When my husband originally mentioned having chickens I thought “What the hell for!”, first chickens are daft and spazzy and second, but most importantly they were not going to save us any money on eggs.
I think down in the basement of my mind, where all my old memories are kept, I recall the meat chickens my father kept. No one paid much attention to them, they were dirty, ugly and if you’d go near them they would flap and squawk. Why in God’s name would I want to spend the money getting set up, buying them, then paying to feed them and cleaning up after them if they were annoying? I really did not even think twice about it.
We had moved to PEI just a year prior, our children had now been moved far away from family and friends twice and they were desperate for a pet, something positive to come home to after socially challenging days at school. Our son has a terrible fur allergy, even “hypoallergenic” pets make his eyes swell and his lungs tighten, so we had to get creative. We live on 2 acres in Oyster Bed Bridge, so we could try almost anything.
My husband had fond memories of having ducks as a kid on their hobby farm, they were the only animals that the family could not bare to send to the freezer, so I looked up ducks, but somehow ended up looking at geese. They were bigger with a bit more personality, and how cool would it be to grow up with a goose as a pet! The one really appealing attribute of waterfowl is that if you rear them from very young, they will imprint upon you and will forever consider you family. We found some goslings on UsedPEI and took a leap and brought them home. We had no idea what we were doing, none, but day by day they grew and shocked us with how wonderful and enjoyable they were. They were super easy to raise and somehow we instinctively knew how to look after them.
When they got their feathers, we moved them outside. We were outside all the time, so keeping with their imprinting instincts they stayed close to us and learned their property’s boundaries.
One grew to be a girl, the other a boy, and he started to become aggressive towards our daughter as he matured. We made the decision to re-home him, it was difficult for the kids, but taught them responsibility and making difficult decisions that were necessary for the animal and the family. Our lone goose Jesse has become a beloved member of our family. We are surprised with how smart and loyal she is, she has become the pet our children needed and us, the family she needed.
Now I was ready to think again about chickens. One day in December, while looking through the “livestock” ads I saw the most beautiful rooster, I do not know why, but I had to have him. Why did I want to have a rooster! And why did I think this was ok in the middle of December! I have no idea, but that rooster has changed my path, he gave me a new outlook.
We brought him home and we had no where to put him, my husband has the tools and the previous owner left a bunch a scrap building materials behind, so out into the dark he went to the garage to build a box for him to sleep in. We named him Charlie and he hung out with my kids watching T.V., just chilling with his new peeps.
I was really moved by how relaxed he was and how good he was with the kids, not at all like the chickens I remember from my childhood. This may come across really corny, but the next day when I held him for the first time, no one around, just me and him, all I could hear was his rhythmic breathing, and for what ever reason, that is the moment I truly felt different about chickens.
Why in God’s name would I want poultry in my backyard? This is why:
The goose had given my kids a happiness to come home to, and opened an avenue to have conversations at school, their teachers and classmates were very intrigued about their odd pet. Since adding more chickens and 2 ducks to our family, they never run out of things to talk, write or draw about and their new friends love to come over and see the birds.
My husband has a very stressful job and the Poultry have given him a much needed diversion at home. He has built all the buildings for the birds, the roosters’ sleeping crates and anything else we need and he is loving it.
For me, I’m a banker’s wife, who has made several transfers across 3 provinces, I am a stay-at-home mom and my new reality is that my kids are growing up and needing me less and less. I needed something for me, something to fill that widening void and the chickens have done that. They have opened up new opportunities for me, and they keep me busy and feeling needed everyday.
I once read that the key to happiness was that you should always have something to be excited about or looking forward to. Since I got chickens, they are regularly giving me something to be excited about. Starting with building the coop, getting the cool blue egg laying breed of chicks, then buying the incubator, then more chicks… I am excited about something all the time and what these critters can bring to my future, season after season.
Please read this really enjoyable story about the memories of this lady’s pet goose. It had our family in tears of laughter as it truly depicts the eccentric pet that a goose is. Enjoy.