I know I have mentioned multiple times that we sort of live on a farm. We have tractors and dogs and pastures. There is a local farmer who utilizes our fields. We used to have horses. We thought about raising cows. I make a pretty brave attempt at gardens. Our kids never got involved in 4H. I think it is a great organization and the kids that are involved in it are very impressive when you consider the work they do to prepare for fairs. Our kids went in a different direction with their interests. They were all excellent students and they all were involved in athletics. So, let’s come to an understanding right up front. If my family had to depend on me to grow food for them or raise animals for food, they would starve to death quite rapidly.
“Mommy” was always into animals. There were times as she was growing up that I was certain that she would pursue a degree in Veterinary medicine. But she chose to go into a career in Elementary Education. She loved doing Science Fair when she was in Middle School and all of her projects involved animals in some way, so I wasn’t surprised when one of her student teaching projects was hatching chicken eggs.
She approached me with the idea and as always I encouraged her to go ahead with it. Apparently, one of the local chicken farms was happy to give her assistance with her class project, but they did not want the chickens that hatched back. She would have to find a home for them. Now It could not have taken you more than a blink of an eye to figure out that we were to be the home. Why not!? We have a barn, we live on a farm (sort of), and we love eggs. We could raise our own chickens for a lifetime supply of eggs! This idea, like many of my projects was taking off pretty fast.
We had to start preparing for the chickens that were soon to join our family. The four eggs spent their time in the incubator and four adorable baby chicks hatched. “Mommy’s” class named the four babies and as the student teaching ended, we got ready for their arrival at our home. I grabbed “Calvin” and gave him the job of building a home for the Chickens. “Calvin” immediately enlisted the assistance of “Super Son” and with absolutely no information or research they began using one of the stalls in the barn to construct a chicken coop. Off they went for supplies that included nails and chicken wire. In a relatively short period of time, they constructed a chicken coop that would have put a concentration camp to shame.
Just so you know, chickens are like cats. They are adorable when they are small but not so cute when they grow up. And believe me, these chickens grew up! I could swear they were given nuclear food. I have NEVER seen such large chickens. They were close in size to a turkey – and they were mean. “The Surprise” would get pecked in the legs every time he fed them. We did start to get eggs too. I was concerned at first that we had roosters and not chickens but the eggs did arrive. Should I be concerned that every egg had two and three yolks?
After a few months, “Pook” and “The Surprise” would go to the barn to feed the chickens and we found one dead for no apparent reason. A few days later, the second one was found dead. Finally, as we came up the driveway at the end of the school day, we stopped at the barn to feed the chickens. I sent the boys in while I waited in the car. Both boys came out because the chickens were dead and headless. I told them to drag them out and we would get rid of them. They carried those chickens on shovels, barely able to hold them up. Of course, being the loving and helpful mother that I am, I rolled the window down and hollered “Don’t be dumb, use the shovels like a sled. They are too heavy to carry!”
The end of the chickens was also our first lesson on weasels. Every once in a while I bring up raising another animal for food or getting more chickens. There is a revolution brewing if I actually go through with it, so I guess I will just get my eggs at the grocery store like everyone else.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!