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How raising chickens helps Jim Harbaugh’s marriage

Ahead of Turkey Day and amid his suspension, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh spoke with reporters about his love of chickens

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Michigan NCAA college football coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to members of the media at his weekly news conference, Nov. 13, 2023.

Michigan NCAA college football coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to members of the media at his weekly news conference at Schembechler Hall in Ann Arbor, Mich., Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. The Big Ten suspended Harbaugh for three games for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy, relating to impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years as part of a sign-stealing scandal.

Larry Lage, Associated Press

Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh took a break from discussing his suspension and ongoing appeal to share his newfound love for chickens Monday, saying he no longer considers them “nervous birds.”

Harbaugh’s new respect for chickens came up when he told reporters Monday that he chooses to spend time with his chickens after having disagreements with his wife, instead of arguing, according to 247Sports.

“Sometimes I get angry, and I got two options,” he said. “I can come back and fire back and I’ll show her who’s boss. Or I can turn right around, go out, feed the chickens, clean out the coop, cut the lawn, edge it (and) work for for hours. It always is the better resolution.”

Harbaugh told reporters that he is now the proud owner of multiple chickens. He bought the chickens from Tractor Supply for Easter 2020, and he’s their primary caregiver.

“(The kids) loved those chickens for about a week, and then the chicks became teenager chickens and then became adult chickens,” he said. “I’m the one who takes care of them.”

Why did Jim Harbaugh think chickens were nervous birds?

Harbaugh’s ill opinion of chickens was revealed in 2018, when Wilton Speight, one of Harbaugh’s former Michigan quarterbacks, told Bleacher Report that Harbaugh advised him to not eat chicken anymore because they’re a “nervous bird.”

“He thinks some type of sickness injected its way into the human population when people began eating white meats instead of beef and pork,” Speight said. “And he believes it, 100 percent.”

Why does Jim Harbaugh now like chickens?

On Monday, Harbaugh referenced the story Speight shared and said he now thinks chickens are highly productive and not nervous birds.

“The respect that I have for chickens — I know there was a time when I said that chicken is a nervous bird. ‘I don’t eat chicken; I only eat meat.’ But I was dead wrong. I stand corrected,” he said, according to Fox News. “These chickens are low maintenance and high production. They lay an egg every 26, 27 hours. And they need water, they need food.”

In addition to providing fresh eggs every day, the chickens are beneficial for Harbaugh’s mental health, he said.

“Then I play with them, too. I let them out in the yard. We run around and they’re happy to see me. They’re happy to see me. There’s times when I do good things for other people and they’re not as happy to see me as my chickens are, so it’s good. It’s good for my mental health as well,” Harbaugh noted.

Why was Jim Harbaugh suspended?

Harbaugh was suspended for the final three games of the season because the Big Ten determined that Michigan’s football program had violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy, as the Deseret News previously reported. The conference is investigating sign-stealing allegations against the program.