I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in school libraries doing storytimes, and having email conversations with teachers. It’s been enlightening to find out what children really want to know about chickens. In Cambridge, MA, where none of the kids keep chickens, the big question was, “do chickens fly?” This is something that I don’t think about! But to the children, it’s a logical query. All of the birds that they know – the city pigeons and sparrows – fly. Chickens are birds. They have feathers. Then again, you never hear about chickens flying. Hmmm…. I explained that chickens flap.
A kindergarten class in NH has been using the HenCam and GoatCam for their writer’s workshop. They’ve been observing my animals and writing about them. If you watch the goats for any length of time you know that you see them pee and poop. If you’re five years old, this is hysterically funny and very interesting. I got a packet of drawings and letters in the mail from them. They told me that the goats should wear underpants. Nobody suggested diapers – after all, these are children who are in kindergarten and use the bathroom! The goats should, too! I wrote back and said that it’s my job, as the farmer, to clean up after my animals, and that I didn’t mind that chore at all.
Here’s one of the drawings. Notice the black chicken in the bottom right corner. That’s Tina! Look at the top knot feathers!