My wife fell in love with the idea of having chickens in our backyard all the same, and since she usually lets me chase whatever dream I have, big or small, I finally relented.
So far, she was right as rain.
Our four chickens spend part of the day in their coop and the rest roaming around our backyard. They don’t make much noise, eat any and all leftovers and give us a steady two eggs a day. Two of our four chickens are old enough to lay eggs, the other two should hit that mark shortly.
Best of all, the boys can’t get enough of ‘em.
Elijah loves to watch as we change their water, fill their food container and let them out for their daily strut. Ben talks about them incessantly and will use any excuse to bring them up.
The fact that he named one of them Bock Bock slays me every time I think about it.
The Scoop on the Poop
Not everything is going smoothly, though. A few weeks back a local cat started visiting our backyard, which makes us worry it might return and decide our chickens are a suitable snack. The poop factor, alas, is significant. These critters eat and eat, and they’re regular as any creature can be.
And Ben thinks it’s OK not only to enter the chicken coop when it pleases him but to try and grab chickens for an “Of Mice and Men” style petting session.
We’re still in the honeymoon phase of being chicken parents. Soon, the novelty will wear off, the poop levels will escalate and the boys will move on to other child-like passions. That’s where the real parenting challenge comes in. The chickens represent responsibility, something I think will be valuable for my boys to process. In a couple of years we’ll ask them to care for the chickens more, to watch their food and water supplies and even clean the coop interior as needed.
Childhood is about more than just new toys, romps through the park and ear to ear smiles. It’s what happens after the newness of fresh wonders fades. We’ve seen the first part of the chicken equation so far. We’ll someday see the second, less exciting chapter play out, and I’m going to make sure our boys understand the challenges awaiting them.