Monday, 12 March 2012

Chickens are People too...

So... we have pets.... not permanently installed, it's true, but for now we do have pets! Two cute orangey-brown chickens called Coco and Chanel. Yes, they are stylish designer chickens, if you were wondering! My dear former neighbour and current friend Josie owns the chickens, but the house next door to her is being knocked down and rebuilt and the fence in between is coming down for a few months so she asked if we were interested in chicken-sitting.

Why, YES, we are!

Lily pleads on a daily basis for a 'real pet' and I have always loved the idea of having chickens roaming the backyard and of course delicious fresh eggs, so this was a fantastic opportunity to trial the whole shebang without committing for life or buying all the gear. Win/win!

So here they are. The kids are enraptured, following them around pretty much all day. Eli runs after them shrieking 'KICCKKKEN! KICCCKEEEN' and trying to pat them (he only occasionally succeeds). Josie has two little kids so I'm glad the chickens are used to little people! It has been  lovely to have the children be able to experience having animals around, learning how to care for them, and seeing the way they actually produce eggs - just amazing! Lily is constantly mothering them, making a nest for them out of grass pulled out the lawn, and trying to encourage them to drink from cups of water. Bless her!

Eli and Noah kept a close eye on the chickens. Eli developed this own theory that if he kept clapping, the chicken would eventually just come to him, charmed by his cuteness!

And of course - the eggs!! Coco and Chanel generally lay one each a day, so we have two delicious fresh eggs each morning. Yes, these eggs are absolutely free-range if you were wondering! Going to check for the eggs is a gorgeous little adventure, the kids are busting to get out the door each morning to go see them. It is so fun expectently checking the nest and collecting the eggs that have miraculously appeared. Lily squeals 'Good job, chickens!!! Good job making eggs, I'm so PROUD of you!!! Thank you for these lovely eggs!". Eli cheers 'Good boy! Good boy!". I hope these chickens recognise just how loved and appreciated they are around here.

Pictured is our very first egg, which Lily insisted placing in a special silver egg cup and on a little doily, giving it it's due honour and respect and pride of place on the counter.

Of course, where there are chickens, there are chicken droppings. Quite a lot in fact... the one downside to all this farmyard heaven! I was thinking it was going to be quite a lot of work to keep the backyard clear (especially as we all love to run around barefoot) but then realised I have these little helpers for a reason! ;)

It is a fantastic opportunity for the kids to learn some responsibility, learning to care for something consistently and diligently. I sat and talked with Lily, explaining that having pets is a lot of fun but they also need to be looked after, and that takes work. We enjoy the chickens, collecting their eggs and patting them but we also need to look after them by giving them food and water, keeping their cage clean and of course picking up the droppings. After all, if we can't look after them, then they won't be happy in our home and we won't be able to keep them. She whined a little at first at this realisation it's not all fun and games, but I was so thrilled and proud today... while I was hanging the washing, on her own initiative she went and got the spade I had assigned to the task, and cheerfully scooped up the 'business' all over the yard and flicking it into the garden. Atta girl!

(Of course, Eli wants to help too)

It is pretty cute to see the chickens wandering around the yard, warbling and pecking away in the garden. It is even cuter seeing how much the kids already love and adore them and are so keen to care for them.

Something tells me we are going to get pretty attached to these little chickies!


  1. Oh, I wish (please please please please please universe!) that our neighbour would do the same thing.. I would LOVE chickens but need to convince my lovely husband that it's a good idea :)
    For now, the neighbours chooks are as close as I get.
    Love the way your kids are interacting with their new feathered friends, and big congratulations on the fanceeeeee photo!

    1. Sarah, funny you mentioned that cos my hubby was NOT keen either!!! only bc my neighbour said we could give them back any time we wanted was he willing to give it a go :) and already he is a convert haha so maybe look into rent-a-chicken??!

  2. Fantastic story! I love all that positive feedback your children give the chickens for producing eggs. They obviously have a very good role model there :) What a brilliant learning experience for everyone. Sounds like you might have to look into get a couple of replacements when these go home. I have neighbours with bantams and they don't need much space, are great with kids, don't dig up the grass, and produce perfectly child-sized eggs. Maybe you could get a few of those?

    1. yes Tarnya I am already thinking its going to be hard to let them go!!! OOh the bantams sound good, yes might have to investigate and be prepared!

  3. What a great story! I love all the positive feedback they give the chickens, they obviously have a very good role model. Sounds like you might have to find a couple of replacements when these go back :)

  4. Huge development in your family - chickens! I can hear the squeals of delight from Lily & Eli through your photos. They are going to be well-loved chickies by the time they leave your home.
    Pets are such a great way of teaching responsibility. We actually borrowed a book from the library last week. It is a fiction text called "What a love about Pets" by Trace Moroney. It is a great book for exploring all the fun things about caring for pets but also the "boring" parts.

  5. Oh chickens are wonderful to have as pets! Our 2.5 year old loves feeding them, chasing them, collecting the eggs and for some reason thinks they can understand him when he screams at the top of his lungs at them! It is sweet all the praise they were given for producing wonderful eggs. And what fun having a treasure hunt to find them each day! They are also great for fertilising your garden and eating your kitchen scraps. What wonderful little factories chickens are! You'll have a ball with them in your family.

    1. yes they are amazing arent they, all the fun and learning they provide!


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