Every year for the past four years, we have been blessed with an increase in our flock of chickens. The first graders of Minshew Elementry get the wonderful experience of incubating eggs every spring, watching them hatch, and caring for them for the first few weeks of the chicks’ lives.
Each year we go to the school to talk to the first graders about the chicks’ new home and what the rest of their lives will be like. We always get a wonderful response to Augie’s picture and how his job as a farm dog is to protect the chickens. We stress how important a chicken’s job is on the farm, not just producing eggs, but giving us compost and manure to help the soil and the crops.
We are always asked great questions! How old does a chicken get? How many eggs do chickens lay? What happens if a chicken eats a rock? We explained that a chicken can live up to twelve years. That they lay one egg a day from Spring to Fall, but lay only a few during the winter time. And chickens do eat rocks, because like most birds this helps them digest their food.
This year we brought one of our farm fresh, pasture-raised, cage free eggs and an egg from the store from what I like to call an “unhappy” chicken. We talked about what good food, sunshine, and exercise do for our bodies. It is the same with animals. Give them what God intended and they are healthier and happier. We will also be healthier when we eat the eggs or the meat, because of the way they were raised.
When the eggs were broken in to the dishes the difference was obvious! The egg from our chickens was a beautiful golden yellow and the store bought egg was a pale yellow. And we assured the children that the taste difference is huge!
Every year each first grader writes a letter to the farmer. They tell us the names of their chicks and ask questions as well. These are always great fun to read! My favorite this year asked: what are you having for dinner? Do you like McDonalds?
It is always a very enjoyable experience to bring a little taste of farm life to the first graders of Minshew! They are always relieved that even though the chicks have to leave they are going to a farm with plenty of grass and bugs to eat. And we are always glad to give a couple dozen new chicks a new home.