The heart parts and I are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our flock, 16 day-old chicks, and the anticipation in our house has become palpable. Little Miss asks hourly when they will get here, and we talk frequently about whether or not we think they’re hatched yet. Little Man was very concerned how chickens can be born without their mommy and daddy being married (the cat has earned the same confusion as well, and we continue to teeter painfully on the edge of the “special hug” conversation). We all brainstormed what to name the coop and what foods they might enjoy most. If there is a quiet moment in the house, you could put money on the next discussion started being chicken-related.
Most of those discussion, of course, started with delightful questions. “Can we hold them?” Yes. “Do they peck your hands?” They could. “Will it hurt?” Depends on how tough your skin is. “Can I just wear gloves?” Eh. Then they won’t know you- but they’ll love your gloves. “Will they make eggs right away?” Nope. “Will they chase us like Nohni’s chickens do, when we run?” Maybe. Maybe we can train them. “Will they poop on my hand?” Most certainly. This last one was received well, with an earnest “I’ll just let YOU hold them then…” Lol
This morning, over scrambled eggs from Nohni’s hens, we talked at length about why we would raise our own chickens and not just buy meat and eggs from the store. These are such hard conversations to have. I want the kids to be informed stewards of the world around them, but it’s so hard to intentionally introduce them to such awful things. The kids were appalled at how chickens are raised and were emphatic that our chickens would make great eggs because their life will be awesome and full of love/ bugs/ kitchen scraps. Little Man was churning hard on that conversation, not unexpectedly, and surprised me at the hardware store later asking whether chickens bled to death when their beaks were cut off. Oy. Maybe I am too honest with them.
On a far more pleasant note, my little scientists were fascinated by the discussion of chicken poop and how the girls could help keep our garden healthy by creating a back yard ecosystem. (Not to mention thrilled to have a legitimate opportunity to use the word “poop” in adult company.) Little Miss, my little entomologist/ bug box warden, has already started gathering pill bugs, with a separate little jewelry box repurposed for the dead ones. At least she finally knows they’re not “just sleeping”! Now she can liberate the dusty remains herself, rather than me having to do so when she is at her dad’s.
As a bonus, while I was outside stripping old siding off the shed-turned-chicken palace, the kids took their first shot at planting in the garden. Woot! Farm hands! And no plants- or little feelings- were harmed in the unsupervised team planting of the marigolds– which is good, because my efforts to lay rock and build a coop this spring have left my garden, somewhat feebly, to fend for itself!