Yay! We finally have chicks. Nineteen of them, actually.
I know that sounds excessive for a first year, but there is a formula here.
Our three middle girls, Camilla, Lucy, and Eve were getting chicks. Since their foray into the pig market exposed them to the opportunities for making honest money (not roadside stands selling painted rocks, ahem), they wanted another way to continue to earn. Although chicken eggs would not provide the substantial end-of-year payout that 4H pig selling reaped, this venture would provide a smaller, but hopefully, steady income. We decided each girl could have five chicks, which, barring the possibility of roosters invading the throng, equals fifteen laying hens. That number would allow for the eggs we would need at home as well as some to sell.
As we began studying and talking about chickens, Henry began to feel more and more left out. At first we told him he got all of the chicks that turned out to be boys. That worked until someone let slip in front of him that roosters would be eliminated from the flock and put in the roasting pan. He's a smart one and picked up the meaning of that right away, despite having used code language.
Alright. Henry can have two chickens. It would actually be a good idea to compensate for those possible roosters!
As the date grew closer, brood boxes were prepared, names were chosen, and the general excitement escalated, Eliza decided she wanted a chicken of her own.
Camilla agreed to be the primary care-giver for Eliza's chicken with Eliza choosing the breed, name, and providing the necessary cuddling.
I informed the children that I would be choosing three out of their five chickens to insure good layers and cold-tolerant birds (Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, and Amber Whites). They had the option of choosing the other two. We made up lists and each child had their base five with an alternate, just in case the store didn't have the selected varieties. In the hustle and bustle of the selection process, one of the girls accidentally got their alternate in addition to their other carefully selected breeds.
Whew. Did you get all that?!
Now comes the task of raising these little investments!
|Eve was initially terrified of touching the chicks. |
It took her a long time, but she is now holding and caring for her chicks . . .
with socks on her hands, but still!
So far, so good! My laundry room is hot and smelly and full of the cutest little fluffy peeps you ever saw. Day and night, there is always at least one child in there, quietly caring for the puffy creatures. Exactly what I had hoped. Let's hope their attentions last.