No. 2’s voice sounded sweetly muffled under the quilt. “What’s today’s date?” It was early on a Friday morning, and I was still waking up.
”Ummm, 24th maybe?”
”Only five days to go!” No. 2’s head appeared now, his eyes bright with excitement. “I can’t wait!!”
”For what?” I inquired mildly, although I already knew the answer.
”Mom!” No. 2 scowled at me. We’d been playing this game for nearly a month now, and I had to laugh. We were waiting for March 29, when our chicks were scheduled to hatch. No. 2 Son had picked out the breeds he wanted to add to our flock weeks ago, and we’d placed our order. I admit I’m a real sucker for anything cute and chicks are certainly no exception. Our adult chickens are doing well, but it was time to add to the flock so we’d have a more or less continuous flow of eggs as our older chickens “retired” from laying. And no, we have no plans to eat them!
The Farmer’s Almanac was quite right in their prediction, as far as I was concerned. The Almanac predicted this year that the next favorite pet would be the chicken. A couple of years ago I would have laughed at that, but now that we have a flock of our own I totally understand. Hens raised from chicks and accustomed to people are friendly — often funny — and certainly smart. Actually our rooster was, too, and would have been welcome to stay had he not been so noisy. Mr. Minnie took great pleasure in raisin’ a ruckus at the slightest excuse, and we eventually gave him away to a friend of ours who has a big farm.
Finally, March 29 rolled around, and we were the first to arrive the following morning to pick out our new additions. I let No. 2 do all the picking because I’m not good at this; I’d cheerfully take them all. No. 2 looked them all over, and eventually picked out four Araucanas and two brown Leghorns (remember Foghorn Leghorn? He was white, though ).
Through our research, No. 2 Son had discovered that Araucanas lay colored eggs. A mix of lavender, pink, green and other colors. Next year, we hope to have Real Easter eggs!! We’ll keep you posted. In any case, Darling Spouse, No. 1 Son, No. 2 Son, and I have picked out names for our Chicken Littles — Snuggles, Prissy (after Miss Prissy, of course!), Marge, Missy, Clucky and Lucky. Darling Spouse (who is also a soft touch for anything cute) is already worried about fitting all the new additions into our current coup; I’m wondering how many (if any!) will turn out to be roosters. Still, as I listen to them chirp and start to explore their new environment (a small tub — suitably heated with a warm lamp — within the safety of our four-season porch, and under the watchful eyes of No. 2 Son and me), those concerns seem far away. First things first: Keep them all healthy and comfortable. The rest of the pieces, I feel certain, will fall into place.
And that’s as it should be.
Jenn is a freelance writer and journalist, and a realtor at ERA Squanicook Associates in Townsend. Her first book: “What? No Spaghetti and Meatballs!?!” is available at stores and online. She and her family live in Pepperell. Jenn can be reached at email@example.com.
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