Because a busy house with six kids and a dog was a little too chill for me, I decided to let the kiddos get some chickens.
I did my research and discovered a few things. Firstly, there are bylaws that prevent families from having chickens within the city limits. I did not view this as an obstacle – when you have great neighbours, bylaws become something to be ignored. My next concern was what I’d do with the chickens in the winter. Dealing with heating systems or putting them in the garage was not an option for me. Problem solved – I discovered that you can rent chickens for the season!
Rent a chicken I did. Two, actually. I went to the good people at Rent the Chicken and they hooked us up with a couple of hens, a chicken coop, feed, and all the clucky accessories a family could want or need. The chickens arrived at our house in May, and after a summer of fresh eggs, they’ll get picked up and returned to the farm in October.
All was going swimmingly well until this past weekend when an off-leash dog got at one of them. It was a bit of a disaster……you can imagine feathers everywhere, children’s screams of terror and a general sense of chaos and panic. The poor dog-owner was devastated so while the kids consoled the chicken, I was consoling her.
“Princess” passed relatively peacefully an hour later. As word spread around the neighbourhood, friends started collecting in on their bets. Apparently there were “chicken survival” pools in place among my “friends.” Before long, they were emailing me dead chicken jokes and chicken recipes. Too soon, people!
Next came the task of burying Princess. My kids and their cousins briefly considered taking it to the park and setting up a mock sacrifice scene so that rumours of cults and sacrificial killings would start spreading through the neighbourhood. Luckily, they thought better of it and gave the chicken a proper burial, including prayers and a makeshift gravestone.
I reported the untimely death to my Rent a Chicken friends in hopes that we could replace our lost friend. Sure enough, they accommodated the request and the kids are all clucky with excitement once again.
Life on the farm can be a reality check when it comes to life cycles. Has your family jumped into having unusual pets or farm animals? I’m thinking next up for me is a pygmy goat or a Shetland pony. I may just test how forgiving my neighbours can be.