BY RACHEL BITTON
Years ago, I decided I wanted chickens. I promised my husband if he built me a little chicken coop, I would only need two to three chickens, max. He vowed to build one chicken coop…then chicken math happened. Have you ever heard of chicken math? If not, please allow me to educate you. Chicken math goes like this – one chicken really equals three chickens, two chickens equal six chickens, and so forth. At this funny farm, we operate by chicken math. Last year, as schools and businesses closed, I decided to order some chicks from an online hatchery. It would be good for the kids to have more babies to take care of as we waded through home school. Eighteen chicks were the perfect number to balance cost and shipping. Knowing chicks are very delicate, I figured there would be a few casualties. We carefully prepared a spot in the garage, I picked up the cheeping box from the post office at 6:30 a.m. the morning they arrived, and we got them all settled in. My oldest daughter spends half of her life with the chickens, and she especially loves chicks. Her careful care and attention to the chicks was amazing. It was so amazing that we had zero chick casualties and are now begging the resident builder of all the things (my husband) to build us yet another larger coop. This will be chicken coop number four for those counting. Oops!
Unfortunately, our bad animal decisions do not end with chicken math. Last year, I was talking with a neighbor who said she wanted to get into the miniature cattle business. She suggested we get some too. I told her, with no hesitation, that my husband would never agree to this. Three days later, he brought home our first mini cow. That escalated quickly! When people ask our reason for buying a mini cow, our standard response has been “we were making bad animal decisions”. We had no other explanation for our momentary lapse in judgement. That mini cow recently had her first calf, and we are all smitten. The whole family watched that cow around the clock, waiting for the new arrival. The cute little ‘Oreo’ calf has a white belt around her middle. My dad always said, “There is nothing whiter that the white on a new baby calf.” The calf’s belt is such a bright white.
We decided to expand our mini cow herd, so we recently bought another young heifer. As we were talking to the sellers, they mentioned having baby goats for sale. Not only did we end up bringing home another mini cow, but we also bought two baby goats. The kids giggled the entire way home about our newest “bad animal decisions.” I didn’t realize chicken math crossed over to other animals. As our funny farm continues to grow, I remind myself I would rather raise my kids in the barn because of the lessons they learn and the responsibilities they take on. Maybe our bad animal decisions aren’t bad decisions after all.