Discouraged, I had been wailing to Bigstreetrod: “Why aren’t we getting any eggs? Everyone is getting eggs. Why aren’t our chickens laying? What is wrong? Could it be their feed?” I tend to think everything is because I’m doing my own feed.
We researched and found conflicting advice. People said eggs would come in 19 weeks; people said it would take 5 to 8 months. Our chickens were nearing six months old, and nothing yet. I kept looking and looking in the laying boxes and under bushes, and returning to the house with the slumped shoulders of disappointment.
Then I remembered what I had been told about a radio in the coop. I had been assured by several sources with farm experience: “Keep a radio going in the coop and chickens will produce abundantly.”
Did you know you can no longer buy a small portable radio? I’m talking about one of those boxy kind with a handle so you can hang it up. It’s all iPods and such now. I was then wailing at how I could not find a simple radio. Bigstreetrod, likely wanting to shut me up, brought home a small clock radio. It fit perfectly on a board high up in the coop. I turned it face-out so that the chickens could not see the glowing red digital numbers. I was afraid it would drive them crazy trying to fly up and peck at it. I tuned it to a today’s Best country out of Mississippi, figuring chickens would prefer that type of music. The sound from that teeny-tiny speaker was an amazement.
That evening, when I let them out to roam the yard, I discovered that sometime in the hours after the radio installation, one of the dear girls had thrown the blue plastic egg from a laying box and deposited this small but beautiful jewel in its place!
This all reminds me of my early years of writing novels. Back then, it was my habit to play music as I wrote. My favorite, very naturally, was country music. It helped to put me into the setting of my story. In fact, I’ve gotten a lot of themes for my novels from country music songs. Once I took the first chapter of a rough draft to a friend to read and give feedback. She said, very gently: “I’m sorry, but I found it just…boring.”
I came home and thought about it. I had been playing Don Williams ballads over and over. They soothed my soul, but likely did not help me to get conflict rolling. I changed to country music with a fast, swinging beat. The book picked up after that, and I’ve been careful of what I listen to while writing ever since.
The chickens can have their radio. These days when I work, I want quiet. Although when needing to lift my spirit while around the house, I will play music– more often than not these days I prefer Swing. Hmmm…likely that’s why the novel I’m currently planning is set in the late forties.