Growing up with Chickens

Little Farm Chick snapped this picture of her older sister hugging her chicken, Snow.  Each of the girls named their own chick and have watched them grow.  We all feared that snow would be a rooster.  Early on she had a very bright red comb and wattles.  As time went by though they didn’t grow to rooster proportions, even though her wattles sure do waggle when she walks.  She is one of the prettiest hens in the bunch with her silver lacing and can be very friendly once she is placed on your lap.  Remember this is the chicken that scratched my cornea with her curious beak.

DSCF8418

I made the decision two years ago to raise chickens and one of the best things about raising hens is getting my girls involved.  Last night as a rough wind was coming in my middle daughter raced outside in her pajamas to see that all of the chickens were safely locked in their coop.  My oldest daughter regularly goes out on hot days to put some sort of frozen fruit in the hens’ water to cool them down.  Little farm chick is often close behind when chicken chores are involved.

I won’t deny that I am still the one doing most of the chicken chores, but my daughter’s have learned to care for something outside themselves, something that needs their loving attention.  There is an excitement that comes as well when their hen lays their first egg.  They really come to understand that eggs don’t just come from a store, but from a living, feeling animal.  There is nothing like finding a warm, freshly laid egg from your hen.

One of the most important lessons they’ve learned is loss.  When we lost our chickens last year to dogs we were all deeply saddened, the girls especially because they had done so much to raise and care for them.  We aren’t strangers to death especially since we’ve lost my parents and other extended family members, but to lose something you’ve raised and watched mature can bring its own type of heartbreak.

Children and chickens just seem to go together.  As they are raised together something wonderful happens.  Something I wouldn’t give up for the world.

Advertisements

Through the Lens of Little Farm Chick

I was doing chicken and garden chores the other night when little chick begged to borrow my camera.  She is 5 and about to start Kindergarten.  She’s my youngest daughter and I sure love her.  I placed the heavy camera around her neck, asked her to be super careful, showed her what button to push, and away she went.  It is fun to see what she captured.

Gotta love fluffy chicken butts.

DSCF8277

Farm chick watering the grapes.  We bought 5 grapes to grow over the fencing and hopefully provide shade for the chickens.

DSCF8280Dreamy Blue Coop

DSCF8286Elephant Head Amaranth.  A new addition to the garden this year.  It may be foolish to plant in the box since these can be huge, but I am still excited to see them grow. 

DSCF8290Our giant grape vine that we planted years ago.  It gave us 20+ pounds of grapes last year, and is lacking the support it really needs.  These past few years it reaches all the way over to our sage plant for support. 

DSCF8304Chicken play time with our escape door in the background.  That’s a story for another time.

DSCF8310

Scooping the chicken poop while being asked to smile big.  I blame the camera angle for the big butt, not the stress related weight gain.  Do you like the cardboard in the feeder.  Not all designs work as planned.  The chickens thought it would make a great roosting bar.  Silly things.

DSCF8305Green, growing things. The spinach has been very happy this year with all the rain we’ve gotten.  The leaves are larger than my hand.

DSCF8294Little Farm Chick’s chicken, Zebra.  She is by far the biggest out of all the hens.  I love her stripes.

DSCF8307

Last but not least, a Cars play mat I found at a yard sale that little farm chick has fallen in LOVE with.  She makes me be Lightning McQueen whenever I give her a bath.  It is getting really hard to think of race stories that I haven’t told before.

DSCF8311Maybe I should give her the camera more often.