Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Chicken Post

"Momma, Momma! Ms. L is going to get a bunch of chicken eggs for our class and we are going to watch them hatch", Soph exclaims as she throws herself into the backseat of the van after school. "Then we get to take them home. Can we take one home?"

I'm about a sentence behind, my sluggish brain not able to keep up with her rapid speech.

"Um, well okay. Not to keep, but for a few weeks", I respond hoping this will be the answer she is looking for.

It is. Her smile is wide as she turns to Little One and begins telling her all about chickens.

Luckily, my parents are visiting when the chicks hatch. My mother, who was raised on a farm, remembers chickens from her childhood. She helps us set up the aquarium with heat lamp and newspaper for bedding. It is at her suggestion that we bring home not one chick, but two. To keep each other company, my mom explains.

We end up bringing home Cookie, a black chick, and Sugar a yellow bare-necked chick. Ms. L calls it a turkin (half chicken and half turkey), but the people at the feed store said it was a bare necked chicken. Either way, it is alarmingly ugly with the feathers missing from around its neck and part of its head. I feel like making it a little scarf or stylish boa to wear.

Little Sugar and her bare neck

Soph and Little One on the first day.

The girls play with the chicks everyday. Feeding, watering and changing the cage is a daily job. When they get bigger, Soph sometimes cleans the cage twice a day. They take them out for flying lessons and exercise. The cage sits atop our kitchen table. We eat at the dining room table so it works out. I must admit I get very used to the constant chirping the two make during the day. When they sleep they cuddle up next to each other and I have to smile because my mother knew what she was talking about.

Soph, Little One and Em giving the chicks their morning exercise

Flying lesson at about a week old

Some cuddle time

At 2 weeks Sugar is able to fly to the top of the cage when we take off the screen. She has become the more advanced of the two and I have come to appreciate her unique appearance. At 2 1/2 weeks it is time for them to go back to school. Sadness descends upon our house. But it is time, I insist. Plus, they are going to a nice farm to live. Soph wants to see the farm. She is a mother hen wanting to make sure her chicks new home is nice enough. On their last day at our house Cookie flies to the top of the box I have her in. I find an odd comfort in this. Now I know she is ready.

Sweet Ms. L says it is no problem, after school we will go out to her parents place and put the chicks in their new home. Soph is so excited, that she forgets to be sad. That afternoon her best friends mom arrives with their chick to return. They had no intention of going to the farm, but once it is found out we are going, the poor mom has no choice. Whoops, sorry. Here we are at the farm, that is sweet Ms. L

The farm is very nice. The girls are thrilled to see all the other chickens and even a turkey. Dogs greet us as the girls giggle. The chicks are carefully placed in their new coop. Our chicks are twice the size of the others. I'm not sure why, maybe it was all that exercising and extra attention, or maybe it was because we took home two. Companionship may just grow healthier chicks. Even in the coop they stick together like glue, they have become good friends.
Soph putting her chicks in the coop.

Little One thinks this Border Collie looks just like her grandparents dog.

It is oddly quiet at our house. I keep expecting the little chicks to peep as I walk through the room. Amazing how attached you can get to little creatures. The girls still have a hard time eating chicken, and I must admit it has lost some of its appeal to me as well. Soph now is awaiting a field trip out to check on the chicks. We will see if that can be arranged.

My girls and Soph's sweet friend


Pat's Place said...

Hmmm! Do I see chickens in your future or does the place where you live have an ordinance? You could speak to one of the board members--who resides in your household!!

Aimee said...

They are cute when they are little, but they aren't so cute when they are big! I used to raise chickens when I was in Jr. High & High school. I wouldn't have a chicken today if you paid me! The chicks are really cute though and I'm sure your girls just adored them!

Amy said...

How fun!! I love the fact that your two grew twice as big!

Jessica said...

You have such a cutie family! :-) I love baby animals and sometimes I take my boys to the pet store, since we don't own any.
What a cool mommy you are. LOL

fairenuff said...

Oh how sweet (or should I say, "How TWEET"?!... sorry, that was CHEEP!).

Kara said...

No, no chickens in our future I'm afraid. Aimee, I can only imagine them older and I was ready to say good-bye to the smell and mess for sure.
Thanks Jessica, sometimes we are too cute:)