The Hesitant Spouse Coming to Love Chickens June 6, 2014
When we first got chickens so many years ago, my husband was not especially enthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong. He was never against backyard chickens. Theoretically, he liked the idea of being able to produce our own eggs. Plus real eggs are fabulous even before cracking—not boring like store eggs!
Even better, we had a wonderful friend, David, who had kept chickens for decades, and who shared his delicious eggs with us occasionally, so we already knew how delicious real eggs are.
But… meh. Despite all that, he didn’t know much about keeping chickens—and he wasn’t that interested in finding out. Chicken knowledge would be my job. I was happy with that. So was he. He’d still get to enjoy the “hen fruits” of our labors. And I thought he’d eventually he’d be coming to love chickens—at least a little! Skip ahead the intervening years, past the “okay, baby chicks are pretty adorable” stage, where he realized that he did enjoy watching the babies and holding them (who wouldn’t?).
Skip past the stage where he learned all their names and came to appreciate how friendly they are.
Skip past the summer he patrolled the perimeter of the yard with a shotgun when we had a predator snatching hens in broad daylight, and the way he began to love handfeeding them.
Skip past his dedication to our blind hen, Hildy.
He has now reached new heights of chicken loving of which I wasn’t aware. This weekend, we had family visiting our farm from the other side of the country. I was out in the yard while he was on the porch chatting. I heard someone ask him, “Do you really need roosters?” Well, I’ve answered questions about chicken keeping for so many years now, the answer came to me without even thinking. But I wasn’t near enough to answer, and I knew my husband could answer this simple question. But what really tickled me was how well this once hesitant spouse explained it.
He not only affirmed that NO, you don’t need roosters to get eggs. He went on to explain that keeping roosters would mean you have fertile eggs. And then he explained how, in a flock without roosters, sometimes the dominant hen will take on the rooster’s social role. He added that she may even stop laying eggs and begin to crow.
“But that would be pretty uncommon,” he finished.
Feather me impressed. He answered that question exactly as I would have. He went into detail, where he didn’t have to in order to answer the question. Who would have thought that he would have all this effortless knowledge when we began our chicken adventure all those years ago? The only thing it took to change his mind was time.
For those of you just getting started, for those who have a spouse who’s not quite as enthusiastic as you are about chickens… JUST WAIT. They may well be coming to love chickens, too.