Monday, April 22, 2013

My Niece and Her Chickens

I am proud to share an article that is posted on Home Depots site about my niece,  Ivy.

Cooped Up: Chicken Keeping For Kids

Lynn Coulter 

Ivy with chickens eggs

Like the gangsters they’re named for, Bonnie and Clyde keep trying to escape–but these two aren’t in the federal pen. They live in a chicken pen, where they’re doted on by their owner and keeper, 16-year-old Ivy Falls.

Ivy, who lives with her family near the Georgia-Tennessee border, fell in love with chickens around age 12, when she took part in a 4-H project for seventh graders.

“(The 4-H leaders) gave us 11 hens and one rooster, and we had to raise them from baby chicks. We were supposed to take them back when they were grown, so we could be graded, but we decided not to. We liked our chickens and wanted to keep them,” Ivy says.
Ivy feeding chickens
Ivy has been smitten with her feathered friends ever since, and says their fresh eggs taste a lot better than the ones you can buy. “The store-bought ones taste fake to me now. It’s like the difference in eating stale bread and fresh bread.”

While Ivy’s original chicks were Black Orpingtons, she and her mom and dad now own bantams, game chickens, and a few Rhode Island Reds. Her dad built them a covered pen to keep out predators. “We live on a hill surrounded by woods,” Ivy explains, “and we’ve had snakes, raccoons, foxes, possums, bobcats, and coyotes. Hawks are the number one predators.”

Keeping chickens can be great for children, to help them learn about sustainability and where food comes from. They develop responsibility, too, as they feed and care for the birds.

PItch-A-Fit , one of Ivy’s roosters, became a favorite pet. “We got Pitch and three other chickens from the pet store, and they lived in the house when we brought them home, until they were old enough to go outside.” Ivy admits that Pitch became–well, spoiled.
Ivy's rooster

“My mother would hold him and baby him, and when she’d put him down, he’d start screaming and wouldn’t stop.” Ivy laughs. “He was a sweet little chicken to her, but he didn’t like anyone else. He got to be a brat that would ignore everyone else and walk around like he was a king.”

Ivy has named some of her other birds, too: there’s Tiny, Cookie, and one most of us probably wouldn’t want to meet whose name is Schizo– as in “schizophrenic.” Some chickens can get mean when they get older, Ivy says, so while keeping chickens can be a good experience for kids, adults should always supervise.
 Ivy gathering eggs
Ivy’s a sophomore in high school now, hoping to major in music when she goes to college, so she can keep playing her clarinet, piano, and oboe. Until then, she’ll take care of Bonnie and Clyde and the rest of her flock.

If you’re thinking of getting chickens for your kids, Ivy recommends trying bantams. “They make good pets, if you just want chickens to play with. They’re tiny and stay tiny, even when they grow up. They’re easy to take of and don’t need a big pen. They even have tiny eggs about the size of your thumb that can eat. They’re really cute.”

Images: Teresa Falls


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

How fun. Chickens are such great additions. But I'm biased of course.

Ms. CrankyPants said...

That's so cool! You have good reason to be proud.

Gail said...

HI - great post, love the pictures, the scenery is lovely and all the 'chicken-care' is touching. Your niece is amazing.
Love Gail

Debbie said...

True confession: I have always wanted to raise my own chickens. We live in a subdivision with a covenant so that's not going to happen any time soon.

I'm so impressed with her, and what a great story about it.

Wanda said...

What a neat way to teach kids responsibility.

Karen said...

Oh cool! I always wanted chickens, but we live within city limits, so they are not allowed. Looks like ivy is having a lot of fun, and raisng some great chooks!

Aries said...

I remembered when I was very young, my grandma gave me and my sister a chicken each as pet. Said someone gave it to her. At that time I wonder why others had puppy or kitty as pet and I get chicken instead but later fell in love with the chicks.

Ginny said...

This is AWESOME, really an interesting article! And I never heard of getting a chicken at a pet store! Funny names, good ones for remembering, too. She is a smart girl, and a beautiful one.

Small Kucing said...

Yup...fresh eggs taste better.

Too bad over here we dont get much of those coz it's kinda illegal to raise chicken in town . Gotta have all sorts of permits and stuffs like that.

Elephant's Child said...

What a lovely article. And kudo to Ivy and her family. Spoilt rooster? My partner's sister had one which used to sit in her lap and watch television with her in the evenings. She DOES love her chooks.

Birdie said...

I know she is 16 and does not want to be adorable but she is! What a great post!

PS- I have been wanting chickens for ages now so I really appreciate the info. on bantams.

Sandra said...

I really enjoyed this chicken story, what a fun tale it is... and he is a beautiful rooster. your niece is beautiful to....

My Journey With Candida said...

I think it is a GREAT idea to raise your own chickens for the eggs and as pets too

Betsy Adams said...

HI Kim, Ivy is a beautiful girl --who truly loves her chickesn... I laughed at the rooster being SO spoiled... How funny!!!!!

Thanks for sharing with us about Ivy and her chickens.


Karen Mortensen said...

Good for Ivy. Wish more kids could do stuff like that.

S. Etole said...

Your niece sounds like a wonderful young lady.

Becky Jane said...

Awesome article! She is beautiful and I agree with her that farm fresh eggs are so much more tasty! (and nutritious)

My Odd Sock said...

Wow this is so cool!
Congrats to Ivy & her chicks.
Her rooster is a good-looking good-looking as a rooster can be, I guess!

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