Marketing Lessons Learned From Within the Henhouse

Marketing Lessons Learned From Within the Henhouse
Wendy Thomas - Tue May 18, 2010 @ 04:17PM
Comments: 12

Let’s face it, chickens are the new black. It seems that everyone is getting them to raise both as pets and for their eggs (and in some disturbing cases - to me anyway- meat). For the most part, though, people are into these kinder and gentler bird. These personality filled babies are definitely not your parent’s chickens. no dumb cluck

As a writer of a newspaper column on being thrifty, when one of my readers offered me 8 newly hatched chicks as a way to both get cheap food (eggs) and to get rid of kitchen compost, I figured why not? I reasoned that raising 8 chickens couldn’t possibly be any more difficult than raising my 6 children.

Now, a year later, we have put an addition on to our hen house, increased the flock by 25 more birds, and have tried just about every egg recipe under the sun. What I hadn't realized when we started with these birds was just how much these feathered friends would teach me about so many things about things like parenting, social behavior and yes, even marketing.

Here are 5 marketing lessons I have learned from running with the flock:

When two or more males are gathered together, there is going to be noise

Roosters are colorful, they like to strut, they like to be heard. In fact, they like to be heard so much that pretty soon everyone within hearing distance only wants them to be quiet.

If you have more than one rooster in a henhouse, they are going to compete with each other to determine who will be the top bird. Feathers will be pulled, fights will break out, egos will be bruised, and often the hens' egg laying schedule will be interrupted by all the commotion.

But here's a fact not known by many - hens can very productively go about their business laying eggs without having a rooster anywhere near the coop. They are, after all, very savvy birds.


It hurts when you lay an egg

Yup it hurts, it hurts so much that you'll probably squawk loud and long about it. But you know what? Everyone lays an egg every now and then, there are worse things in life. But after you lay that egg there is a tremendous feeling of relief, it's over, it's done. Time to move on.

An egg is after all just an egg. The key is to get up from that egg, rejoin the flock, and get on with your life.

It’s not the prettiest hen that lays the largest eggs

Sometimes the best of talent can come from the most unexpected of places. Do your research when choosing a chicken, find out it's qualifications and then let it free to do it's work. If treated well and kept safe, you just might be surprised at what she can produce.


Seriously don’t bite the hand that feeds you

This old adage still holds true. If you bite the hand that feeds you, pretty soon that hand (which is no dummy) is going to choose to throw the food instead of politely offering it to you. Thrown food never lands in the most ideal spot meaning you're going to have to work a lot harder for your reward.

Make everyone's life easier - at all times, respect the hand.

When a hawk flies overhead, it’s time to dig down and get to work

Chickens have an innate protective instinct. They will happily spend the afternoon clucking with each other while taking their dust baths but let a hawk-shaped shadow pass overhead and they know it's time to stop the chatting and hunker down to save their egg business. Everyone knows where to go and what to do in order to avoid crisis. When things get hairy, these birds have a plan.

Chickens, like the best marketers, know that there is a time for play and for relaxation. They know how to have fun. The best ones, however, the ones that live a long and hawk-free life also have a series of steps they immediately put in place for self-survival when the going gets tough.

After all, good marketers, like my birds, are no dumb clucks.

About the Author:

Wendy E.N. Thomas is a freelance writer and Instructional Design Consultant for High-tech Businesses. She is located in New Hampshire, USA. She has over 25 years experience in the High-tech field as a Technical Writer/Instructional Designer for Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq, and Hewlett Packard.

Wendy has been published in national magazines, newspapers, e-zines, and blogs. A features writer, interviewer, and columnist, Wendy frequently contributes to local State news and political media. She has been involved in blogging for, writing press material and speeches for national and state politicians.

Comments: 12


1. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Wed May 19, 2010 @ 01:18AM

Love it, Wendy, and the picture is priceless.
How about this one:
Word spreads fast around the henhouse. If you're going to mess with one hen, you'd better be prepared to mess with all the hens. Don't make the mistake of old Mr. Fox who got the whole flock in a tizzy when he tried to pull a fast one on the slowest hen in the coop. Strength in numbers, ladies, and social media word of mouth! ;)

2. Wendy Thomas   |   Wed May 19, 2010 @ 02:45AM


Brilliant! I smell an ebook in these lessons. :-) That is of course, as long as no one cries "fowl."

3. Jamie Wallace  |  my website   |   Wed May 19, 2010 @ 03:12AM

It would be an eBook that had never been written before! ;)

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