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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

a bit of a zoo

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the girls' friends are always excited (even the teenagers!) to spend some time with our wee menagerie. currently, we have two chickens - a rhode island red aptly named "Rhoda" and a buff orpington (from our original flock!) who answers to Chick-a-Dee; two red-eared sliders (Giselle and Juliette); and of course our pup Moxie. i spent this morning cleaning ponds, coops, treating a sour crop and conditioning a turtle shell. we don't take pet-ownership lightly - and this little zoo has had its ups and downs - lost loves and all. i have taken on ailments i never dreamt of (some the stuff of nightmares!) and am proud of the lessons e and k have learned through the journey.

i often wonder if i'd do it again.

the dog - most definitely.

the turtles (who came to us as rescues)- most likely.

the chooks (a mix of raised-from-chick and rescues) - harder call.

i love them dearly. chickens have so much more personality than i ever imagined. but i am a lousy farmer. i get too attached. and their care has been the most demanding. the girls adore them. we all do. especially Chick, who at six, is now an old lady hen, no longer laying and preferring to go to bed at 3:30 in the afternoon these winter months. (chicken life expectancy runs about 8 yrs, sheltered from predators and illness.)

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i've written about backyard chicken keeping here and here.

and a bit on dog ownership here.

i imagine there could well be a horse in our future. i have one very passionate rider on my hands. and i do believe these home-zoo experiences will have prepared us for much.

the love and companionship of an animal - big or small (e used to play hide-and-seek with her goldfish!)- as well as the lessons of responsibility and care outweigh any downside in my book.

so chooks then - yes. i'd do it again, happily. i'll temper that with when we started was the right time in our lives. i'd do it again with young kids. (i don't think i'd start again now.) but who knows. bolstered by what our "zoo" has taught us all. there may be more ahead.

2 comments:

BunkleLife said...

the menagerie of animals that made their marks on my childhood & teen years (snakes, turtles, quail, fish, cats, dogs, budgies, love birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, mice - ok the mice were food for the snakes, admittedly - a wolf eel and a leased horse or two)were some of the best teachers I've had. And watching my Mum chop up a worm into tiny pieces to feed a knot of tiny baby snakes is something I will never forget (she is worm phobic, so this was a big deal, but keeping the offspring of the snake we didn't realize was "with snakelets" healthy was a BIGGER deal) So great that your two have had a chance to grow up with your wee zoo. And I KNOWS the horse crazy! Not a thing easily surpressed :)

Tracy Bartley said...

I love that Jan! I do hope that my girls carry the crazy of their mama - and my love for all creatures with them. I know I am inspired by their love :) And inspired by their creature teachers. xo (A lease would likely be the way we'd go!)