As Easter approaches I think back B.C. when I was in grade school. The reason I think about that is because what happened before Easter at Bobby Johnson’s house. We used to think that Bobby was the luckiest boy in the entire world!
Before I go into that I will tell you that back then school lunches were .35 cents, white milk a penny and chocolate milk was three cents.
So the most you need for lunch was .38 cents. I guess on top of that I totally gave my age away. Forty isn’t too old, now is it?
Why am I telling you that? Well because it’s Easter and I want to tell you what else you could do with that amount of money. The memories flood my mind this time every single year.
Yes, I shudder now when I look back at what really happened. I can’t believe that anyone would do this to any animals.
Bobby’s grandparents owned a chicken farm back in Ohio. Each Easter the hens laid eggs that produced colored chicks.
What did we know? We were city kids with no clue about farm animals also believing brown cows gave the chocolate milk.
At lunch time and after school you could go to Bobby’s house and pick out any color chicks you wanted. You should have seen the line of kids waiting to get their favorite colors.
If you used your lunch money for the day you could get two baby chicks and a little paper sack of what looked like mashed up corn.
My first visit to Bobby’s house was a surprise for my parents. I could hardly wait my turn because I wanted a pink chick and a purple one. Plus they gave me a free cardboard box. It was my lucky day.
Wiggling in my shoes I excitedly picked my chicks, got their food and headed home to prepare my surprise for my mom who would be home from work first.
I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t need lunch money anymore, as mom would probably take my life or at least ground me from my record player.
When I got home I headed for the basement with my baby chicks. I got them all set up in the cardboard box and went to find some type of a lamp to keep them warm.
My little brother, Randy was the first one in the door so he got to see my surprise first. Of course he had to scream and tell mom before I even had a chance to explain myself.
Amazingly after the shock wore off my mom told me to find them something to drink water from. I was convinced an alien had replaced her. The mom I knew would have been livid.
Dad was due home at any time so I was pretty sure that’s when I would die or have my record player taken away from me for the rest of my life.
Of course as soon as dad came in the door Randy had to scream it again. He was also screaming that he wanted his own chicks because those were mine.
Dad spoke to mom briefly before coming to the basement. He was also very nice about it. Now I was sure that my parents had both been abducted.
All dad did say was that he couldn’t believe how they dyed baby chicks that way and that if I didn’t get the light off the box I was going to burn the house down.
I assured him that my chicks were born that way so there was no reason to be upset. Bobby’s grandpa would never do anything like that.
At dinner I was given the talk about how to take care of them and had to keep their area clean because mom wouldn’t stand for a mess anywhere. I was also told to bring two more home the next day for my whiney little brother.
As we cleared our plates I heard mom tell dad not to worry that the chicks were going to die anyways.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was going to take good care of them and they wouldn’t die. I don’t think mom liked any animals, they might mess up something.
Two more chicks came to live with us the next day. My brother picked a blue one and a green one and of course got a little bag of food. We were set to start a little farm.
Soon at school everyone was talking about going back to Bobby’s for more chicks because theirs had died. How sad, our chicks were doing fine.
Two days later my brothers blue chick died and within the next few days they were all dead. We were crushed because we really took good care of them.
We were allowed to get two more chicks each and that was it. So back to Bobby’s house we went to pick our new colors.
I was so careful with our chicks. I fed them and cleaned them more than I was even told to do. I wanted to start our own farm and they just had to live.
Now mind you we lived in a house on the corner of a busy street and didn’t even have a fence around our yard. I had it all planned out. Dad could just put a fence up.
This time the chicks just kept growing. Those cute little chicks lost all of their pretty colors and got in big white feathers.
There were only a couple of us that had chicks that actually lived. The other kids had no idea what chickens really did.
Cleaning time was not fun either. You couldn’t catch them and they wouldn’t stay in the box. I just dreaded going to the basement to clean up their messes all over the place. My brother didn’t have to help at all and half of them were his.
Soon we had real chickens. They pecked at us and were no longer fun to have. I decided it was time for dad to start the fence so they would have more room and be in better moods.
Dad sat us down and told us that we were not starting a farm in the city for two reasons. One reason was because you weren’t allowed to have a farm in the city and two because they didn’t want a farm.
He also told us that we had to find a place to take our four big white chickens to live. As I asked around I found out that no one else was allowed to start a farm either.
We talked at school and just couldn’t figure out why none of our parents wanted a farm. We thought it was a great idea.
What is the moral of this story? Don’t give live farm animals as gifts unless you are prepared for them to live many years.
It’s not ok to just let pets die because of the lack of knowledge as to how to care for them. It’s also not ok to try and pass them off to someone else because they have lived to be adults.
Yes baby bunnies and chicks are soft and fuzzy and so cute but that doesn’t mean that need they need to be mauled by humans.
These are living creatures that deserve a good life. Did you realize that ducks, rabbits and chicks can live for more than a decade?
As I look back at what happened when I was a child I shudder. I can’t believe that anyone would dye an animal and sell it to make money.
I also and can’t believe that so many parents would let their children have animals that would die if not properly cared for.
Each year after the novelty wears off of Easter pets shelters all over the U.S. take in rabbits and other poor little creatures.
If you are considering a live animal for your children please do your research. The cost of the pet is only the beginning of your expenses.
Do you realize that a rabbit needs a six foot by two foot hutch with a ten foot run to be happy? A normal rabbit hutch that you can purchase is the reason for so many behavior problems with adult rabbits.
What about chicks or ducks? Do you live in an area that allows them? Are you willing to care for those animals for the next ten years?
Please don’t make a rash decision. If you can’t totally commit to the entire idea, buy a cute fuzzy stuffed animal for your child. Or in my case, “make mine chocolate.”