I have to confess, lately I've handed over the egg-collecting, chicken-feeding duties to my children. While I enjoy a good trek to the coop with my morning cup of coffee, I've been letting the girls handle the chore. I haven't been to the coop for much more than a nightly lock-in, in quite awhile.
Apparently, it's been ooooh, about 21 days.
Precisely the amount of time it takes for something magical to occur in an un-monitored nesting box.
This morning, the children on chicken-duty came blasting back into the house to let me know we had baby chicks.
No, we don't, I told them. Silly girls.
But I followed them out to the coop and before I even got to the door, I could hear that familiar peeping.
And there, perched in her nesting box was one of our Rhode Island Red hens with EIGHT little fluffy chicks tucked under her breast.
This, by far, has been one of the best surprises ever on our little farm.
Being the irresponsible farmer that I am, slinging all chicken duties onto the shoulders of my children, the girls confessed that this hen hasn't been letting them collect the eggs she was sitting on. Usually, the girls let me know someone is broody, so we can force her out of the coop during the day. But this time, the message never made it to me. And look what the lack of responsibility for my flock produced! (I'll have to try approach this more often. I wonder if a similar technique works on the vegetable garden?)
But I couldn't share this story without acknowledging that the chick's arrival today is full of irony.
Just yesterday, there was another rooster attack–this time on Elizabeth. It meant another call to my husband reminding him that something had to be done right away. And so yesterday evening, we all hid in the house, covering our ears while Dan took care of the rooster situation. And sparing details, the task proved to be quite complicated.
But today, those roosters, in a final statement of their immortaltiy and unwillingness to leave this earth, leave us with eight fluffy legacies. And chances are, I'll find myself attempting to befriend a rooster (or two! or more!) all over again.