The continuing saga of chickens…
My son Quinn, 16, has decided that he might want to be a farmer. He created a whole plan for raising chickens and sat down with his dad and I. I said NO, NO, NO, NEVER. My husband said wait a minute he really wants to do this and we should support him. I envisioned the The Evil Chicken Villains all over again. I lost the fight, but for months I didn’t hear about the chickens and I settled back peacefully thinking this was just a passing phase and was relieved, that is until the day Quinn brought a dozen fertilized eggs home on the bus. How did he get them you ask? “Oh my friends that have chickens sold them to me.” He said with a brilliant smile. “Don’t worry mom, I’m taking them back to school tomorrow to put in the biology room’s incubator.” Yes, mama was a bit horrified.
Everyday, Quinn, came home with stories of the “eggs”. His teacher taught him to candle them. She taught him a hard lesson too, that when the baby in the egg dies it must be discarded. Life is exciting and death no so much. I looked at my son and loved him so much. He fought hard to have these eggs and now I was in his court.
And then it happened, on Mother’s Day, the biology teacher called and said “they’re hatching if you want to see”. By the time we got Quinn’s gear together and to the school there were about 3 hatched. It was amazing and he was giddy with excitement. We brought 4 home that day and while he hoped for more it wasn’t looking good. That night he got another call from the teacher while he and his dad were at a scouting meeting. Neal ran up and got the little guy while Quinn was in his meeting.
The next day he brought 2 home on the bus. There was one last egg and they just weren’t sure if it was dead or alive but the decided to wait a day. By the time he got out of school Gizmo, as she’s named had hatched. He brought her home on the bus too, being super careful to keep her warm. She was much smaller than the others and he was concerned. All together we had 8 live chicks out of a dozen. The Life expectancy was that 6 would live, but his teacher, who deserves a ton of credit for this project, told him it was all the extra TLC he had given them.
My next thoughts were, is this child going to take care of these chicks? He informed me he was now a “Chicken Daddy” and they were his top priority. To his credit he would wake up to check his chicks and they were the last thing he checked before going to bed.
He has read online and in books how to keep his chickens healthy. How to keep them their best and he thought it would be a breeze, until he realized the others were picking on the baby. I told him the stories of ours eliminating the weakest link and he was bound and determined that wasn’t going to happen to his little Gizmo. Every moment he was home he started taking her around the yard with him and he built her a little box to keep her away from the other chicks. After a couple of weeks he reintroduced her and while she’s still the smallest she’s doing well.
Coming next the making of the coop.