Married Chickens

A few years ago, while I was preparing breakfast, my daughter asked a simple question—simple to her.

“Dad, how come we can eat some eggs and other eggs have baby chickens in them?”

I pondered this question. In no way was I ready to broach the topic of fertilization at her delicate age. Let’s be honest…I don’t ever want to broach the topic of fertilization. I know how important this conversation is, and I’m aware that the conversation is inevitable. However, I’m quite comfortable with that topic currently hovering on the horizon of my foreboding future.

After several seconds of creative thought, I responded, “Married chickens have baby chickens. If the chicken isn’t married, it has eggs we can eat.”

I was extremely impressed with my response and my daughter accepted it. Of course she did. It was brilliant. I avoided the topic for a better, brighter day and I instilled a sense of morality within the universe of domesticated fowl. Of course, there were extraneous variables that would arise, but I was ready for them—or so I thought.

Variable 1—Foghorn Leghorn: When this familiar rooster comes “I say, I say, I sayin’” onto the screen and into the chicken coop, I cringe. “Daddy?” she asks, “Is that rooster married to all those chickens?” And like that, *hand gesturing a puff of smoke* I was gone.

Variable 2—Children of the Unmarried: God forbid the morality I so delicately infused into poultry should be carried out amongst us humans. Apparently, my daughter thinks it should. Go figure?!?!

Variable 3—Yesterday’s Trip to the Farm: Lots of calves—only one bull! My daughter asked my friend Lynnette (the farmer) the following question and I cringed: “Where are all the daddies?” Lynnette led my curious daughter out into the field to show her their ONE bull. I could see the gears spinning in my daughter’s head. “They all just have one daddy?” I found myself trying to find the door to the secret passage. There has to be a ladder around here, a gate, or maybe I can just bury myself in the manure. Thankfully, Lynnette, in what I can only describe as divine intervention said, “No, there are other daddies. They just don’t live here right now.” My daughter’s new-found understanding with non-traditional families helped her process this information. IT WORKED! IT WORKED! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY!  IT WORKED!

…for the time being.

As we made our way from the cattle yard to the chicken coop, I was prepared for my universe to come crashing down. Thankfully, the chickens pecking at my daughter’s boots, and the fact that there wasn’t a rooster in sight, helped stave off further variables. Yet, I’m sure they’ll arrive—and with more frequency in the days to come. Someday soon, my brilliant “Married Chickens” response will return to peck me right in my hiney.

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