Finally! Finally! That lonely, vacant chicken coop gathering dust in our backyard is now home to a tiny little flock of chickens! Truth be told, the chickies moved in about two weeks ago. We've all been so preoccupied with them, I've been too busy to sit and reflect.
As planned, we purchased six Black Australorps. This heritage breed is quite striking in appearance and is known for its friendly disposition and good egg production. Two days later, I stumbled on the website for Active Life Farm, located in Londonderry, Nova Scotia. Noticing they had Ameraucana chicks for sale, something clicked in my memory (which has gotten pretty foggy since motherhood). Ameraucanas are sometimes referred to as Easter Egg Chickens because they lay bluish/green shelled eggs. This sounded like too much fun. I HAD to have them. The very next morning we set off on a road trip to pick up two more chicks. None of our chicks are sexed so we are still trying to figure out the mix. We only have room for one rooster so there may be some shuffling in the coop's pecking order pretty soon.
Although it has only been two weeks, our taste of raising chickens has been a wonderful learning experience on many different levels. It's actually been quite thought-provoking, giving Hubby and I a new perspective on the humane treatment of agricultural animals. Buying a plastic-wrapped package of boneless-skinless chicken breasts from the grocery store is so easy to do with little thought involved. Having my own chickens provides me with a greater appreciation for the "life" behind each meal. It's been rather "weird" at mealtime actually. One minute I'm chatting cheerfully about the hens, the next minute I'm directing Muffy to, "Eat your chicken Honey". Interestingly, Hubby and I are more bothered by this than the kids, who haven't blinked an eye on the subject.
It's also been a lesson in death for Chi-Chi and Muffy. One little chick, appropriately named Runtie, didn't make it. She was injured early on and failed to thrive. One morning, she was just gone. We had a nice little funeral in the woods for her. Ah, this story gave the boys at the feed store a good laugh! What can I say, the chicks are certainly viewed as pets around here.
Despite one minor grabbing/squeezing incident with Muffy, I'm impressed with the calmness and respect the children are exhibiting towards the chickens. Keep in mind, I've got two VERY ACTIVE boys! They are learning about the important responsibilities and kindness involved in caring for another living creature.
So, I'm inspired about the chickens as you can imagine. My mind is getting ahead of me....dreaming and planning. Every Wool Fairy needs her own sheep....doesn't she??