UTAH PHEASANT SOCIETY

MEMBERS STORIES

This section will be dedicated to members who may want to post how they got interested in raising birds or any other stories they may want to tell.

 

 

My Love-Hate Relationship with Birds

by Kristi Davis 

 

 

 

I was pregnant with our first son, Cougar, when my husband first got started with raising birds.  In fact, just minutes before being admitted to the hospital I had been sitting outside watching him build the first coop.  How was I to know at that time how deeply game birds would affect our lives?  He first got a few ringnecks and mutants and I thought nothing of it.  I had no idea the ornamental pheasants existed.  I also thought it would be a fad, something he would throw all his time in to for a while and then tire of.  I’ve never been so wrong in my life.

I try to be a supportive wife, but I must admit there have been times when I’ve hated those birds with a passion that should be reserved for murderers and war criminals.  He spent hours setting up pens and finding birds and equipment.  Hours of his time I felt were being taken away from me and our new baby.  He would come home and check on the birds before coming to see us.  I would go outside to find him when he should have been home from work for half an hour and find him just standing there watching his birds.  I still don’t understand the desire or need to raise birds, but I can see the positive way it affects our family.

Now that Cougar is almost four years old he sure gets excited to help with just about anything, but he loves to help with the birds.  In the spring he gathers eggs and checks on chicks.  He helps feed and water and takes his responsibilities very seriously.  This past fall he even was able to enter some birds into the annual Utah Pheasant Society Show where he competed against his daddy and many others.  He won a first place ribbon and a few others and I’ve never seen him so proud of himself.  I realized then that raising birds wasn’t the most horrible hobby in the world, as I had previously thought.  It was something that bonded my family tighter than I could possibly imagine.  Where else could a four year old compete against a 26 year old and actually win?  Not just because Daddy was nice and let him win, a real win. 

Raising birds is also teaching Cougar to respect life.  Being an animal lover, it’s important to me that my children understand that creatures deserve respect as well.  Cougar has a better understanding of “the circle of life” than most kids his age.  He’s waited patiently for eggs to hatch, watched chicks grow to birds, and gotten a good understanding of death.  He knows to be careful and calm.  In fact, when he is around birds he can actually slow down and be still, a feat which at any other time seems impossible.

When we were expecting our second child, Cougar understood (on a three year old level) what was happening.  He knew he had to wait because he also had to wait for chicks to hatch.  He knew the baby would be tiny and would grow, because that’s what the chicks did.  And when Phoenix finally came, Cougar was already good at being gentle and kind because he’d had so much practice with the chicks.  He feels a great sense of responsibility toward his younger brother and can hardly wait to teach him all the cool stuff he knows.

Game birds have affected our family in so many ways and when I’m not being ornery about them I realized it is all positive, giving us something we can all share.  We all have a part to play and a place to fit in.  When one of us wins we all win.  One of my favorite things to do is watch Cougar help catch the birds for Daddy.  They are still faster than him and it takes quite a bit of running to get them cornered and caught.  I look forward to when, now three month old Phoenix, joins in the chase.  I realize now that this is not a here today, gone tomorrow hobby.  It’s every bit a part of our family.  We may even be enjoying it with our grandchildren one day in the distant future.

 

 

 

 

 January 07, 2009