little yellow babies

19Nov12

Getting chickens was one of those things I liked to talk about, almost like a joke, half-sure that I would actually work up the nerve to do it. In theory, I love it – having the kids participate in raising birds and producing our own eggs. It was all I could think about after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, thinking that E in particular would make the perfect little preteen chicken-keeper. I also linked it to my hopes to be the kind of family who welcomed weird animals and mess and real ‘life science’ into our lives (though, I fight it too, trying to be all tidy and controlled). I have fond memories of our cat giving birth under my sister’s bed when we were kids. I think it’s that crazy stuff we remember. Not the routine.

In reality, I am scared of birds, with their long toenails and their pecky, prehistoric faces and wise, threatening little eyes. They give me the creeps. A few weeks ago, a new friend mentioned that she saw some loose chickens running up the road near her house and wanted to capture them for me. I lamented that that would likely be the only way for me to finally get some… They would have to be delivered to me.

We have moved twice since the beginning of my chicken-keeping aspirations. The by-law allowing chickens was passed in East Vancouver about the same time we left. In North Vancouver, it was on its way. And now here in Cali, over the weekend, get this… our school offered up two hundred tiny birds in coloured gift-boxes as raffle prizes!!

We did not actually win ours, but were gifted them by a friend of S (whose mother was not going to allow them). The kiddies just about lost their minds.

I cannot actually believe how many chicks were absorbed into the school community. They came in pairs. So, are there a hundred families out there as excited as we are? Can you imagine a Vancouver school gifting baby chicks? Awesome.

So far, so good. E is over-the-moon. They sleep in a homemade brooder in her room. For now. They smell pretty bad, so I cannot imagine that this is a very healthy long-term, or even short-term situation. We did have some issues yesterday with them being a bit cold and wet (bad watering system). We thought they were goners. Lots to learn and, thankfully, I brought this book from home:

Look at those toenails.

That’s it for now. We do know that they came from an organic egg-producing facility, but we do not know if we have boys or girls. All we know for now is that we have made the first step and, hopefully, will be on track for proper chicken-raising soon. Stay tuned.

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