I have been sitting here contemplating where to even start with this blog. We have been raising backyard chickens on and off for the last 15 years. I honestly have a long list of all the wonderful and also hard lessons our backyard adventure has taught us. Who knew that what started out as a way to get good quality eggs would turn into this!?!
Looking back one these past few years in particular, our chickens aren’t just egg producers, they’re our pets. They’re part of the family. And they have taught us valuable life lessons that will stick with our kids forever. So, for the fun of it, we will walk down memory lane and talk about a few of these lessons. Are you ready? Let’s go!
1. Our Kids Learned the Value of Life and How Fragile it Can Be.
We have hatched ducklings as well as chicks in an incubator multiple times. This process taught our kids patience, tedious care and the excitement of that first peep! It also taught them that sometimes, our little feathered friends are born and then don’t make it. Death of our pets has been extremely difficult for our kids (and us!), but our kids are learning that this life doesn’t go on forever. This is important to my husband and I as we raise our kids to think beyond themselves. We need to take good care of what God has entrusted to us. This includes our pets! Making sure they’re fed, have fresh water and their eggs are being collected regularly are just part of the gig. They know in order for the chickens to do well, it’s a family sport. We all pitch in and make sure the girls are well taken care of.
Waiting patiently for our baby Silkies to hatch!
2. Our Kids Learned the Value of Hard Work and Responsibility.
Cleaning out the chicken coop twice a year isn’t what any of us would classify as “fun”. However, if you live under our roof, you will get to be part of this less than appealing chore. If that isn’t bad enough, cleaning out the chicken coop in the middle of winter because of a broken pipe is far worse. And our boys did that twice this winter! They honestly did it without complaining. They know that in order to have pets, it takes work. Payment for their time didn’t hurt either. Haha! Our daughter will help me with a lot of photo shoots, helps my husband build roosting bars and fun things and does a great job helping with the day-to-day chores. With 37 chickens, the egg collecting is almost never ending!
3. Our Kids Learned Where Their Food Comes From
We live in rural Minnesota in a farming community. Our kids have simply grown up with livestock, combines running in the fields, having a large garden and have been on multiple field trips to family farms. They know where their milk, produce and bread come from. But, man, the look on their faces when they saw an egg come out for the first time? Priceless!!! By feeding the chickens, giving them treats and making sure they’re getting a well-balanced diet, they’ve seen the benefits in their breakfast! They’ve watched how the hens have to work each day to lay their eggs. They know that when we give them healthy things, what we consume is in turn good for our own bodies.
We don’t eat our pets!
4. Our Kids Learned That When Momma is Happy, Everyone is Happy!
Haha! Well, this seems to be a bit overstated, but when it comes to my chickens, it’s true! I love it when we’re all outside working towards a common goal. Sometimes, that’s working in the yard or the garden. But when we’re all working together on the coop? That’s bliss! We’ve tried to raise our kids to know the value of hard work and responsibility. You can’t learn that on a couch playing video games. So, even though we’ve had some pets I could have done without (goats anyone?), our kids know the value of hard work and responsibility. They all have a great work ethic and I’m confident they will add to our society. We have built things for the coop; they’ve participated in a lot of my blogs and have learned that sometimes we have to do things that aren’t always fun. Helping others is something we want our kids to find joy in. They have helped me so much and I’m so thankful!
Mixing up a dust bath
Raising backyard chickens isn’t hard. I think so many people think it’s going to be this giant undertaking. To get started is a bit of work but when you’re in the groove of laying hens, it’s almost a breeze. We have laughed at our chickens and cried when one dies. We look forward to our time spent outside with them and are thankful for each year we have with them. If your kids are asking for chickens, get them! They will teach your kids, more than your kids will teach the chickens…I promise!
Until next time,
–The Wing Lady