DiscoveriesFarm Critters

Chicken Surprise

We knew from the beginning that there would be surprises.

How could there not be?

We figured surprises were bound to come up. It seemed like relatively uncharted territory, a brother/sister pair who, along with their spouses , decided to buy a 10 acre farm together. And start a business. And run the business together. All while raising loads of children, many of whom experience disabilities.

It just seemed like the kind of set up that could lend itself to surprises along the way, is all I’m saying.

Late on the day that we closed on the property, I received a call from our realtor. She shared all the usual details about closing and what time we would have legal possession of the farm, then, told me that I was also the proud new owner of some chickens that were left to us.

It felt so random, but perfect at the same time. I’ve always dreamed about keeping hens, and loved the charm of farm-fresh eggs gathered from the nearby nests. This felt too good to be true.

I hustled to the farm, curious to see if there were really chickens left in our care.

Clearly, this called for a selfie. I was a chicken mama! Of 9 hens!

Sure enough, there were chickens!

After texting an embarrassing number of people, I eagerly went into the barn to demonstrate my solid flock-tending skills. As I opened the bag of feed I’d brought with me, the pile of hay next to me exploded as a rogue chicken ran out. (Turns out, there were 10 chickens!) A near heart-attack and several ridiculous city-girl-turned-farmer tactics later, the escapee chicken was successfully herded back to the coop with a pitchfork and a loose length of pipe. (There was no photo documentation of that process, thank goodness!)

Every part of raising chickens has been a surprise as we’ve settled into life on a farm.

Like how much I enjoy having a reason to get up early and be outside at the start of my day.

Or how funny and endearing their quirky personalities are.

Or how much I enjoy singing to the hens in the morning, and checking on ‘the girls’ when I come home from work. How much our kids love the chickens– watching them, digging worms for them, caring for them, gathering eggs, and just enjoying being around them.

Perhaps the biggest surprise has been that all of our kids CAN be around the chickens. One of our kiddos, KG, has multiple anaphylactic allergies which include eggs, dust, and many types of animal dander. Miraculously, he’s been able to be around and care for the hens! (Outside of a few ill-fated fish and hermit crabs, these chickens are the first pets they’ve ever known.)

This guy now considers himself a chicken-whisperer, able to connect with the hens “in their own language”

We originally wondered if it would be tough for KG to be around chickens without being able to eat the eggs that they provided. The power of connection between a boy and his chickens, though, appears strong enough to conquer any difficult feelings. In fact, he seemed eager to capitalize on the reality that his egg allergy meant that we would likely have a surplus of eggs. Motivated by the promise of earning a ‘finders fee’ for securing buyers, he created his own marketing materials and jumped into the world of selling farm fresh eggs.

So much of farm life has been a surprise, from the first 9 (then 10!) chickens to how our kids have absolutely fallen in love with life immersed in nature. It’s been the most wild surprise to see how much of this journey hasn’t been exactly what we planned, but has been exactly what we hoped for when we jumped into this adventure.