Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trying not to attach to the chickies

So we have chickens.

They're almost 2 weeks old and definitely growing. And dumb. Very dumb. They're cute, though, and funny and we're enjoying them.

But I don't want to get attached.

And in many ways, I'm not. I don't feel the same for them as I have for pets in the past. I don't swoon over them like a new kitten or cuddle and buy toys like with a dog. Nope, none of that. In fact, when I'm thinking about them it's mostly about their care and when they'll start laying and making sure they'll be productive. Nothing abnormal, nothing too attach-y.

Yeah, I care about them. I mean, they're our flock, our first flock, our first pets even for a long time. I clean their brooder out every few days and keep adding bedding to keep it safe until then. I clean out their food and water at least once a day, and check on them 3-4 times daily to make sure they're comfortable. I handle them and talk to them and make sure they aren't limping and seem to be doing alright.

But they aren't like a pet cat. They aren't my new best buddy or companion. They're chickens. Dumb little birds who serve a purpose. And I know this "experiment" could fail and we could end up losing one, or all, and we could end up selling them all eventually or whatever. And even without the knowledge that they could very well not stay around for a long time, I still, like I said, don't feel the same for them as I've felt for pets in the past.

Which, I guess, is normal.

But I have to say... I was reading just a couple days ago about the lives of chickens in modern chicken farms. Reading about the horrid conditions, lack of space, psychological disorders, bleeding, starvation, drugs, injuries, a death sentence at age 2 or 3....

And I actually started crying.

For the first time I wanted to run in there and pick up those silly little peeps and kiss their heads and say "that will never be you! I promise!"

Because while I don't care for them as I did my childhood cats, I still care. I still want to provide the food and the water they require, not solely because this will provide us with nutritious eggs but because that's the humane thing to do. I want them to live in a safe environment, to have a warm roost and comfy nesting boxes, to live in clean conditions and to have the companionship of each other. I may not love them like the dog I got for Christmas when I was 4, but I still want them to thrive. Not just survive.

The more I read about how chickens are treated on factory farms, the more I'm glad we're doing this. And the more I'm willing to pay $5/dozen for the wonderful farm fresh eggs we get through our CSA. We can visit the farm the eggs come from and actually see the chickens who lay them, and in about 6 months it will be our own sweet, silly girls providing us with low cholesterol, highly nutritious, scrumptious eggs, fresh daily.

Now let's see how long I can resist backyard bees.... :-P As if Nik would let me!

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