The following is the first of a series of children’s read-aloud stories that are a part of _The Homestead Adventures of Pumpkin Swamp Cove_ . As a foster-mom for fifteen years and as an adoptive mom, I have seen the process it takes for children to adjust to change. I pray this story will comfort a child who needs it. This story is based on a real chicken and my real homestead. 🙂
This story is dedicated to my daughters, Nicole and Ruth Denise, who came to us at ages 6&7 and had to learn to fit into the brand new world we offered them. They are brave and beautiful.
Later, illustrations will be added to enhance e reading experience. For now, use your imagination.
The Homestead Adventures of Pumpkin Swamp Cove
Backyard Betsy Joins the Flock
By Stephanie Rodda
Backyard Betsy was a big, beautiful, black chicken who had been raised in a backyard all alone. She had never seen another chicken. She had never been a part of a flock. It was not the best way for a chicken to live. Things were about to change for Backyard Betsy. Changes can be scary even when it is for the best. She did not know what to expect.
She was gently put inside a large cardboard box. It felt as if the ground were moving under her as she was taken to her new home. She was very nervous and cackled her loudest cackle. Then she laid a nice brown egg in the hay at the bottom of the box. When the ground stopped moving and the box was opened, she wanted to stay in the box. She finally came out for some tasty scratch grain that was made with cracked corn. She found herself in a new place. She did not know what to think.
There were children everywhere, it seemed. She had seen children before. They seemed glad to see her. The children were very impressed with the egg she had laid. It was the first of many she would give them. There were chickens, lots of chickens. She had not seen other chickens before. They did not seem glad to see her. She was not sure she was glad to see them. There were goats and dogs and cats too. Backyard Betsy did not know what to do. So, she sat down and was very still and quiet. She needed some time to get use to things.
It was not easy being the new member of the flock. She did not understand the way they did things. She did not know the rules. She did not always understand the language of the chickens. She did not understand pecking order. Pecking order lets all the chickens know which chicken is in charge. If she forgot and needed reminding, she would get a hard peck on the head. She felt very alone even with so many chickens around her. She didn’t know if she would ever fit in.
Some days Backyard Betsy felt sad. Some days she got a hard peck on the head. Some days she wished for her old backyard. It might not have been the best way for a chicken to live but, it was what she was used to. Other days she was so busy learning new things and having new experiences she found herself enjoying her new life. Backyard Betsy wanted to be happy in her new home. She wondered if she ever would be.
Soon she began to find her place in her new flock. She learned to trust Jethro, the rooster who led his hens to tall grass and juicy bugs. He protected them from danger by warning them with special chicken sounds. He watched over them carefully. If he called she came running. Once a chicken hawk was flying overhead in the sky where the flock was. Jethro led them to safety. She decided it was a good thing to follow the rules.
Backyard Betsy would go to sleep each night feeling warm and snug with the other chickens on the roost beside her. She would wake each morning as Jethro crowed when he first spotted the sun. She enjoyed taking dirt baths with the other hens. She could rest in the sun and not be afraid because she was a part of a flock. Backyard Betsy was safe. Backyard Betsy was glad. She would never be alone again.
Points to Ponder with your child:
1- Why did Backyard Betsy’s life need to change?
2- Have you ever had to learn a lot of new things all at once?
3- What was the most important lesson Backyard Betsy had to learn?