Here chick, chick

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, April 2, 2009

While visiting garden stores recently, I found people are not only gardening for the first time, but starting to raise their own poultry.

Standing beside the tubs holding tiny chicks and ducklings at Tractor Supply Company, I could imagine the delight on a child’s face when she found one of these in her Easter basket on Easter morning. But it was difficult to believe these cute balls of fluff would one day grow up to crow and cluck, lay eggs and maybe even become lunch.

“We get in a lot of first time gardeners,” said Jody Crotwell, an assistant manager at the Chelsea store. They say they’re trying to save money on groceries.”

And people are buying baby chicks in hopes of gathering eggs from them when they get bigger, a clerk added.

Fifteen–month–old Abigail Honeycutt walked around the store with her dad Tim Honeycutt, her older brother Kevin and his friend Kristi Fontaine. Abigail wasn’t concerned about planting and growing, nor what the baby chicks and ducklings might be used for after they get big. She was too busy enjoying watching them and caressing the soft downy babies now.

The adults watched the expression on the child’s face change from one of reluctance to amazement and delight when coaxed to feel the chicks’ softness. The adults appeared to enjoy the experience as much as Abigail.

Watching Abigail stroke the soft feathers, and listening to her cute “quacking” noises, I thought about how quickly children, like chicks and ducklings, grow up. And knew Abigail’s mother, who was attending class, would surely regret missing her daughter’s first encounter with these waddling, chirping wonders.

I’m glad I happened to be at the store with a camera so I could, at least, capture on paper a photograph to help her, and our readers, share the experience.