I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Summer on “the farm.” I’ve been a chicken owner since the end of January and it has been a fun adventure. We’ve gotten to watch our baby chicks grow into pullets that lay beautiful white, brown, and blue eggs (like the kind you see on Easter Sunday). As we’ve gotten to know each of our girls, I’ve realized that there are many similarities between our chickens and our kids. First of all, we have four kids, Davis (7), Hudson (4), Case (almost 3), and Price (9 months); each with their own unique temperaments. We have five different breeds of chickens, and they too all have their very own personalities. Both flocks include a leader, a follower, a jokester, a tender hearted one, and an easy going one.

The leader in our flock of chickens is London, our White Leghorn. She runs the show. All the chickens wait for her to eat first when breakfast or dinner is served, and they let her be the first to drink from the waterer as soon as it is replenished. She leads and everyone else follows. With our kids it’s like that with our oldest son, Davis. He leads and our other 2 boys follow. This can be a really good thing when he is playing nicely with his 2 younger brothers; however, there are times when we question his leadership skills and he’s not making the best choices, his brothers continue to follow.

After owning chickens, I now have a much better understanding of the phrase, “pecking order.” Earlier in the Summer when our chickens just started laying eggs, Athens, our Barred Rock pullet, decided to pick on Sydney, our Buff Orpington. Athens didn’t just pick on Sydney, she pecked on her so much that she caused Sydney to bleed and almost pecked off her entire comb! I was shocked to come home one afternoon from the Olympic Training Center and find Sydney with blood all over her face. I had to give her some TLC and remove her from the other chickens until she was all healed up. Sometimes my oldest son Davis will buddy up with our 2 1/2 year old son, Case, and pick on our middle son, Hudson. They don’t physically hurt him like Athens did to Sydney, but they definitely try and stir the pot by leaving him out of things they may be doing together. Brothers can be the best of buds, but sometimes be the cause of tears all in the same day – just like our chickens.

Finally, my wife will say that the greatest similarity between our chickens and our kids is that they are very good at making messes and not cleaning up after themselves. Both kids and the chickens love to play outside, scratch around in the dirt, look for bugs, throw things around. Thankfully my boys are all potty trained, unlike the chickens.

After our first Summer as backyard chicken farmers, I now know how much our chickens act like our kids. They play nice together, they follow the leader, they share, they take things away, they make messes, they pick or peck on one another, and they cozy up all in the same bed/coop at night. Chickens, just like or kids are so much fun to have around. There’s nothing better than a cool Summer evening watching your chickens and kids interact and play with one another, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Hunter Kemper is the most decorated U.S. triathlete in history. A four-time member of the USA Olympic triathlon team, he is one of only two men in the world to qualify for every Olympic triathlon (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) and the only man in the world to complete all four.  You can follow Hunter and his journey with his Murray McMurray Hatchery chickens at http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/hunterkemper