Saturday, March 12, 2011

"What About Chickens?"

"I think we should get some chickens," said the voice from the passenger seat.

 "We wouldn't have to do much...build a little place for them..."

"You mean a coop?"

"Yeah...one of those. We could have fresh eggs and have some meat for our freezer."

There was a disconnect somewhere about "laying" chickens and "eating" chickens, but I let it slide, smiled and nodded to acknowledge the statement - not to support it.

As it turned out, my comments weren't needed. The three voices from the backseat did all the talking for me. The two youngest were the first to chime in. They took exception to the "eating" part.

"We can't eat our chickens," Jack cried out, speaking as if our hypothetical chickens were real. "I want to keep them as pets."

"No...we wouldn't keep them as pets," came the response from his mother, the originator of this family discussion. "Besides, where do you think the chicken we buy at the store comes from?"

"That's different," Grace answered. "We don't take care of those chickens and see them walking around the backyard." Again, I questioned whether my family already had chickens of which I was not aware.

The clinching argument against chickens came from Emma, my eldest child. She, unlike her siblings, had real world experience with chickens from last summer's babysitting work for our friends' children.

In addition to watching and playing with the three Flowers children, Emma and her co-babysitter helped harvest produce from the family's gardens, sell vegetables at their farmstand and - most relevant to this conversation - take care of their flock of laying hens. And the one mean rooster.

"You do not want chickens!" Emma said, in her most emphatic teen voice.

"They're awful! They get loose all the time! They dig under the fence or hop over it if it's not high enough. They peck you and they poop everywhere! Do not get chickens!"

The interesting part of whole discussion is that we could accommodate chickens and other livestock on our property.

The previous owners kept horses and had a small barn next to the large crabapple tree in the backyard. The concrete posts that once supported the structure are still in place, almost as if they're waiting for a new barn to rise like a phoenix from ashes.

We enjoy gardening and animals and being outside in the tranquil rural setting we know as "home."

In contrast to the fast-paced life we lead as parents of three active, involved children, this idea of homesteading - of slowing down, simplifying and becoming more in tune with our natural surroundings - has an appeal.

Which is why Missy broached the topic of raising chickens two weeks ago. And a goat eight months ago...a cow last year...and pigs the year before.

Knowing my family as I do, the chances of any of this livestock ending up in a freezer someday are fairly slim. Which makes me recognize that the acquisition of one farm animal - and subsequently others - would lead to the creation of the Windsor Road Petting Zoo.

Not that I'm opposed to the concept...someday...when I'm older and have time to chase animals rather than children.

For the moment, I'll contend to chasing the two-legged kind.

And if Missy has a need to connect with her inner chicken, I know just the place we can visit. Emma can show us around.

2 comments:

  1. Yay Emma - a voice of reason!! LOL

    I just can't see the "slowing down" part with all that the Chelsea Begin's are into!!! This would be just a way of adding to the already hectic mix - lol!

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  2. What a great idea to visit the Flower's chicken coop- there Missy can connect with her inner chicken; love it! Been there, done that! :-)

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