Nobody really understands why a person would bother to have chickens unless you have had them. After all they are smelly, require feed, 50 pounds at a time, and make you look like a country bumpkin. I decided that it would be a good hobby for my grandchildren and me to share. They would learn about responsibility, what a chicken really is, where eggs really come from, and what America is really supposed to be like. This is what I told myself as we looked through the catalogs deciding which chicks we would order. We picked the prettiest ones who were described to be gentle. I have found that all of that is true but here is a lot more you don’t think about. Chickens are hours of entertainment! Each one of those little guys has a personality. And doggone it, there really are pretty! Our Silkies have won my husband over. My city-boy son-in-law said recently he could never get tired of watching them. We have a 10 week Super Rock that waddles like a pregnant goose. We have a little 8 week old rooster that had his first crowing during our barbecue on Sunday- “ROO-ROO”. He was hilarious, his little head and neck all stretched out to make his song bigger. Each of my grandchildren is absolutely thrilled to gather eggs, like finding little miracles! My husband has a nursery at our home, all the children who come with their parents want to hold or at least pet a chicken. We even had an old man in a wheelchair ask to hold a chicken because he hadn’t since he was a kid. Our dog, Penny, a 10 year old sheltie, considers it her duty to guard and herd those chickens. She speaks to them with a voice like Charlie Brown’s mother. And then we discovered other people with shelties say their dogs speak the same language to their chickens. It is fun that they all know it is 7:00 PM and they return to their pens to get their dinner. And fun to watch them play in the yard- running, tugging at earthworms, trying to fly, seeing who is king and gets be the tough chicken for the day. We have a mean rooster, King Cluck, who wants to take everybody on. He sidles up to you thinking you won’t know he is coming and then jumps at you with his feet forward, almost knocking you down. (He stays in the pen so nobody gets hurt- his job is to fertilize the hen’s eggs we tell the children). Well the joke is on that big Rhode Island Red. When of those little roosters gets bigger and turns out to be kind and gentle, it is the pressure cooker for the king! The only drawback I have found to having chickens is that they are “messy” in my yard, on my deck, on the walks, and anywhere else they may go. Being a nurse probably makes the “free fertilizer” a little “germier” to me than to some. But I am looking forward to it becoming a great bonus to my garden soon. My husband had built a great little hen house for me- although it might have been cheaper to buy one, and certainly a whole lot easier than his 2 week long effort. It is adorable! It has two little windows and a flower box at each, to which he said to my nephew, “Can you believe that! Flower boxes on her chicken house!” But he indulged me and it is a cute as a button. My granddaughter helped me paint it and was dismayed to learn it would be the same color as our house. She thought the hens would really prefer Hot Pink. It has a cute little sign is on the door stating “Grandma and Grandpa’s nest, where the flock comes to gather.” For me, that says it all.
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