted as if she knew they were not being cared for but was afraid to say something to the owner of the chickens. She directed me to two men. I told the one about the chickens and he didn’t want to hear any of it. He cut me off and told me to talk to the other man. It was like everyone was afraid of this one owner of the chickens.
I started explaining to him that the chickens were thirsty and one was passed out. I had no animosity in my demeanor and spoke to him as if the chicken’s welfare was the highest priority. Because it was. I naturally expected him to meet me at that truth. He tried to argue with me a little but. But I just pleasantly led him over to the chickens to show him that they were indeed thirsty.
He started begrudgingly watering them but he took the drinking container from one cage to water the chickens in another cage. He was only going to water the one cage of chickens that I pointed out. But then when I got closer, I saw that many were incredibly thirsty. The cage of birds that he watered, could not get enough water and were going through what he gave them. There was a hen with a whole bunch of babies in the cage and they had no water either. Even the baby chicks looked distressed.
I stood there with the man as he watered the chickens himself. But his bucket of water was almost empty and he had little patience. He snapped at his son to finish watering them but the son was indifferent to their needs as well. The chickens were all paying attention. They knew I was advocating for them. The baby chicks took long deep drinks and then all settled underneath their mother. They were no longer in distress.
The cage of hens that had no container were aware that the other chickens got water. They were anxious that they wouldn’t get any. I could not leave them. The boy walked around in a half-hearted attempt to find containers for watering dishes. It was so frustrating to watch. So my sister and I went to the first vendor that was amused by our interest in the chickens and asked if they had a container. They suggested the table of dollar items. It seemed to be a part of the experience to pull as many people as possible into the care of the chickens. Our efforts was more than just watering the chickens that day, we were changing mind sets. We were breaking through consciousness that believed the chickens had no feelings or awareness.
My sister and I bought bowls to use as watering dishes. We took them back to the cages and showed them to the man who everyone was afraid of. Another worker came back from break and the boss half heartedly yelled at him for the chickens being thirsty. He ordered him to water them all but my sister used another approach. She asked the worker where does the water come from to water the chickens. There was a hose a ways away. She offered him five dollars to fill the bucket. He made a comment that, “either they get watered or not” but we ignored it as if it wasn’t our truth so there was no weight given to it at all.
It was so funny because during this, my sister took charge and started putting the new bowls in the cage and watering the chickens herself. SHE WENT IN THE CAGES. When the guy returned with the bucket, my sister payed him. He felt self-conscious about not doing his job but again, neither my sister or myself gave a hint of judgment or blame to him. We worked from the assumption that the chickens well-being was everybody’s main concern and that was the commonality that we unwaveringly assumed.
I explained to him that I had been locked up and treated poorly so I felt pain when I saw then chickens thirsty. I even was compelled to touch him on the arm as a thank you. Maybe physical contact was necessary to interject a sense of caring in regards for the chickens.
When I was supervising the watering of the chickens, a little girl of around twelve started studying me. I told her that the chickens told me how thirsty they were and I could not leave until they were feeling better. She told me she could tell how caring I was and that she talked to animals as well. It was a sweet exchange that reassured me that the consciousness of disregarding the chickens in an inhumane way is dying out.
My sister and I both realized that our desire to go to the public market was specifically to help the chickens and to raise awareness of their care. Of course we will follow-up with the humane society. But it is reassuring to know that the Universe entrusted us with this task and that we heeded the call to assist. So many people walked by the chickens that day. Maybe in the future, more people will recognize when they are thirsty and do something about it. Maybe in doing simple kindnesses, we can wipe out thirst of all kinds.