Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicken Heaven?

I had an interesting conversation with Ella on the way home from the park today.  But first, a quick (ok let's get real here, I'm pretty long-winded) background: 

The last 2 weeks of April we had a wild turkey that lived in our yard.  I've never been a pet person, nor have I ever intended to be one.  But for whatever reason the kids (and myself) got really attached to this turkey...'Chitty' is what we called him.  Every time we looked out the window he was just out there doing his thing.  He even started coming up on the porch, which the kids got a kick out of.  Then one day just as shrewdly as he had come, Chitty was gone.  After 4 days of not seeing Chitty, I knew that he would not be coming back. 

"I miss the turkey."  I had told Brian.  "I'll just buy you one"  was his response.  It was from this conversation that we decided to get chickens...they were to be my Mother's Day present.  'Yeah, right' was the feeling that I had going to bed that night.  But much to my surprise, Brian, in his 'obsessive researcher' state, was dead set on getting me those chickens.  He carefully selected each breed...which ones laid brown eggs, which laid white.  Which ones were more 'kid friendly'.  Who are chicken predators?  When he wants to know about something, he practically throws himself into it full force.  It's endearing really.

So anyway, he decided on 6 chickens.  He ordered our chickens from mypetchicken.com.  One breed in particular he liked the best, but she wasn't due to hatch until a week after the others, you see they ship them at 1 day old all together...so I had to wait for my chickens.  Mother's Day for me was May 18.  That's the day my chickens arrived.  It was funny really.  We got a call from the Post Office that our 'chickies were here' and 'do we want to pick them up or have them delivered?'  Well needless to say, I got a knock at my front door about 15 minutes later and our chickens were delivered to us by a mail carrier.  They were in a little white box with holes in it and all you could hear was non-stop chirping.  "That was probably really annoying"  I told the mail lady.  "Not really" she said.  "They stopped chirping a few times and I had to thump the box to make sure they were still alive." 
The kids were SO EXCITED.  We had been talking about the chicks for 2 weeks now.  We immediately named all of them...Henrietta, Tuesday, Turkey (in honor of Chitty, who started this whole deal), Georgia, Olivia and Peggy (whom we waited on).  They then lived in our kitchen for the next month...all except Georgia. 

April 4 to June 7 was probably the most stressful time in my (and I'll speak for Brian) our life.  Brian was working on getting his Chiropractic office up and running.  We completely renovated the entire space (with an extremely huge amount of help from family) Laying floor, tile, knocking out walls, hanging dry wall, sanding, painting, re-painting, rock veneering a wall, building a front desk with rock veneer, did I mention painting?  I'll advertise for a second here and say if you are interested in how it turned out, or if you are local to our area, his Facebook page button is in the left hand column! 

By the time the chicks arrived the grunge work was done, and it was mainly decorating and touch-ups.  We were still spending practically all of our days at the office, so the third day we decided to bring the chicks with us.  The kids liked this, especially since they had spent the previous day away from them.  Instead of bringing them home that night (knowing that we would be back early in the morning), we left them up there.  It's a 30 minute drive, so we were trying to spare them all of the back and forth.  Keep in mind too, they were just in a box with a heat lamp, what's the difference where they are?  Well when we got in that morning, everything was fine, all chicks accounted for.  Ella noticed something was off.  "Look Mommy, Georgia has poop."  "Oh, Ella don't touch!  Let's go wash your hands!"  Then we all piled back in the van to go to Lowes.  Well, I never went back to check on Georgia.

When we got back from Lowes an hour later, we discovered that Georgia was dead.  In our pre-chick studies, we learned that in a chick's first week they sometimes have poop that will (for lack of a better term) 'paste them up' causing them to become constipated and ultimately kill them.  I had been watching them close, and even had to wash one once before.  This must have happened to Georgia in the middle of the night.  Ella noticed and I forgot to go back and check.  It's such a guilty feeling.  I knew I wasn't cut out for this whole pet thing.

Lucky for me though, Georgia has not been forgotten.  About every couple of weeks, Ella randomly announces, "Georgia died."  Like so random- during dinner, driving in the car, at bedtime...to which we respond "Yes, Georgia did die."  I'm just glad she doesn't continue to say "You killed her and I'll never forgive you!" 

Our chickens are 4 months old now, and Brian built them a lovely Luxury Suite Coop.  We've been letting them out during the day and the kids like to play with them.  It's funny how they have their same personalities as they did when they were chicks.  By personalities I mean they will let you hold them, or they will try to run.  None of them peck or are aggressive though.  Turns out the 'kid friendly' one is actually the kid friendly one! (Henrietta- Ella's favorite) Peggy did turn out to be our favorite, she's very plush.  We aren't going to eat them or anything- these are our pets, I use that term loosely.  They're more like patrons, I am expecting eggs soon.

So back to this afternoon's conversation with Ella.  I'll put her in pink to avoid conversational confusion. 

We pulled up next to a mail truck at a stop light.  "Look Mommy, the mail car!" They love it when the mail comes.  "Yeah, cool..."  "Georgia died."  "Yes, Georgia did die."  "Tuesday and Georgia came in a mail box."  "They sure did, you're really smart to remember that, Ella."  "Is the mail car gonna bring Georgia back?"  "No, Georgia lives with Jesus now."  Here we go.  The kids know the word die(d), but we never went much further with it.  "Is Jesus gonna give Georgia a blessing and give her back to us?"  Intrigued by her thought process I smiled to myself.  "No, Georgia is going to stay with Jesus and live with him in Heaven."  'Oh this is just getting bad' I thought to myself.  What's next?  Chicken Heaven?  "Does Jesus have chickens just like me?"  "Oh yeah, (I had to stop myself from laughing) Jesus has a whole bunch of chickens!"  She was content with this synopsis, although I don't think the "Georgia died" statements will stop anytime soon.  Brian and I have often wondered what the kids think when we tell them we are having chicken for dinner.  Do they associate our near and dear pet chickens with their dinner?  Oh, the innocence of a child...wouldn't it be nice if we all were that simplistic?             


  1. Looks like somebody has been using picnik!!! isnt is the BEST! I wanna come meet those chickens!

  2. I'm very proud how the Granchickens are turning out! They are something to be proud of! You guys are doing an awesome job! Love- The Grammama

  3. these pictures are adorable :) how adorable were their questions? haha