Fowl Trouble Reveals Pain of Pet Ownership

Benjamin and his chicken friendsMy wife is concerned. She thinks our youngest son likes our chickens more than her. She shouldn’t be worried given how lil’ Benjamin treats the slowest of our four chickens, Caroline.

He hugs her, hard, chases her like that guy pursuing the one-armed man and even kicks her when the mood strikes him. That’s when he’s being kind. Other times remind me of that awful “Of Mice and Men” chapter with Lenny and the puppy. Today alone Ben managed to get Caroline onto the family trampoline three times while we weren’t looking.

Our experiment in chickens has been a success, by and large. Our four chickens are sturdy egg layers, make very little noise and, much to my surprise, are endlessly endearing.

Let’s hope they survive the year, what with Ben on the scene.

It’s all part of having an extended menagerie of pets – one dog, a fish and four chickens (do Sea Monkeys count?). The chickens, the newest addition to our flock, are wonderful distractions along with the rest of the pets. While the boys chase the hens around the backyard my wife and I can tackle nagging household chores and Elijah loves concocting stories around our fish’s water adventures. That doesn’t make moments like Ben bringing the fish to us in his chubby hands any easier, or seeing Benjamin squatting inside the chicken coop while the hens scatter like extras in a Godzilla movie.

Family pets demand patience, flexibility and extra cash, none of which most clans have in abundance. It’s all the more reason to embrace the experience, seek out learning lessons when they come along and teach your children to respect all living things.

We’ll worry about the rights of bugs, spiders and ants at a later date.

My sons are endlessly curious about the chickens, enabling us to teach them about their eating habits, sleeping patterns and social graces. Beamer the beta fish sparks the boys’ interest in marine life, opening the door to fascinating bedtime stories that don’t involve the Man with the Yellow Hat (yesss!).

The hardest part of chicken ownership so far is teaching the boys to share their Caroline petting time. It gets ugly – often – but we’re working on the situation in a way that may teach them the joys of sharing.

Who knows, we may need to bring a pet pig or iguana into our home at some point. Caroline could really use a break.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *