While I was in the hardware store this past weekend, I heard cheeping and turned around to find lots of little chicks eating happily.
In the hardware store?
This was something new for me. And I couldn't believe my gut reaction that I wanted to get a couple and take them home. They were only $2 each. They wouldn't cost that much. And they would be such a good learning tool for Desert Girl and Desert Boy. They both love animals. And did I mention how cute they were?
Plus they would help me recover from my appallingly petless childhood (unless you count the goldfish that survived two days--Mom and Dad, I'm still traumatized by that).
Before I reached in and grabbed a couple, I thought a little more.
Q: What would I feed them?
A: Um, grain? I think. Cracked corn? Where the heck do you get cracked corn? Would I have to go scavenge in the fields? Could they just eat the silage the ranch cows eat? Or maybe one of those big bags of chicken feed that they have conveniently nearby would suffice.
Q: Where would I put them?
A: In a box in the house so we could watch them grow and ooh and awe over how cute they are.
Q: But what about when they get bigger?
A: I guess we would need a fence or something. And a place for them to go inside so the big owls don't eat them. And we'd need straw. And then would they lay eggs? Eww, the thought of putting my hand under hens' butts to feel for eggs is kind of gross. And if I wanted eggs, how many chicks would I want? And if we didn't want eggs and instead slaughtered the chickens, who would pluck them? That sounds not very fun to me.
Q: But aren't they so absolutely cute and wouldn't the kids just adore them?
I asked the clerk how chick sales were going, and he said really well. They had already sold out two of the five crates they had.
Who were all these people buying chicks?
He also said that it was amazing how fast they had grown in just the last week. Well, the whole time I watched them all they did was eat and cheep. All that eating had me a little nervous, as what goes in, must come out.
So my inner voice of reason discouraged me from buying any chicks this year.
But I've already talked to my husband about where we would have chickens if we decided we wanted them.
And other animals.
And he has a plan.
And it won't be long till the kids are in 4-H, and I don't want to the totally incompetent 4-H mom who knows nothing about raising poultry--or goats--or sheep--or pigs.
So maybe next year...