When my daughter was little we raised chickens. One day we made this book together.
Olive had been asking and planning for chickens for a good year or two before we made the plunge.
She had devised a plan to keep them in her closet, but instead, we asked her to write up a proposal requesting materials and the cost, so her and her dad could build a coop… outside. We took a class on raising chickens too, through our local permaculture alliance: http://vpaaz.wildapricot.org/.
This is Jess. He was very protective over his brood and terrorized Olive’s little brother who was 4 at the time. There is no experience quite like having a rooster stalk you in your own backyard. We were worried that our son would develop a life-long fear of chickens because of it, but he seems to have turned out okay despite this experience. Those articles you read about the evolutionary tie between birds and dinosaurs… they’re true- roosters are related to the t-rex.
We got all of the chickens are our local feed store in Phoenix when they were chicks. They say that they are 99% certain that they will all be hens.
Jess looks so sweet and cuddly in this picture. Olive could always hold him.
This is a picture of Olive climbing our Mesquite tree to get her chickens down and into their coop. At dusk, if they were out, they always flew up the tree as high as they could go. Thank goodness Olive is an amazing tree climber. She would climb up, all the way to the top of the tree if she needed, and back down with a chicken in her arms.
Olive and her dad built the coop on the backside of the club house. They made it to keep out all the desert animals: coyotes, hawks, and owls… even the rhinos. They dug down and put bricks under the walls to keep the coyotes from digging under and have chicken wire over all the plywood, above and around the walls.
Here it is under construction.
Once it was all built, it became a great place for the Easter Bunny to hide eggs.
On my school computer I have a video of the chickens. On it, Olive tells everything about her chickens and their coop. Showing how they follow her, how she holds them, all their body parts, what they eat and where they lay their eggs. I’ll have to add the video to this post once school opens back up again. I love it so much because, each year when I show it, I get to see my kids when they were so little.
I really want to hatch eggs with my kindergarten kids, but haven’t gotten it together enough to do it yet. There are always so many other things to do and learn about. This year we’ve adopted a new reading program that that will take up a lot of time and energy. Just need to do it one of these years, that seems to be the best way for me to get things done… the lessons pop up with the kids as we go and I end up making the time to collect and create teaching resources as they are needed. Our district actually supplies the incubator to do it, I ordered it one time, but never got it assembled or eggs ordered. Almost, but not quite.
When we had the chickens, Olive brought them into the classroom a few times and gave a presentation on them to the class. One year, she brought her chickens and her close friend brought her pet pig. I can’t believe I didn’t document the event. You’d have to see it to believe it. Not sure how I got away with it. At one point the pig was chasing the chickens around the room and they were knocking over puzzles and materials everywhere. It was a really exciting day for all my students (and the teacher).