Whether you’re building a business, a house or raising chickens, there are advantages to planning and upside to simply taking action.
Plenty of decisions require thorough analysis and evaluation. Too much of this, however, and we face “analysis paralysis,” that state of being where we’re locked in our own heads and no longer able to make a rational decision. The benefits from working through all potential options become outweighed by the cost of not taking a step. From a TED Talk by Barry Shwartz:
All of this choice…produces paralysis, rather than liberation. With so many options to choose from, people find it very difficult to choose at all. I’ll give you one very dramatic example of this: a study that was done of investments in voluntary retirement plans…for every 10 mutual funds the employer offered, rate of participation went down two percent. You offer 50 funds — 10 percent fewer employees participate than if you only offer five. Why? Because with 50 funds to choose from, it’s so damn hard to decide which fund to choose, that you’ll just put it off until tomorrow. And then tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and of course tomorrow never comes. Understand that not only does this mean that people are going to have to eat dog food when they retire because they don’t have enough money put away, it also means that making the decision is so hard that they pass up significant matching money from the employer. By not participating, they are passing up as much as 5,000 dollars a year from the employer, who would happily match their contribution.
In these cases, it can be useful to either find a partner to assist in the decision-making or to just begin walking in a direction. I appreciate both methods, but recently chose the latter.
I have achieved a lifelong dream. I’m a chicken farmer now. I own chickens. Five of them. They’re in my coop and they’re a month old. Now, I have no clue what to do next, but you know our philosophy around here, just take the first step. I know the first rule of chicken raising. Don’t name your chickens.
I told my son Dane this rule, and he didn’t listen. Last night, he shared that he had given each of our five birds a name. “Yup,” he said. “They’re “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch and Midnight Snack.”
That’s my man.
Now, just because we’ve made a decision and acquired the chickens, it doesn’t mean we stop continually trying to improve upon our actions and decisions. It is even more critical in my case, since I’m dealing with living beings. If I’m not careful, a coyote or raccoon might be feasting tonight. It may be the circle of life, but if anyone is eating my chickens, it’s going to be me.
Understanding the function of my coop will be useful:
A chicken coop usually has an indoor area where the chickens sleep and nest as well as an outdoor area where chickens will feed and spend the majority of the day. Inside the chicken coop are dropping boards or litter (such as straw) to collect chicken feces. A chicken coop should be cleaned every two to three weeks and the litter shifted every day, like a cat’s litter box. A coop should be locked at night with all the chickens inside of it so that the chickens are protected from predators.
My coop is furnished with the indoor and outdoor spaces, but they’re tiny. They seem perfect for one month old chickens, but when these suckers grow, then what? I definitely do not have enough space, according to naturalchickenkeeping.com:
It can be confusing for those new to chickens to wade through the variety of information on proper coop and run square footage for their flock. Manufacturers selling small “doll house” coops often tout their structure as being able to house up to “X” amount of birds… and often those numbers are misleading or not appropriate for the birds or the buyer’s needs.
Oh, and I didn’t put down any straw (or similar), and I have no idea what a nesting box . I really have no clue what I’m doing but I’ll figure it out as I go. From speakinggump.com:
The advantage of figuring it out along the way is you’re taking action and making things happen. You can learn from doing. You can learn from your mistakes.
I’m going to be continually refining my process of chicken farming. I may stumble along the way, but in doing so, I will have the eggs and experiences. Had I been obsessed with ensuring I lined up everything perfectly before taking the plunge, I would have never gotten there. Be smart and diligent, but act fearlessly. You’ll learn along the way.