A science teacher cracked Easter this year after hatching a clutch of five chicks from eggs she bought for her family.
Jenny and Keith Aindow and their daughters Theia, seven and Heidi, four, who are now planning to re-house the chickens and their brood in a repurposed Wendy house in the garden of their home in Great Crosby, Merseyside, chuckle with joy at that New additions to her family.
Jenny, 37, described how she and Keith, 38, who work for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), bought an incubator online before waiting for the eggs to hatch.
Jenny said, “It was amazing to see them slowly hatch. Theia and Heidi had a lot of discussions about what we would call them.
“We had five chicks hatched, the first three being Oreo, Marshmallow and Snowflake.
“Two of them were Easter egg hens that laid bluish-green eggs. As I researched them, I had visions of them laying cream eggs. “
She added, “The girls had to give them Easter-themed names – their names are Choccy and Bun-Bun, in honor of the Easter Bunny.”
After looking after a small flock of chickens in her school for years and being inspired by the desire to fend for herself, Jenny decided to hatch some chicks herself.
“Unfortunately I can’t fit sheep and cows in my yard, but I can get chickens there – so I thought I’d start small,” she joked.
However, these are a far cry from the first pets to cross the Aindows threshold.
Jenny said, “I grew up with lots of animals – dogs, cats, we even had a parrot once.
“Now we have two dogs, two cats and two guinea pigs. I’d never had chickens before, but I’d started thinking about getting them. It seemed like a fun project to enjoy with the kids. “
Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions, Jenny was homeschooling in February 2021 and decided it was the perfect time to try your hand at hatching eggs.
She said, “I bought the eggs online from a poultry farmer on the Scottish border and we put them in an incubator for three weeks.
“The girls loved it, especially when they started hatching. They squealed with excitement. “
Next came the discussion of where the birds should be housed when they were big enough to go outside.
Jenny said, “We had Theia and Heidi bought a Wendy house a few years ago but they just hadn’t bothered about it. I told them if they didn’t want to use it I would put the chickens in and they were pretty happy with it .
“So I turned the Wendy’s house into a chicken coup.”
In the incubator, it took three weeks for the eggs bought online to hatch in March.
And the other pets – Logan, 11, a Border Collie / Golden Retriever Cross; Eira, nine, a Border Collie / Dalmatian Cross; Two 13 year old cats, Pixie and Hattie, and two year old guinea pigs, Rolo and Harvey, welcomed the chicks to the menagerie.
Jenny continued: “At first Heidi was very scared of keeping the chickens because she didn’t like the claws on her skin, but Theia was a natural one.”
She added, “Theia is so handy with them. She thinks of her as she thinks of the other pets we have. She will happily pick them up, play with them, and feed them mealworms.
“They’re too small to be outside right now, so we’ll keep them in a vacant guinea pig pen in the kitchen until they’re ready for the Wendy’s house.”
Once they are ripe, the family plans to eat the eggs laid by their chickens and also build a run for them to use in the back garden.
Jenny said, “They won’t start laying eggs until they are about 18 weeks old, which will be in July. So we bought eggs from the store for this Easter.
“I’m organizing a chocolate egg hunt in the garden for Theia and Heidi to enjoy.
“It’s a busy household with all of our pets and now the chickens too.
“But the kids and I love to let so many animals run around. I couldn’t imagine life without a house full of. ”