An early pandemic purchase I am happiest about is chicks. For many years, my twelve-year-old son asked my husband and me for chickens. He’d researched different breeds, ideal coup dimensions, and the best feed to give the chickens. He even prepared a slideshow and presented it to my daughter, husband, and me to show us that he was well versed in ornithology.
My dad and grandfather raised chickens during my entire childhood, so I know firsthand what it takes to raise chickens. I had no interest in getting chickens, and my son’s due diligence didn’t convince me to support his dream of raising chickens.
Then COVID-19 happened.
Early during the pandemic, my son asked us to buy chickens. My husband and I knew that he needed something more than a “no.” He needed support and an outlet. We emphatically said, “Yes!” and purchased twelve chicks for him.
My son built a brooder box for the chicks and woke up early each morning to give them the care and attention they needed. Virtual school was the new norm when we purchased the chicks, so he set up his computer station next to the brooder box and spent most of his day with the chicks.
As the chickens grew, our family bonding and love grew. We worked as a team to build a chicken coop, or as I call it, a chicken mansion. We painted the building barnyard red and named the mansion “Kind Friendly Chickens.” When the chickens were about two months old, they moved from the brooder box into their new home.
I am glad my son was persistent and patient with his request. Thanks to him, our family grew during the pandemic. We love the chickens, and according to both of my children, the chickens help them in the following ways.
Social isolation is hard for my kids. They can’t see or hang out with their friends, but they are connected to the chickens and spend time with them every day. They talk to the chickens and sometimes play music for them. This connectedness strengthened their morale and took away a lot of the loneliness they had before the chickens.
The chickens help the children learn empathy. My son went to the coop one morning to collect eggs. He quickly ran into our house crying because one of the chickens looked sick. He and my daughter went into “let’s do something about this” mode, brought the chicken inside, and asked my husband to schedule an appointment with a farm animal vet. The vet prescribed some medicine, and the chicken is thriving thanks to the care and empathy my children showed.
The kids make sure the chickens have enough food and water and they take the chickens out of the coop, one at a time, to give each one special attention. I’ve seen this increased responsibility show up in other behaviors too. My son now cleans his room without prompting, and my daughter voluntarily does the dishes. I thank the chickens for this!
The chickens lay about a dozen eggs a day, so the kids share eggs with others. Our only neighbor, who passed away during the pandemic, received our first dozen eggs. The kids wanted her to be the first one to have some of their eggs because she was so kind to them. Since then, they’ve shared several dozen eggs with others.
The children wanted to sell eggs to generate income. My daughter is nine and enjoys art and graphic design, so she designed a business logo. She and my son decided to split the profits from the sales, and together, they are learning how to market, acquire customers, and package their products. They take great pride in their work and the quality of the eggs.
Purchasing the chicks was the best purchase that my family made during the pandemic. The chickens are a part of our family, and they gave us a lot of hope in 2020.
Want to share your pandemic experiences. Check out some writing prompts via Creators Hub.