Why My Chickens are Priceless During COVID-19
Some years are remembered for the weather, in 2018 it seems like there were floods everywhere all summer. Some are remembered for events, like marriages, births, deaths, elections or vacations. I think 2020 will be remembered as the year of masks and Covid-19.
This was an experimental year because I tried both Cornish cross and Rainbow Ranger meat birds. I raised more birds than I have ever raised in one season. This added management challenges I hadn’t faced before. I learned some things this year. There are things I would do again, things I wouldn’t, and things that I’d like to experiment with further. I learned how many I can raise and transport at once. If you aren’t processing yourself, you must be able to transport them. An old minivan can only carry so many.
Processing is done. Time to call families for pick up. During a conversation, my cousin mentioned that it has been several months since she had seen our 101-year-old grandmother. I thought, “Wow, I get to see Gram and family every other week when they come to pick up eggs”. Egg pick up means we can visit on the front porch. Sometimes my sister, her children or mine, or her grandchildren will join us too. The porch lets us social distance and keeps Grandma safe.
Seeing my grandma is important to me. She is one of the people who taught me to care for my family. She set the example by making Sunday dinners, chicken and dumpling, or pork tenderloin and mashed potatoes and of course, she made the best green beans with buttery sauteed onions and mushrooms, for all of us for many, many years. It seems fitting that I should raise chickens, especially for her, after all the Sunday chicken dinners we had.
I’ve also gotten to know my son’s girlfriend better through chickens. She loves our chickens and texts to see if she is “allowed” to come over and clean the chicken coop. I gave her some hatching eggs for her birthday. She enjoyed the entire process of incubating and hatching. Plus she took care of them for a short time before she brought them here. The most important part, though, is that we get to talk and learn about each other while we clean the coop together. I can see how caring she is as I watch her with these chickens and chicks.
Our family has been the recipient of generosity from friends, neighbors, and relatives with whom we’ve shared eggs. We’ve been given chicken feed and scratch grains for our feathered friends, fresh homemade maple syrup, coffees, ice cream, wine, and homemade sangria. It is fun to see the creative, generous ways people will give back for human exchange and something as simple as eggs.
My mom isn’t a fan of going out these days due to Covid-19, but she is ok with visiting on the front porch. It struck me how much of a blessing the chickens are for Mom and me. We have very practical reasons to get together with our family, friends, and neighbors. We share eggs, produce, and meat when we have it. We probably wouldn’t see nearly as much of my grandma or others if we didn’t have our chickens. The hens provide daily entertainment, companionship, and give us breakfast. What more could someone ask of a chick you can buy for a few dollars?
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