The other Thumper walked into my office announcing that four of the five chickens that he had been minding for our neighbors were dead, kaput, no longer.
Our neighbors have gone to Hawaii for a month and before they left entrusted my boys to take care of their chickens. Every morning, Thumper and Axel would sleepily come down the stairs and tell me that they were off to collect the eggs. In the small amount of time that my boys were caring for the chickens, I saw a competence and intention that I had not yet seen. Not only did the importance of routine and care come into their lives but they also quickly became short order cooks cooking breakfast for the entire family. I was so grateful that the children were completely embracing this opportunity.
Mike Tyson was the only chicken to survive. She was the fastest and the most difficult to catch and evidently, the smartest. It was horrible calling the family and letting them know that their chickens, raised from eggs, were gone with nothing left but the feathers. How does one replace the love and care that those children gave to their little feathered friends.
As for the boys, Baddy and I are delicately trying to teach them a lesson on responsibility, without devastating them.
Through further investigation we discovered that the boys had been closing the door to the chicken coop but the latch did not work properly. Although it is a huge disappointment to know that the children are not yet ready to be responsible, it did give us a glimpse into the benefits for children of taking care of animals.
The family was most gracious and understanding despite their misfortune. I had already ordered more baby chickens and my neighbor was going to take care of them until the family came home. I promised that when they returned from Hawaii I was going to have them over for an apologetic dinner. I just have to make sure that I remember not to serve chicken.
There is now an empty feeling I have when the kids wake up in the morning. No more incentive for the boys, no more fresh eggs and I miss the rooster crowing in the afternoons.
Maybe this little experience will lead to a chicken coop in our backyard. I think I’ll talk to Baddy about it after he takes a break from preparing our yard for sod. We must take one step at a time.